Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JENKINS , EVAN ( 1799 - 1877 ), cleric ;

b. 12 Jan. 1799 , at Waun-fawr near Aberystwyth , to David and Anne Jenkins . In a letter ( 11 Sept. 1822 ) to the bishop of Llandaff , he says that he was then about to finish three years’ study at ‘ Usk Divinity School .’ He received orders in 1822 and 1823 , and was licensed to Trostre, Mon. , and further ( 1823 ) to Monkswood . In 1827 , the earl of Bute presented him to the rectory of Dowlais . He is found in 1833 giving Welsh lessons to lady Charlotte Guest (q.v.) , and his name occurs fairly frequently in her diaries — they had a common interest in schools, and a common antipathy to the Oxford Movement . Jenkins was a somewhat stern puritan (he once offended lady Charlotte by objecting to a dance given by her), and was throughout his life a fervent advocate of total abstinence . When the Chartist movement broke out locally ( 1839 ), he came out strongly against it; he preached a sermon ( 17 Nov. 1839 ) which he afterwards expanded into a pamphlet, Chartism Unmasked , 1840 -this went to at least sixteen editions and caused ‘ a kind of feud ’ between him and John Guest , who disagreed with some of its statements and refused to circulate it among his workmen. The contents of the pamphlet are conventional enough, but it has points of interest — industrial unrest is attributed chiefly to the new Poor Law , moral delinquency to the practice of paying the workers their wages in public-houses, irreligion to the Establishment's inadequate provision of services in Welsh , for according to the rector not a single Anglican church in the area had monoglot Welsh services. Naturally, the Chartist newspaper Udgorn Cymru (see under John , David ) bitterly attacked the rector ; but long after this ( 1849 ) Jenkins won universal esteem for his courage during a cholera epidemic — he himself sickened under it. In 1851 he was made a prebendary of Llandaff , and at some time or other was given a Lambeth M.A. In 1862 he accepted the rectory of Llangynyw, Mont. ; he d. there during the last week of 1877 , and was buried there; he left an endowment of £10 to the poor of the parish being communicants.


  • Llandaff Diocesan Records at the National Library of Wales in N.L.W. (by the kindness of Mr. Walter Morgan );
  • Lady Charlotte Guest: Extracts from her journal, 1833-1852 (1950) , 1833-52 (indexed);
  • Yr Haul , 1862 , 87-8;
  • Thomas , A History of the Diocese of St. Asaph , i, 483;
  • The Merthyr Telegraph , 2 Feb. 1877 .


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

Published date: 1959