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Ceredigion : Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society


Vol. 13, no. 4 2000

A Cardiganshire incumbent writes to his London relations : Lewis Evans, vicar of Llanfihangel Genau'r-glyn, 1805-35 /

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Lewis Evans, vicar of Llanfihangel Genau'r-glyn from 1805, which he
served with some other small parishes, wrote frequently to his two brothers
and sister who lived in London. One of them preserved his letters, dating
from 1792 and ending in 1830, and had them bound up in a volume entitled
'Letters from a Brother'.
The majority of the letters date from around the turn of the
nineteenth century. Some are in Welsh. They relate Lewis's own career in the
Church, note his brothers' progress, and relate local events and gossip
around their former home, Tyn'r Helig, which I have been unable to identify.
It seems the house was in a state of disrepair by 1800 and Lewis was
distressed that in spite of promises the landlord was not prepared to rebuild
it.2 This paper will mainly relate to Lewis's clerical career. Unfortunately
only a selection of his letters appear to have survived, so that it is not always
possible to grasp the sequence of events.
The elder brother was John, and Lewis's first letter to him corrects
his English and warns him against the press gang. He lived at Shoemakers
Row3 near Blackfriar's Bridge, and was in business on some account. John
does not appear to have married, and died young, on 19 May 1805, having
suffered a long illness. Lewis was concerned about his spiritual state, and
hoped that a religious and serious friend would be able to offer him spiritual
comfort, and that his family would be able to be with him on his death bed
and commend him to a crucified Saviour who is merciful to sinners.4 At one
stage Lewis himself hoped to make the journey to London to see his brother,
before he entered on his journey 'to a country from which no traveller
returns'.5 Accordingly, he had made a provisional arrangement with the vicar
of Llanbadarn, Richard Evans, that his curate Mr Jenkins would be able to
take the duty of his parish during his absence. But unfortunately Evans had
to return to look after his parishes in Hertfordshire and remain there until the
autumn. This long illness was probably why John's business failed. At first
Lewis, presumably for the family honour, hoped to be able to pay his debts
by putting off the building of his vicarage. Unfortunately, his debts were too
substantial for Lewis to take this course.
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