D Tecwyn Evans



David Tecwyn Evans was born at Aberdeunant Uchaf, a cottage in the parish of Llandecwyn in Ardudwy, on 5 December 1876.   His father, Evan Evans from Maentwrog, was a slateminer at Llechwedd Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog.   He was twice married, first to Jane, the daughter of William and Catherine Owen, Maesyllan, Llandecwyn, who bore him four sons and two daughters.   Soon after Jane died in 1874, Evan Evans married Catherine, Jane’s sister and the only child from that marriage was David, who added Tecwyn to his birth name after he began preaching.

His mother’s family can be traced to Ty Newydd, Llandecwyn and her father, William Owen, was the son of Richard Owen, Ty Newydd, one of the founders of Wesleyism in the area.   His mother was related to Edmund Evans (Utgorn Meirion) – one of the most prominent lay preachers of his time.   His grandmother was the daughter of Las Ynys Bach, a talented and capable woman, who was better educated than most of her peers.   She suffered from depression, or occasional melancholy, and Tecwyn also admitted that he had inherited this condition.

Tecwyn began his formal education at Llandecwyn National School before his fifth birthday.   During his time there he had five different headteachers, two of whom were Welsh – but was taught through the medium of English by them all.   He then went to Talsarnau Board School where he was offered the opportunity to become a monitor but his father was keen for him to start work.   He left school and worked as a farmhand at ‘Y Gegin’, Llandecwyn and at a shop in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

But Tecwyn returned to school and was greatly influenced by J J Thomas, Headmaster of Talsarnau School.   He became a monitor and a pupil teacher at the school.   He was also a pupil teacher at Llanfrothen school for a year where Bob Owen, Croesor was one of his pupils.

Tecwyn was a great admirer of Sir O M Edwards and sometimes he would walk from Llandecwyn to Llanuwchllyn to see him.    While at Talsarnau school he persuaded the Headmaster to allow him to distribute Cymru’r Plant (a children’s Welsh Language magazine) to the pupils in order to encourage them to read Welsh.

Tecwyn was keen to enter the Ministry and went to Bangor University to study Welsh under Sir John Morris Jones and also to study the English language.   He gained an honours degree in English at Bangor.

He took a special interest in the orthography and construction of the Welsh language and was very critical of anyone who misused the language.   He was called a ‘language   polisher’ and ‘corrector of errors’ when he became editor of ‘Yr Eurgrawn’, and somebody said that ‘pruning was Tecwyn’s hobby ‘.

He was known as one of the notabilities of the Welsh pulpit.   He preached his first sermon at Brontecwyn Wesleyan Chapel in Llandecwyn on Whit Sunday 1894 when he was 17 years old.   He was accepted into the Ministry in 1902.

Tecwyn was recognised as a first class preacher, lecturer, linguist and hymnist.   He composed a Hymn of Peace which won first prize at the Pontypool National Eisteddfod in 1924.   He translated other hymns, two of which were by Charles Wesley and one excellent translation of George Matheson’s hymn – ‘Iesu, cyfaill f’enaid i’ – Jesu lover of my soul.

Tecwyn Evans died in Rhyl on 27 October 1957 and in a tribute to him, his friend Tegla said that people will forget him as a linguist, author and lecturer, but his name will remain amongst the greatest of the Welsh preachers.   It might well be said that he will be remembered as long as the Welsh sing their sacred hymns.

A worthy biography of him was written by the Reverend Tudor Davies, Aberystwyth published in 2002 with the backing of the Methodist Church Historical Society.

This article was presented in Welsh by Mrs E W Jones, Ty’n Bonc, Llandecwyn with grateful thanks.