Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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EVANS , JOHN ( 1796 - 1861 ), schoolmaster .

Born 7 Feb. 1796 at Blaen-plwyf , parish of Llanychaiarn, Cards. His father was a weaver , and he himself followed the same occupation until, becoming weary of it, he walked to London at the age of 17 in quest of more congenial work. There he supported himself by selling books from door to door . He was befriended by David Davies , a fellow-countryman and a musical instrument tuner , who helped to send Evans to a school conducted by Griffith Davies , the famous actuary . There he made rapid progress in mathematics.

After keeping school at Llanfair Caereinion and Llanidloes , he returned to Aberystwyth about 1821 (or earlier, for his tombstone states that he was a schoolmaster for forty-four years) to open his famous school , ‘ The Mathematical and Commercial School ,’ in Chalybeate Street , where the youth of the neighbourhood received a practical education for over forty years. Among his pupils were Lewis Edwards , Henry Richard , David Charles Davies and Ieuan Gwyllt ( John Roberts ) . When Lewis Edwards kept a school in Aberystwyth he did not consider it to be in competition with but, rather, preparatory to Evans ' school. The school had a good name for the teaching of navigation . Evans was also skilled in astronomy and in the construction of sundials and mechanical instruments .

He m., in S. Michael's Church , Aberystwyth , Gwen Mason ( 1796 - 1834 ), of the parish of Llanbadarn-fawr , on 14 May 1821 . In 1858 the townsmen of Aberystwyth presented him with a testimonial for maintaining a clock for the use of the town . Evans was an elder in Tabernacle Calvinistic Methodist church , Aberystwyth , for fourteen years. He d. 2 April 1861 .


  • Geirlyfr Bywgraffiadol o Enwogion Cymru (1870) , 339;
  • Cymru (O.M.E.) , Jan. 1892 ;
  • J. H. Davies , Cymru (O.M.E.) , 44 (1913) , 45;
  • D. Samuel , Cymru (O.M.E.) , 21 (1901) , 191;
  • Dan Williams , Memoirs of County Cardigan (1874) ;
  • Aberystwyth Observer , 22 Dec. 1858 , 6 April 1861 ;
  • Y Goleuad , 11 Sept. 1875 ;
  • Reports of the commissioners of inquiry into the state of education in Wales, appointed by the Committee of council on education, in pursuance of proceedings in the House of commons, on the motion of Mr. Wiliams, of March 10, 1846, for an address to the Queen, praying Her Majesty to direct an inquiry to be made into the state of education in the principality of Wales, and especially into the means afforded to the labouring classes of acquiring a knowledge of the English language (London, 1847) , ii, 157.


Dr Bertie George Charles, Ph.D., (1908-2000), Aberystwyth

Dr Llewelyn Gwyn Chambers, Bangor

Published date: 1959