Pro libertate patriœ, For the liberty of my country.
A lion, rampant, within a bordure, indented, Or.
vans is derived from the name Ieuan which along with Ioan is Welsh for John (the Welsh language is still quite strong in Wales). It originated as a first name at a time in Wales when there were no surnames, when people would be named according to their father (for example, William son of Ieuan) would be William ap Ieuan, "ap" being Welsh for "son of").
But when such names were written down in the Middle Ages (usually by English clerics who couldn't understand or pronounce Welsh) the "u" would often became a "v" and the "I" would be dropped off leaving "E". It led to a lot of variations and when surnames began to be established in Wales in the 17th and 18th centuries (usually by dropping "ap" and consolidating the last name) Evans was by far the most common of the Ieuan variations. When permanent surnames were adopted in Wales, Ieuan sometimes became Jones and sometimes Evans.
EVAN, EWAN, EWING: well-born.
There are several early references to the name Ieuan and Ievan in Welsh history. In the 6th century, there was a St. Ieuan. St. Ceidio’s church is dedicated to Ceidio the son of Caw, and is located in an almost circular cemetery. Llantrisant old church is dedicated to three saints; St. Gafran, St. Ieuan and St. Sannan.
Ieuan, born 1155 in Ystrad, Glamorgan, Wales, was Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. He married Anne ferch Meuric ap Meredith of Ystrad.
Sir Knight Ieuan was born abt. 1346 in Castell Kibwr, Of Oriel College, Oxford of Brynwith, Glamorgan, Wales, married Crisli ferch Gawdyn ap Llywelyn ap Cynwrig of Radur ap Hywel of Meisgyn ap Madog ap Iestyn ap Gwrgan ap Ithel ap Idwallon ap Morgan Mawr (Hen) ap Owain (who married Nest ferch Rhodri Mawr) ap Hywel ap Rhys King of Glywysing who died about 886. Their son, Mathew, is believed to be the first of the surname Mathews/Matthews line.
Ieven ap David, was the grandson of Llewellyn ap Griffith, who was Prince of Wales in the 13th century.
Theophilus Evans, wrote "Drych y Prif Oesoedd" (Mirror the First Age) in 1716. Evans was alarmed at the rise of nonconformity that he felt was destroying many ancient Welsh traditions. His book recounts the history of the Welsh people all the way from the Tower of Babel to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282. He retells some of the great myths of Welsh history such as the descent from Noah's grandson Gomer, the founding of Britain by Brutus of Troy, and the betrayal of the Britons by Hengist. Written in their own language, the book gave the Welsh people a sense of their own unique history.
1764: "Some Specimens of the Poetry of the Ancient Welsh Bards."
Evan Evans published this result of his tireless research into the ancient manuscripts. He was also responsible for the preservation of so many priceless medieval Welsh literary works such as "The Red Book of Hergest" that alerted the literary world to the glories of much hitherto-unknown Welsh literature. It was Evans (Ieuan Brydydd Hir) who discovered and published the work of Taliesin and "Y Gododdin" of Aneirin.
1806: Publication of the Hymns of Ann Griffiths.
Welsh hymn writer Ann Griffiths recited her compositions to her maid Ruth Evans on their long walks from Dolwar Fach to Bala to attend religious services. Ann died in 1805, and a year later her hymns (from Ruth's memory) were published as "Casgliad o Hymnau" (Collection of Hymns). Ann Griffiths is regarded as the most important female figure in the history of Welsh literature before the 20th century, thanks to Ruth Evans. The most famous of her works and the one most often sung today, to the tune "Cwm Rhondda") is "Wele'n sefyll rhwng y myrtwydd" (See him standing among the myrtles). A translation by H.Idris Bell gives some idea of the power of Ann's devotion to Christ:
Lo, between the myrtles standing,
One who merits well my love,
Though His worth I guess but dimly,
High all earthly things above;
When at last I see Him clear!
Rose of Sharon, so men name Him;
White and red his cheeks adorn;
Store untold of earthly treasure
Will His merit put to scorn
Friend of sinners,
He their pilot o'er the deep.
What can weigh with me henceforward
All the idols of the earth?
One and all I here proclaim them,
Matched with Jesus, nothing worth;
O to rest me
Gwynfor Evans, noted historian, writer, foremost politician in 20th century Wales, and considered Wales' greatest living patriot, is in his early 90s and is still busy writing. His books include: "Land Of My Fathers -- 2,000 Years Of Welsh History" ; "The Fight For Welsh Freedom", "A Welshman's Life", and "Fighting For Wales".
Today there are many different branches of Welsh Evans, which makes it very difficult to trace our family roots.
Name Variations: Evans, Evan, Evance, Evands, Evanson, Evason, Evens, Evenson.
References:One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
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