Select Bevan Miscellany

Here are some Bevan stories and accounts over the years:

The Bevans of Penycoed

The Bevan family had been living at Penycoed, an estate to the north of St.Clears, since 1575 or thereabouts.  They were considerable landowners and some four generations of Bevans were appointed High Sheriffs of Carmarthenshire.  As the senior officers of the Crown they had responsibility for law and order and for the good management of the county.

Thomas Bevan was born in 1696 and became High Sheriff himself in 1735.  He married Bryanna Lloyd, daughter of one of the well-established South Wales families, and they proceeded to have six children - William in 1730, Margareta Maria in 1732, Amy in 1733 and three other girls. William was, therefore, the son and heir and Margareta Maria could be said to be the senior daughter.  Sometime in the 1750's or 60's Thomas built himself a Palladian mansion to replace the old family manor house.

Amy married and gave birth to a little girl, Anne, in 1775.  Amy then died and the baby was taken into the Bevan household.  If that was the end of the story one would have assumed the following - that Amy had been indiscreet with someone of lower class and there had followed a shotgun wedding and that Amy had died after childbirth.

We now come to a remarkable sequence of events. Thomas died intestate in 1783. This was a remarkable situation where a man disposing of a considerable estate was concerned.  Margareta Maria and not her brother William was appointed to administer the estate.   William did not inherit and died in 1806 intestate. The estate then appears to have been inherited by Anne - presumably at the wish of her grandfather and by arrangement of his administrator, her aunt, Margareta Maria! 
Why did William not inherit and the estate eventually pass to Anne?  There have been a number of explanations put forward, but no one really knows.  In 1793 Anne married a local landowner Walter Williams and it was curious that their eldest son should be called William Bevan Williams.

Early Bevans in the Gower Peninsula and in Llangyfelach

The following are some 17th century parish records of Bevans on the Gower Peninsula.

Marriage of Franc Beavan
Rhossili Burial of John Bevan
Baptism of Robert Bevan
Rhossili Marriage of Graficus Bevan and Margaret Jones
Llanhridian Baptism of Maria, daughter of Howell Bevan
Rhossili Baptism of Thomas, son of Fran Beavan
Baptism of Joan, daughter of Jenkin Bevan
Burial of Llewelyn Bevan of Lydard Vach
Bishopston Burial of John Griffith Bevan

The Bevan name was to be found in early 18th century parish records at Oystermouth(Mumbles) and Llangyfelach, both in the vicinity of Swansea.

William Bevan, born in Llangyfelach in 1696, was the forebear of a Bevan family which was the subject of Elfed Bevan’s 1992 study.  Rees Bevan was born in Llangyfelach in 1706 and his son was the Rev. Hopkin Bevan, the prominent Methodist minister. 

Later Bevans from the Gower Peninsula

The Bevan family roots in Gower stretch back over 350 years to Jenkin ap Evan, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Peter After in the parish church of St. Mary's at Rhossili around.1620.  Jenkin anglicized his Welsh surname, creating the new one of Bevan.  

A 19th century descendant, Silvanus Bevan, was a farmer and Methodist lay preacher,  He kept close to home, marrying his cousin Ann and raising his large family on his farm, Bay View Farm at Overton overlooking the Gower coastline.  

George, born in 1861 and the third of his eleven children, left home in 1876 to begin an ironmongery apprenticeship at his Uncle William's shop in Llandudno.  He planned to return, but didn’t.  He ended up opening a shop in the developing seaside resort of Colwyn Bay.  He was elected to the Local Board in 1890 and thus began a political career at Colwyn Bay that was to last forty two years - until his sudden death in 1935.  

His granddaughter Dr. Mary Bevan, born in Colwyn Bay, saved an archive of his family letters and books.

Reader Feedback - The Bevans in Barclays Bank

The Bevans I know were Huguenots who fled from a small village just north of Dijon in France and settled on the Gower Peninsular, taking the name ab Evan.  

There were two old Silvanus Bevans that I know.  One went to Norwich and the family still has a cup he won for his sheep.  But the other is the famous one who went to the city of London and eventually joined up with Barclay and Tritton to build the banking family.  

One of those three families was chairman of the bank at all times up to Tuke in the 1980's.  The last Bevan chairman was Timothy Bevan who died in early 2016.  He was Tuke's immediate predecessor and had previously served as an officer in the Welsh Guards.  

Tim's father had spent much of his youth at the house in France, arriving in England to go to Eton.  A POW in World War One, became fluent in German, learned some Russian, Spanish and even a few words of Japanese. In World War Two he spent time in the Diplomatic Service, was in SOE, and ended the was commanding an MGB.  In civilian life he was a partner in a stock-broking company

David Brown (

The Sad Story of Llewelyn Bevan

Lleweyyn Bevan was born about 1823, probably at the Nant-y-gasegisaf farm in Cwmgors.  Following the tradition of the day, as the eldest son he was named for his paternal grandfather, Llewelyn Bevan.  He was first recorded in the 1841 census.

Llewelyn's mother Ann died in 1845.  It is not known at what point he left home, but he was not enumerated at Nant-y-gasegisaf with his family in 1851.  He was recorded then as a visitor in the home of another Llewelyn Bevan, a farmer and possibly a relation.  In the next census of 1861 he was enumerated in the household of his maternal uncle, John Howell.  He was described as being an unmarried, 37 year old.

The next entry finds him at the asylum at Bridgend.  The asylum opened in November 1864 and he was the third patient to be admitted, having been transferred from the Vernon House Asylum at Briton Ferry where he had been for almost three years.  He had apparently been judged to be "insane" for seven years prior to his admission at Vernon House and had been “farmed out” to relatives.

In his admittance record, Llewelyn was described as having: "a listless and apathetic manner and a confused and vacant look.  He answers questions with difficulty or not at all." 
As the years passed the content of the reviews became briefer.  After an entry on July 20 1903, nothing further was written until October 12 when it was recorded:

“He has been failing for some time, refusing his food and gradually becoming weaker. He slowly sank and at 8.40 p.m. today he died."

Llewelyn was in his 80th year and had spent 41 years of his life in the care of asylums.

Bevans in the 1881 Census


The main numbers were in Swansea, Marthyr Tydil, and Ystradyfodwg. 

John Bevan in Haverford, Pennsylvania

The first Welsh settlers arrived in Haverford township, Pennsylvania in 1682. Haverford was unique in that it was a wilderness whereas many other settlements already had previous residents.

Some of these families were the founders of Old Haverford Meeting, and, as was the custom with the early Quakers, until a Meeting House could be built the homes of the members was where the Monthly Meetings were held.  Meetings were held at the home of John Bevan whose land was across the road from where Old Haverford Meeting now stands.  John Bevan’s house still stands.  The rooms are timbered in heavy oak and the floors paved with stone, as was usual in Wales at that time. 

Bevan's situation was unusual in that he and his wife only came to Pennsylvania temporarily, because they felt it would be a good place to raise their children. In 1704, when their children were grown-up and comfortably settledthere, they returned to Wales.  Bevan ironically faced persecution and imprisonment for his faith back in Wales.

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