Evans, Arthur Benoni (DNB00)

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EVANS, ARTHUR BENONI (1781–1854), miscellaneous writer, was born at Compton-Beauchamp, Berkshire, on 25 March 1781. His father, the Rev. Lewis Evans [q. v.], vicar of Froxfield, Wiltshire, was a well-known astronomer, and held for many years the professorship of mathematics at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He married Ann, eldest daughter of Thomas Norman. The second son, Arthur, received his education at the college school, Gloucester, of which his uncle and namesake was head-master, and here he was known as ‘The Bold Arthur,’ from his remarkable personal courage. He went into residence at St. John's College, Oxford, 23 Oct. 1800, and proceeded B.A. 21 Feb. 1804, M.A. 1820, and B.D. and D.D. 1828. In addition to his knowledge of the classical languages, he became well versed in Hebrew, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Icelandic. He had an excellent ear for music, and was a performer on several instruments. As an artist he sketched in pencil, crayon, and sepia, and his cattle pieces were of eminent merit. He studied geology and botany, and his knowledge of Greek, Roman, and English coins, of which he had a large collection, was considerable. He was ordained to the curacy of Hartpury, Gloucester, in August 1804, and after receiving priest's orders in September 1805, was in the following month appointed professor of classics and history in the Royal Military College, then lately established at Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and he removed with the college to Sandhurst in October 1812. Resigning this appointment in 1822, he went to Britwell, near Burnham, where he prepared pupils for the universities, and served the curacy of Burnham until 1829, when he accepted the head-mastership of the free grammar school at Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. While resident at that place he held successively the curacies of Bosworth, Carlton, and Cadeby between 1829 and 1841. He never derived from his clerical profession more than 100l. a year. As a schoolmaster he was eminently successful. He died at Market Bosworth 8 Nov. 1854. In June 1819 he married Anne, third daughter of Captain Thomas Dickinson, R.N., of Bramblebury, near Woolwich, by whom he had six children. She died 10 May 1883, in her ninety-second year.

Evans was the author of the following works: 1. ‘Synopses for the use of the Students in the Royal Military Academy.’ 2. ‘The Cutter, in five Lectures on the Art and Practice of Cutting Friends, Acquaintances, and Relations,’ 1808. 3. ‘Fungusiana, or the Opinions and Table-talk of the late Barnaby Fungus, Esq.,’ 1809. 4. ‘The Curate and other Poems,’ 1810. 5. ‘Plain Sermons on the relative Duties of the Poor as Parents, Husbands, and Wives,’ 1822. 6. ‘Present National Delusions upon Wisdom, Power, and Riches,’ 1831. 7. ‘Sermons on the Christian Life and Character,’ 1832. 8. ‘Effectual Means of Promoting and Propagating the Gospel,’ 1836. 9. ‘The Phylactery,’ a poem, 1836. 10. ‘Calamus Scriptorius, or Copies for writing Greek,’ 1837. 11. ‘The Fifth of November,’ a sermon, 1838. 12. ‘The Village Church,’ a poem, 1843. 13. ‘Education and Parental Example, in imitation of the XIVth satire of Juvenal,’ a poem, 1843. 14. ‘The Sanctuary Service and not the Sermon the great object of Public Worship,’ 1843. 15. ‘The Layman's Test of the true Minister of the Church of England.’ 16. ‘Divine Denunciations against Drinking, or the Word of God more powerful than Pledge-taking.’ 17. ‘Leicestershire Words, Phrases, and Proverbs,’ 1848. Reprinted by the English Dialect Society, 1881. 18. ‘Personal Piety, or Aids to Private Prayer for Individuals of all classes,’ 1851. 19. ‘Britain's Wreck, or Breakers Ahead. By an Old Hand on Board,’ 1853. Of Evans's children John Evans, K.C.B., F.R.S. (1823–1908), was treasurer of the Royal Society (1878–98), president of the Society of Antiquaries (1885–92) and a writer on coins, and stone, bronze, and flint implements. Sebastian Evans, born 1830, is a designer for glass work and a poet; he edited the ‘Birmingham Gazette’ 1867–70, and was for some time the editor of ‘The People,’ a conservative Sunday journal. Anne Evans, born 1820, died 1870, wrote poems and music, which in 1880 were edited and published with a memorial preface by Anne Thackeray Ritchie.

[Gent. Mag. January 1855, pp. 100–2; Men of the Time (1887), p. 360.]

G. C. B.