Evans, Lewis (fl.1574) (DNB00)

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EVANS, LEWIS (fl. 1574), controversialist, a native of Monmouthshire, was educated at Oxford, apparently at Christ Church, where he proceeded B.A. 1554, M.A. 1557, and B.D. 1562 (Oxf. Univ. Reg. Oxf. Hist. Soc. i. 223, 318). He afterwards removed to London, where his zeal in the Roman catholic cause brought him into trouble with Bishop Grindal, and he was forced to fly the country. He settled at Antwerp, and occupied himself in translating the ‘Tabulæ vigentium … hæreseon’ of Willem van der Lindt, bishop of Roermond, into English. This he published at Antwerp in 1565, with the title ‘The Betraying of the Beastliness of the Heretics,’ 12mo, and a defiant address to Grindal. Venturing back to London he was thrown into prison, but being afterwards reconciled to the church of England by some of his friends, ‘did, to shew his zeal for the love he had to it, write and publish a book as full of ill language against the Roman catholics as the other was full of good for them,’ entitled ‘The Castle of Christianitie, detecting the long erring estate, asvvell of the Romaine Church, as of the Byshop of Rome: together with the Defence of the Catholique Faith,’ 8vo, London, 1568. In dedicating his treatise to the queen he writes: ‘I my selfe haue once drunke (before your Maiesties great clemencie I confesse) of the puddell of ignorancy, of the mudde of idolatrie, of the ponde of superstition, of the lake of self will, blindenesse, disobedience, & obstinacie.’ It is not surprising that the book gave great offence to the Roman catholics, who reported that Evans, to use his own words, ‘had reuolted from the Gospell, & was agayne gonne beyonde the seas.’ These reports being constantly told to Evans while he was staying at Oxford, ‘not by any mean mã, but by the learnest,’ he found on reaching London ‘hovve yt vvas in the mouthes of manye, that he vvas deade.’ He thereupon published a still more virulent attack on the church of Rome, which he entitled ‘The Hatefull Hypocrisie and Rebellion of the Romishe Prelacie,’ 12mo, London, 1570. Evans wrote also: 1. ‘A short Treatise of the Mistery of the Eucharist,’ 8vo, London, 1569. 2. ‘A brief Answer to a short trifling Treatise of late set forth in the Britaine Tongue, written by one Clinnock at Rome, and printed at Millain, and lately spread secretly abroad in Wales,’ 12mo, London, 1571 (Tanner, Bibl. Brit. 1748, p. 270). He likewise revised and made considerable additions to a new edition of John Withals's dictionary, entitled ‘A Shorte Dictionarie most profitable for yong Beginners, the seconde tyme corrected, and augmented with diuerse Phrasys, & other thinges necessarie therevnto added. By Lewys Euans,’ 4to, London, 1574. In inscribing his work to the Earl of Leicester, Evans hints at poverty and want of suitable employment. The ‘Dictionarie’ went through several editions, that issued in 1586 being augmented ‘with more than six hundred rythmicall verses’ by Abraham Fleming [q. v.]

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 411–12.]

G. G.