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Signature of Silas Evans

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John Silas Evans is notable as an author of popular astronomical books, in particular for writing the Welsh language classic Seryddiaeth a Seryddwyr. Canon Evans was a prominent Churchman and was Vicar of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant for nearly three decades.

Some reference materials relating to Silas Evans are available here. These were consulted while writing the account on this page.

A short biography

Silas Evans was born on 11th March, 1864, in the village of Pencarreg, between Lampeter and Llanybydder. He spent his early years in the area, where he attended school as well as in Carmarthen and in Lampeter. His university education took place at Saint David's College, Lampeter, where he graduated with a B.A. in theology in 1885. Silas Evans became a deacon in the Anglican church and was ordained a priest in 1888. He served as a Curate in Dyserth, in Rhosddu and in St. Asaph. He was Vicar of Cyffylliog in Denbighshire between 1901 and 1909. In 1909 he became Vicar of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in the Berwyn Mountains between Bala and Oswestry.

During this period Rev. Evans maintained an interest in astronomy. He observed with a four-inch telescope by Tulley.

He composed a manuscript in the Welsh language about astronomy and submitted it as entry in a competition for an original new work in the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Barry in 1920. The manuscript was commended by the judges, but its subject was considered inappropriate for the belles lettres competition and was not considered for the prize. Silas Evans published the work as the book Seryddiaeth a Seryddwyr in 1923.

He wrote an English-language popular book on astronomy called Marvels of the Sky (publ. A. H. Stockwell, London, 1931, 97 pages) and a compilation of 'astronomical sermons' called Ad Astra (publ. A. H. Stockwell, London, 1931, 80 pages). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in November 1923 and continued to be a member until December 1932. He was a member of the British Astronomical Association from 1923 to 1925 or 1926.

He became a Canon in 1928 and continued to serve as Vicar of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant and Llanarmon-Mynydd-Mawr until 1938, when he became a Canon Emeritus on his retirement. His other publications in Welsh included a history of the parish of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant and a collection of sermons. He remained unmarried.

After retirement he lived for a time in Aberystwyth in a house he named Ad Astra, but eventually returned to the village of Pencarreg where he was born. It was there that he died on 19th April, 1953, aged 89.


[This account uses material in the foreward of Seryddiaeth a Seryddwyr, in Marvels of the Skies, and the Official Handbook of the Church in Wales, 1939 (page 483). Details of membership of the Royal Astronomical Society were kindly provided by Mr. Peter Hingley, Librarian of the R.A.S. Details of membership of the British Astronomical Association were taken from published B.A.A. membership lists. Information about the date of death are taken from the concise biography by M. G. Ellis in Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig, 1951-1970 (eds. E. D. Jones & B. F. Roberts, publ. by the Honorable Society of Cymmrodorion, London, 1997).]

Further reading

Besides this online account, the only biographical article about Silas Evans is:

  • the article by M. G. Ellis in Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig, 1951-1970, eds. E. D. Jones & B. F. Roberts, publ. by the Honorable Society of Cymmrodorion, London, 1997. (The book is the supplementary volume to Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig at 1940 / Dictionary of Welsh Biography to 1940.) (A copy is available at the Welsh Biography Online.)

Some reference material about Silas Evans is available here. It was consulted while writing the account on this page. For example, Who's Who in Wales.


Nigel Longshaw kindly provided the scan of Silas Evans's signature used on this page and gave permission for its use.

Mr. Peter Hingley, Librarian of the Royal Astronomical Society, kindly provided information about membership of the R.A.S.

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