Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EVANS , DAVID ( Dewi Dawel ; 1814 - 1891 ), tailor, publican, and poet ;

b. 16 Sept. 1814 , at Cefnffordd , Pen-y-garn , Llanfynydd parish, Carms. His father, Thomas Evans , tailor , Pen-y-garn , was drowned in the river Cothi at Edwinsford , 9 Dec. 1833 , leaving nine children. Starting life as a tailor , Dewi Dawel worked from house to house until he was m. on 10 Nov. 1837 to Mary Davies , Maes-yr-haidd , Llanfynydd (d. 7 May 1867 ); they brought up a family of ten children. After marriage he started business on his own account as a tailor at Cwm-du , in the adjoining parish of Talley ; he also kept a village shop and public-house . He was self-taught. In a letter to relatives in America , he wrote: ‘by coming into contact with travellers I was forced to learn a little English . By the assistance of a pensioner who lodged with me, and reading newspapers and dictionaries, I came to know a little.’ His letters and notebooks show how well he succeeded. He was rate-collector for twenty years until 1881 , and was clerk to the local school committee until the School Board came into operation in the parish in 1871 ; there were at that time sixty children at Cwmdu school and 120 at Talley school . He was a solitary Unitarian in the neighbourhood and was a regular contributor of verse to Yr Ymofynydd . He competed and adjudicated at local eisteddfodau , and took a prominent part in ‘penny readings,’ agricultural shows, and other features of country life. A collection of manuscripts, pamphlets, note-books, and printed material presented to the N.L.W. contains miscellaneous ballads and poems in his handwriting, hymn-tunes, extracts, notes on gardening, horticulture, etc. Among his printed compositions are an essay (successful at Llandilo eistedfodd ) on the duty of parents to give a good education to their daughters, a ballad, and verses on the state of education in Wales following the report of the commissioners in 1847 (‘ Brad y Llyfrau Gleision ’); these verses (see Yr Ymofynydd , 1849 ) are reproduced in The Life and Work of William Williams, M.P. , by Daniel Evans , 1939 . He was particularly interested in the history of Talley parish with special reference to the ruined monastery and its bell, and at Talley eisteddfod , 24 April 1891 , competed unsuccessfully for the prize offered for an essay on the history of the parish. Two of his sons were schoolmasters , Thomas Morgan Evans ( 1838 - 1892 ) at Cwm-du , and Dafydd Evans ( 1842 - 1893 ) at Talley . A younger son, WILLIAM EVANS ( Gwilym Caradog ; 1848 - 1878 ), left a note-book dated 27 Aug. 1871 , containing a number of verses with three chapters of notes on Welsh metres entitled ‘ Ysgol y Beirdd .’ Dewi Dawel d. at Cwm-du 20 Dec. 1891 , and was buried in the churchyard at Llanfynydd .

Sources:

  • Cymru (O.M.E.) , xxviii, 1905 , 120;
  • Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales , 1940 ff , i, 273-4.

Author:

David Goronwy Griffiths (1882-1958), Aberystwyth / Swansea

Published date: 1959