Dictionary of Welsh Biography


A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z



EVANS, MORRIS EDDIE (1890-1984), composer.

Eddie Evans was born on 5 October 1890 at Tal-y-sarn in the Nantlle valley in Caernarfonshire, the only son of William Owen Evans and his wife Catherine A. Evans. The family kept a grocery shop at Cloth Hall and later Paris House in Tal-y-sarn, and Eddie took lessons on the harmonium and in sol-fa from local musicians. They moved to Liverpool in 1904, where Eddie was taught by the musician and composer John Henry Roberts (‘Pencerdd Gwynedd’). He acted as organist of Edge Lane chapel in Liverpool for 36 years and conducted the Gwalia Mixed Choir and the ATM Male Voice Choir. He spent his working life as a driver and salesman for Hughes Brothers of Aintree, meat purveyors. He lived in several different places in the Liverpool and Manchester area and for a short while in Prestatyn.

He began competing as a young man and won several eisteddfod prizes for hymn-tunes, including prizes at the National Eisteddfod in 1937 (Machynlleth) and 1977 (Wrexham); but the tune which secured him lasting fame is ‘Pantyfedwen’, to the words ‘Tydi a wnaeth y wyrth, O Grist, Fab Duw’ by W. Rhys Nicholas (1914-1996), which won a prize of £300 at the Rhys Thomas James Eisteddfod in Lampeter in 1968. The tunes has been arranged for male voices and other combinations, and its fame has spread outside Wales; it has been published in English collections and in a translation to Fijian. A manuscript collection of Eddie Evans's hymn-tunes, which also contains some compositions for organ and other minor works, is housed in the National Library of Wales (NLW 22360D).

He married Louise Pierce from Anglesey in 1921, and they had one daughter, Megan. After the death of his first wife in 1934, he married Gwyneth Mills Jones (1910-1981) from Liverpool in 1944, and they had one daughter, Ann. At the age of 92 he married Ethel Dunkerley, and moved to Oldham, Lancs., where he died on 30 May 1984. His remains were cremated at Oldham Crematorium.

Sources:

  • Y Goleuad , 28 September 1990; 23 November, 30 November, 7 December 2007;
  • The Cambrian News , 8 June 1984.

Author:

Dr Rhidian Griffiths, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2014