Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/207

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Evans
Evans
195

quality, was issued shortly after his death by his son-in-law, under the title of 'Nodiadau Herber' (Dolgelly, 1897, 8vo, with portrait). His brother, the Rev. W. Justin Evans, also edited a volume of his sermons (London, 1897), entitled 'True and False Aims and other Sermons,' including inter alia reprints of his two addresses from the chair of the congregational union. He had just completed, before his final illness, a chapter which he was contributing for a biography of Dr. John Thomas of Liverpool, and a short life of David Rees of Llanelly, which appeared posthumously.

But it is as a preacher that Dr. Evans was chiefly celebrated: indeed, he was probably unequalled for natural unaffected eloquence among the pulpit orators of Wales during the last half-century. In his delivery there was no apparent effort; and attractive personality added greatly to the effect. But his sermons were characterised by freshness of presentment rather than originality of idea, being (practical rather than doctrinal. Probably no Welsh pastor ever appeared so often in English pulpits, and he was immensely popular with English audiences.

Evans died on 30 Dec. 1896 at Bangor, and was buried there on 4 Jan. in the Glan-adda cemetery. He married, in 1865, Jenny, only daughter of John Hughes, jeweller, of Carnarvon; she died on 10 May 1875, leaving an only child, now the wife of the Rev. O. L. Roberts of Liverpool. In 1877 he married, secondly, the only daughter [of Owen Jones, Waterloo House, Carnarvon, who now survives him. His only child by her died in infancy.

[A memorial number of Y Dysgedydd (Dolgelly) issued in February 1897 (with numerous portraits); Congregational Year-book, 1898, p. 177 (with portrait); Western Mail (Cardiff), 31 Dec. 1896; South Wales Daily News, 2 Jan. 1897; Liverpool and District Congregational Magazine for August 1895; Bye-gones for 1897-1898, p. 3; Y Geninen, March, April, and July 1897, March 1898; Hanes Eglwysi Anuibynol Cymru (Rees and Thomas), ii. 57, iii. 245-6, 415, v. 295,435; Stephens's Album Aberhonddu. The Rev. H. Elvet Lewis has in the press an English Memoir of Dr. Evans, and is also preparing an independent Welsh biography; personal knowledge.]

D. Ll. T.

EVANS, JOHN, 'Eglwysbach' (1840–1897), Welsh Wesleyan divine, was the eldest son of David and Margaret Evans of Tydu, a small farm in the parish of Eglwysbach, Denbighshire, where he was born on 28 Sept. 1840. The name of his native parish became associated with him throughout his lifetime, and was the name by which he was always popularly known among Welshmen. He was educated at the national school of the parish, after leaving which he acted as his father's shepherd, utilising his spare time for private study. Having, however, commenced to preach in his seventeenth year, he was regularly accepted as a candidate for the ministry in 1860, but owing to an illness was unable to proceed to a theological college. His first appointment was that of local preacher in Anglesey (1861-3), whence he went to Mold in 1863, and was fully ordained in 1865. His subsequent charges were : Liverpool, 1866-9 and 1872-1878; Bangor, 1869-72 and 1886-9; Oswestry, 1889-90; and London, 1878-86 and 1890-3. During his earlier sojourns in Liverpool and London he strove hard to make up for the loss of a collegiate training by attending evening classes, and he thus became an associate of King's College, London. In 1884 he was elected a member of the legal hundred of the Wesleyan conference, and in 1895 became chairman of the South Wales district. During the last four years of his life he organised and vigorously conducted a 'forward movement' mission in Glamorgan, its headquarters being at Pontypridd. So successful did his work prove that arrangements had been made to enable him to exchange it in another year for that of peripatetic evangelist for all Wales. But the strain of the Glamorgan mission proved too great for even his robust constitution, and though a cruise in the Mediterranean for a time revived him after a threatened collapse in 1896, he had early in 1897 to abandon all his literary work, including the editorship of his monthly magazine, 'Y Fwyell' ('The Battle-Axe'), which he had started as the organ of the mission. He did not, however, slacken or diminish his other public work, and on 23 Oct. 1897 he died suddenly of failure of the heart at Liverpool (where he had gone to preach), and was buried there on the 27th at Anfield cemetery.

He married first, in 1873, Charlotte (d. 1884), daughter of John Prichard of Liverpool; and secondly, in 1886, Clara Kate, daughter of James Richardson of Duke Street, Manchester Square, London, who by lecturing and conducting mission services shared the burden of her husband's evangelistic work. Both she and a family of six children survive him. He is commemorated at Pontypridd by a memorial chapel, erected by public subscriptions drawn from all parts of Wales.

'Eglwysbach' takes rank among the greatest of Welsh pulpit orators, and was probably the most eloquent that Wesleyan methodism