MINISTER of the Independent Church, TRANSLATOR, AND PRINTER.

Evan was born on the 18th of January 1795 at Gelli-Beblig, Betws, Nr Brynmenyn. the youngest of seven
children. His father died when he was 3 years old, and owing to the extreme poverty of the family he had
no educational advantages in life, his mother tutoring him at home using the family bible as a text book.
He was received as a member of his neighbouring Independent Church in Brynmenyn aged thirteen.
At the age of 21 he started attending a school set up by the local minister MR. W. JONES of Brynmenyn
for a year and soon after he was preaching in the church as well. Later on he went for two years of
intensive study to an academy in Newport, Mon., kept by a Mr. Jenkin LEWIS. At the end of this period
he was recommended by Jenkin LEWIS to Lady Diana BARHAM of Fairy Hill, an avowed evangelical
philanthropist, as a suitable person to take charge of two new Independent Churches, Immanuel, Pilton
Green, and Mount Pisgah,Park Mill, both in the Gower area. The by now Reverend Evan Griffiths fitted
the bill.

He started his ministry at both these churches in May, 1822. He was there for seven years before
resigning his pastorate, and moved to Swansea to work on a Welsh translation of Matthew HENRY’s
(1662-1714) Exposition of the Old and New Testaments into Welsh. When a local printer became
bankrupt in 1830, Evan Griffiths purchased the business and then undertook both the translation and the
publication of the last three volumes. Vol II appeared in 1831 and the remaining two by 1835. Other
publications from his press included a children’s monthly, Y Rhosyn (1832-1833), and Y Drysorfa
Gynnulleidfaol, (1837-1845).

His method of getting this task done and the wherewithal to pay for it was simple but very arduous: he
worked on the translation day and night for two weeks, then for the next two weeks he would travel all
over Wales seeking orders and collecting payment for work done. Although he ceased to have charge of
a chapel of his own, he still preached in Ebenezer Congregational church regularly on Sundays. Besides
his translation of Mathew Henry’s work he published over forty translations and original works, including
translations into Welsh of Finney’s Lectures (1839) and Sermons (1841), Burder’s Eastern Customs
(1837) Brook’s Mute Christian (1830), J. A. James’s Church Member’s Guide, and Doddridges’s Rise
and Progress. Griffith also published a Welsh- English dictionary in 1847.

In 1837, Evan Griffiths signed the Total Abstinence Pledge, and wrote many letters to the Press about the
state of High St.(Swansea) and the drunkeness to be found there. Some of the manuscripts of his
sermons are preserved by the National Library of Wales. He married a Mrs. Mary JONES in 1829, who
predeceased him. Evan Griffith died on the 31st of August 1873 and is buried at Sketty.

Researched by Gerald Jarvis.

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