Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EVANS , JOHN ( 1768 - c. 1812 ), topographical writer ;

probably the son of Benjamin Evans , clergyman , of Lydney, Glos. (He is sometimes confused with John Evans , a Bristol schoolmaster who wrote topographical works relating to Bristol and philosophical treatises.) Evans matriculated at Jesus College , Oxford , 1789 ( B.A. 1792 ). Little is known about him beyond his writings — four works descriptive of and based on tours in Wales . They were ( a ) A Tour through part of North Wales in … 1798 and at other times: principally undertaken with a view to Botanical researches in that alpine country; interspersed with observations on its Scenery, Agriculture, Manufactures ( London , 1800 , with other editions in 1802 and 1804 ); ( b ) Letters written during a Tour through South Wales in … 1803 and at other times , 1804 ; (c) ‘ Monmouthshire ’ in vol. xi of The Beauties of England and Wales , 1810 ; and (d) ‘ North Wales ’ in vol. xvii of the same series, 1812 ; he was to have written on South Wales but d. after completing a small part of the work. Although full of interesting detail, his works seem to have been based more upon reading than upon observation. His account of coal-mining methods in Pembrokeshire , in his Tour through South Wales , 1804 , for example, was a paraphrase, in 19th cent. wording, of what George Owen of Henllys had written two centuries before. He d. c. 1812 , i.e. before the publication in 1815 of vol. xvii of The Beauties of England and Wales .

Sources:

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen ... from the earliest times to the present (1908) ;
  • T. Rees , The beauties of England and Wales (1815) , xvii ;
  • T. Rees , A topographical and historical description of South Wales (1815) , v-vi.

Author:

Frederick John North, O.B.E., D.Sc., F.G.S., F.S.A., F.M.A., (1889-1968), Cardiff

Published date: 1959