Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EVANS , JOHN ( c. 1680 - 1730 ), Presbyterian minister and theologian .

The son of John Evans ( 1628 - 1700 ) by Katherine , widow of Vavasor Powell and daughter of colonel Gilbert Gerard , governor of Chester castle for Charles I . He was b. at Wrexham , educated at Dissenting academies at Newington Green ( c. 1694 ) and Rathmell, Yorks. , and studied the early Fathers under James Owen of Oswestry . He became chaplain to Mrs. Rowland Hunt of Boreatton , Salop , and shortly before his father's death went to assist him in the oversight of the ‘ Old Meeting ’ ( Independent and Baptist ) at Wrexham . The congregation invited him to succeed his father, but he made it a condition that the ‘ New Meeting ’ ( Presbyterian ) should be reunited to the Old, and when that proved impossible he seems to have accepted a call from the latter. He was ordained at Wrexham on 18 Aug. 1702 , among those officiating being Matthew Henry of Chester , James Owen of Oswestry , and Francis Tallents of Shrewsbury . In 1704 he became assistant pastor to Daniel Williams at Hand Alley , London , succeeding Williams in the pastorate on the latter's death in 1716 . He took a leading part (on the orthodox side) in the Arian controversy of 1719 , but always maintained a tolerant attitude in matters of doctrine. He was a trustee of the regium donum ( 1723 ) and headed the Nonconformist deputation to congratulate George II on his accession ( 1727 ). He wrote many theological works (listed in D.N.B. ), and received the degree of D.D. from Edinburgh University in Nov. 1728 , but not from Aberdeen (as in D.N.B. ) nor from Glasgow (as in Palmer ). He also collected (but did not live to use) materials for a history of Puritanism (some of which are preserved in Dr. Williams's library ), and statistics of Nonconformity from 1717 to 1729 . He had lost heavily in the bursting of the South Sea Bubble ( 1720 ), and d. ‘but in mean circumstances’ on 23 May 1730 ; but he left behind him some 10,000 volumes, also lodged in Dr. Williams's library , where his portrait hangs. He was buried in Dr. Williams 's vault in Bunhill Fields . His wife was the daughter of an ejected minister of 1662 .

Sources:

  • Calamy , An historical account of my own life with some reflections on the times I have lived in (1671-1731) , 2nd ed., London Henry Colburn and R. Bentley, 1830 ;
  • A. N. Palmer , A history of the older nonconformity of Wrexham and its neighbourhood being the third part of ‘A history of the town and parish of Wrexham’ , 1888 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , xviii, 65-6;
  • NLW MS 11097
  • Rhual Manuscript. 110.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Arthur Herbert Dodd, M.A., (1891-1975), Bangor

Published date: 1959