Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , EVAN ( 1777 - 1819 ), Baptist minister ;

b. at Llandysul, Cards. , but his family was of Eglwyswrw, Pembs. , and William Richards of Lynn calls him ‘the man from Eglwyswrw .’ He began preaching as a member at Pen-y-bont , Llandysul — according to David Jones ( Bed. Deheubarth ) in 1796 , but according to other data in 1792 . He spent four years at Bristol Baptist Academy under Ryland , who said that he was the ablest student he had ever had — in our own time, again, Thomas Shankland (q.v.) averred that Jones was the ablest of the opponents of William Richards ( 1749 - 1818 ) (q.v.) . If we are to take David Jones 's date as correct, then Evan Jones was already in his college days involved in the West Wales Baptist controversies of the time, for William Richards insinuates that Jones took the lead at the Pen-y-bont meeting of the Association, in 1797 , in the attack on Siôn Singer ’ ( John Williams , d. 1807 , q.v.) . He was to have been pastor at Pen-y-bont , but he had objections to ‘ the imposition of hands ,’ and accordingly preferred to accept a call ( 5 Nov. 1800 ) from the newly-founded church of Bethania at Cardigan , where he also kept school . In the meantime, the 1799 schism among the Welsh Baptists had broken out, and Jones entered the field on the Calvinist side, by publishing ( 1801 or 1802 ) a pamphlet, Traethawd Byrr ar Dduwdod Crist , attacking Richards , who riposted with venom in several pamphlets. Jones was a most popular preacher even in his student days at Bristol ; he preached frequently at meetings of the Baptist Association and at quarterly meetings; and tradition has it that Christmas Evans (q.v.) would not preach after him. But he was addicted to drink , indeed to drunkenness in public — William Richards in 1802 taunts him with ‘ scandalous behaviour in fairs and taverns at Newcastle Emlyn .’ For a long time he was borne with, but in 1810 he had to be excommunicated. His church membership was restored more than once, but he finally lapsed completely. He d. at Eglwyswrw , 10 Dec. 1819 , aged 42. Besides the pamphlet mentioned he published in 1809 a translation of Abraham Booth 's essay on Forgiveness of Sin ( Cardiff Catalogue ), and David Jones credits him with a small book, Bendithion Rhad, ac nid Prynedig [but see under Jones , Evan , 1793 - 1855 ].

Sources:

  • W. J. Davies , Hanes Plwyf Llandyssul , 1896 , 155-6;
  • Trafodion Cymdeithas Hanes Bedyddwyr Cymru , 1930 , 40-55;
  • and reference given above.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959