Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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EVANS , JOHN ( 1702 - 1782 ), cleric and anti-Methodist ;

b. at Meidrym, Carms. , 2 Sept. 1702 , son of Rice Evans and grandson of Thomas Price , vicar of Meidrym with Llanfihangel Abercowin for thirty-nine years; educated at Carmarthen grammar school and at Jesus College , Oxford , where he matriculated 26 Feb. 1721/2 [and is possibly the unidentified John Evans who, according to Foster , graduated in Feb. 1725/6 ]. In 1730 he received the Crown living of Eglwys Cymyn (variously spelt), but resided only for a few weeks each summer — Peter Williams ( 1723 - 1796 ) (q.v.) was one of his curates , but was dismissed for Methodism . Evans lived in London , in Cowley Street , Westminster , where Richard Morris of Anglesey (q.v.) was his neighbour and friend. He was a protégé of bishop Edmund Gibson 's, and about 1742 became ‘ Reading Chaplain ’ of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall . In 1750 , he preached the annual S. David's Day sermon before the ‘ Society of Ancient Britons ’; the sermon was published. He was a foundation member ( 1751 ) and member of council of the Hon. Society of Cymmrodorion . In 1769 he edited a reprint of the Welsh Bible ; his orthography did not commend itself to the Morrises . But he won much more fame (or rather notoriety) by his attacks on Griffith Jones and upon Methodism — imitating, and inspired by, his patron Gibson . As early as 1745 there was bad blood between him and Griffith Jones ; in 1749 he published a pamphlet against Griffith Jones and Whitefield , and in 1752 his Some Account of the Welch Charity Schools (etc.), a most scurrilous piece of invective which, however, contains valuable facts which cannot be ignored, difficult as it may be to distinguish between the facts and the twist which Evans gives to them. The book did far more harm to Evans 's reputation than to Griffith Jones 's. He d. in March 1782 — buried at Eglwys Cymyn , according to the register, 14 March 1781/2 .


  • Statements in Some Account of the Welch Charity Schools (1752) (above);
  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses ;
  • The Letters of Lewis, Richard, William, and John Morris, of Anglesey, (Morrisiaid Môn) 1728-1765 (1907–9) , i, 171, 174, 177, 197-8, 224;
  • The Carmarthen Antiquary , viii, 19;
  • D. Salmon , in Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society , i, 118-22, ii, 65-71,
  • and also in the appendix to F. A. Cavenagh , The life and work of Griffith Jones of Llanddowror (Cardiff, 1930) .


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959