Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EVANS , RICHARD THOMAS ( 1892 - 1962 ), Baptist minister and administrator ;

b. 8 Oct. 1892 at Penygraig , Rhondda Valley, Glam. , son of David and Mary Evans (his father was killed in an accident in Abercynon colliery in 1924 ). His father was a prominent Baptist in the locality, especially so after moving to Abercynon , where he was a deacon at Calfaria chapel . In the second decade of the century he was a keen supporter of the campaign to establish a Support Fund for the denomination . R.T.E. 's mother was a member of the Wesleyan church , a sister of a minister in that denomination, John Edward Thomas ( 1875 - 1959 ). R.T.E. was baptised at a young age in Bethlehem , Trealaw , but it was in Calfaria , Abercynon that he was prepared for the ministry. He received his early education at Trealaw , and thereafter at secondary schools at Porth and Mountain Ash ; he was a pupil-teacher and a teacher at Abercynon for a period before being accepted as a student in the University College and the Baptist College , Bangor . Because he never enjoyed the best of health throughout his life, it is unlikely that he would have been called up to undertake any type of military service during World War I . However, his pacifist stance was so strong that he chose to leave Bangor , to be ordained on 23 May 1917 at Ainon and Tabernacl chapels, Bodedern . He returned to the college in the year 1919-20 to complete his B.A. degree and he was subsequently installed as minister at Porthmadog on 23 June 1920 , at Newport, Pembs. on 14 June 1922 and at Ammanford on 26 May 1927 . Within seven years he was chosen as the secretary of the Baptist Union of Wales and he was installed in that office during the annual conference held at Bethesda , Swansea , on 3 Sep. 1934 . He retired on Easter Monday, 7 Apr. 1958 and in appreciation of his service he was elevated to be president of both the Welsh and English sections of the Baptist Union of Wales for the year 1958-59 (but without being required to deliver an address). He was given a generous testimonial in a public meeting in Swansea on 5 Dec. 1958 . He continued to live in Swansea and it was at his home, 11 Gower Road , Sketty , that he d. on 13 Jun. 1962 . In accordance with his own wishes, he was buried privately. In spite of perpetual bouts of ill health, he succeeded in leading safely the Baptists of Wales through a period of much change and re-organisation. It is considered that his prime achievement was to centralise all the activities of the denomination under one roof in the new office, Tŷ Ilston , that was opened in Swansea in 1940 .

He m. 28 Mar. 1921 at Seion , Glanconwy , Maria Myfanwy (b. 27 Jun. 1893 ), the daughter of William Wallace Thomas ( 1832 - 1904 ), a native of Pentrefoelas and an Independent minister at Maes-glas , Holywell from 1873 until his retirement to Glanconwy in 1885 . Her principal benefaction was to persuade the Baptist Women's Movement to establish the denomination's home for the elderly at Glyn Nest , Newcastle Emlyn . It was appropriate that she was invited to open it officially on 26 Sept. 1970 and that it was there that she spent the last eighteen months of her life, from Sept. 1978 until her death at Glangwili hospital on Monday 4 Feb. 1980 . She was cremated at Parc Gwyn , Narberth , on 11 Feb. 1980 . There was one son of the marriage, b. 16 May 1934 .

Sources:

  • Seren Cymru , 15 Jun. 1917 , 30 Jul. 1920 , 12 May, 28 Jul. 1922 , 20 May, 10 Jun. 1927 , 14 Nov. 1934 , 20 Jun., 4 July, 5 Dec. 1958 , 22, 29 Jun., 13 Jul. 1962 , 9 Oct. 1970 , 7 Mar. 1980 ;
  • Seren yr Ysgol Sul yn cynwys bywgraffiaeth, hanesiaeth naturiol, barddoniaeth, cerddoriaeth, &c.; , Llanelli , 1932 , 2-6, 1934 , 220;
  • Yr Arweinydd Newydd , Cardiff , 1935 , 129-31;
  • Seren Gomer , 1962 , 94, 1966 , 47-8;
  • Baptist Times , 21 Jun. 1962 ;
  • Baptist Handbook , 1963 , 361;
  • The Baptist Union of Wales Handbook and Diary , 1963 , 116-117;
  • Gwilym Owen , Da Was , 1966 (1966) , 53-5;
  • The Congregational Year Book , 1905 , 189;
  • The Biographical Index of W.W. Price, Aberdâr (at the National Library of Wales and Aberdare Public Library) ;
  • information from his widow and from Eilwen Jenkins, Capel Iwan .

Author:

Benjamin George Owens, M.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001