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The Carmarthenshire Historian


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Forgotten Author's Centenary

After a life of little more than forty years, a Carmarthen man died in London a hundred years ago. His life and work were to earn a place in the Dictionary of National Biography, yet there is no mention of him in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography. His name was Evan Lewis.

Born in Carmarthen in 1828, the son of an architect, he studied at Airedale College and graduated as a Bachelor of Arts from the University, of London. He seems to have spent all his adult life in England, serving in many places as an Independent minister. But this restless and sick man remained nowhere for long and never anywhere for more than five years.

He first ministered at Barton-on-Humber, from 1853 to 1858. Thereafter he moved to Rothwell Northamptonshire (1858-63), Oak Street Chapel, Accrington, Lancashire (1863-6), Grimshaw Street Chapel, Preston (1866-8) and finally to Offord Street Chapel, Islington, where his brief ministry lasted from October 1868 until his death on 19 February 1869. Whatever the reasons for these wanderings, his later moves were undoubtedly influenced by his search for health, a vain quest in the face of the tuberculosis which overcame him.

Evan Lewis made a reputation for himself as a writer and lecturer. He formed a day-school in connection with his chapel at Preston and there as well as at Accrington he was a frequent lecturer on literary and scientific topics. He became a member of the Royal Geographical Society and of the Ethnological Society.

His published writings, mostly of a religious nature, included A Plea for the People, or The Force and Fate of England's juggernaut, London (1857), a work in verse called The Two Twilights, or The Saint and the Sinner in Life and Death, London (1860) and Independency, a Deduction from the Laws of the Universe, London (1862).
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