Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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LEWIS , EVAN ( 1788? - 1864 ), Dissenting minister ,

b., according to his own statement at Rhiwsbardun , Cwm Gwanas , Dolgellau , in 1788 , but his age at death in 1864 was entered as 78 years. Lewis was brought up among the Quakers ; his father was a Quaker preacher , and Lewis received his schooling in the Quaker meeting-house (today, ‘Tabor’ Independent chapel ) in Tir Stent ; he has recorded reminiscences of his boyhood among the Quakers . See the concluding paragraphs of the article Lewis and Owen families .

He migrated to north Cardiganshire where he is stated to have joined the young Wesleyan Methodist church at Tre'r Ddôl . By 1819 he was living in Little Darkgate Street , Aberystwyth , having m. Mary James Thomas . He was then a lay preacher . In 1820 or 1821 (the first christening recorded in his Cilgwyn register was on 9 Nov. 1821 ) he received what he termed ‘ Presbyterian ordination,’ and undertook the pastorate of the old Presbyterian church at Cilgwyn , near Llangybi, Cards. , which, since the Calvinist element had hived off to establish Ebenezer Independent church in that village in 1772 , had steered a middle course between Arminianism and Arianism . He attributed his call to the inability of the Carmarthen Presbyterian College to provide a suitable student. The ordination was conducted by David Lewis Jones , supported by ministers who were openly Arian or inclined in that direction. The Cilgwyn church accepted Wesleyan doctrine , but rejected the circuit organization. Consequently, Lewis was recognized neither by Wesleyan Methodists nor by Unitarians , and the chapel (removed to a new site in 1840 ) and congregation were not transferred to the Wesleyan Methodists until his death.

He settled at first at Olmarchisaf , but by 1826 he had moved to Llanllyr . When his wife d., 12 Aug. 1846 , the family lived at Pant-y-gwas in Llanfihangel Ystrad , where he also d. The Cilgwyn register records the death, on 28 July 1864 , of ‘ Revd Evan Lewis gwynhydog [ sic ].’ He was buried at Llanfihangel Ystrad on 2 Aug. , and his coffin plate was hung up in Cilgwyn chapel .

He left in manuscript a collection of essays entitled ‘ Dydd y Pethau Bychain ,’ an account of Cilgwyn church based largely on the now lost church book, and sermons. In 1828 he published the first of six projected parts of a Welsh book on arithmetic ( Rhifyddiaeth yn Rhwyddach, Rhan I , Caerfyrddin , 1828 ). Though over 200 subscribers are listed, this seems to have been the only part published. He was probably responsible for a pamphlet Annerchiad at Rieni a gyfieithwyd o'r Saenoneg [sic], gan Evan Lewis , Llanrwst , 1831 .


  • NLW MSS 2169-71, 3505, 6763-5, 13531;
  • Cilgwyn Church Book (2) in the possession of Richard Emms;
  • Bathafarn cylchgrawn hanes yr Eglwys Fethodistaidd yng Nghymru , x, 17-18.
  • Y Beiriniad , Jan. 1863
  • Y Dysgedydd , 1884


Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

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

Published date: 1959