EVANS (IEUANS, JEVANS), John (by 1525-65), of Shrewsbury, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. by 1525, poss. s. of John Evans or Jevans of Shrewsbury. m. (1) 1s. 2da.; (2) Catherine, da. and h. of Thomas Carew of Bickley, Devon, wid. of Thomas Sturry of Rossall, Salop, s.p.2
Clerk, council in the marches of Wales 4 Jan. 1546-d.; alderman, Shrewsbury 15 Oct. 1558-d., bailiff 1558-9.3
When John Evans sued out a general pardon in 1559 he was described as ‘alias Jeuan late of Shrewsbury co. Salop alias of Shrewsbury alias clerk of the council in the marches of Wales’. This is sufficient to identify him with the man of his name who in the previous year had become an alderman of Shrewsbury at the same time as he was chosen bailiff, as well as making it all but certain that his appointment to the clerkship in January 1546 had been followed by his return for Shrewsbury to the Parliament of the following year.4
To Evans’s origin only one possible clue has been found. On 18 Apr. 1505 there was admitted as a freeman of Shrewsbury one ‘John Jevon’, corvisor (that is, shoemaker), the son of John, a carpenter of Llanfair Caereinion, Montgomeryshire: the condition attached that he was to take up residence in the town before Michaelmas suggests that he was a recent arrival there. The name ‘Jevons’ used here and elsewhere was nothing more than a mistranscription of the Welsh ‘Ieuans’, normally anglicised into ‘Evans’, and one authority states that the father’s name was John ap Ieuan, although the burgess roll as published merely calls him John. The use of the Welsh form over 40 years later suggests that the man then pardoned was of the same stock as the freeman: whether they were one and the same is more doubtful, although each had a son named Richard. The ex-shoemaker would have been more than 60 in 1546, when the clerkship was filled, and in his seventies at the election for bailiff in 1558, while he sounds with his artisan background a strange choice for the conciliar office: a son or nephew is likely to have been better suited to it both in age and in preparation, and to have found it easier to be accepted as a ‘gentleman’, the style accorded to Evans at each of his elections to Parliament.5
Whatever his place in the pedigree, Evans could well have owed his advancement to the Mytton family, especially to Adam Mytton, an outstanding figure at Shrewsbury as well as a member of the council in the marches, and his nephew Richard: both had long parliamentary careers themselves, Adam sitting four times for Shrewsbury and Richard once, and Evans’s election there in 1547 looks like their work. (This may not have been his first Parliament. The name ‘Mr. Evans’ appears, with three others, on the dorse of an Act passed during the Parliament of 1536 continuing expiring laws. As the King had asked for the re-election to this Parliament of the previous Members, it is possible that the Evans in question had been by-elected to the Parliament of 1529, for no one bearing the name had been returned in 1529. Whether he was John Evans we cannot say, but although the by-election cannot have been at Shrewsbury, where no vacancy occurred, and although there were as yet no Welsh seats, one of the many other vacancies could have provided a young protÃ©gÃ© of Adam Mytton’s with a seat.) Evans did not sit in either Edward VI’s second Parliament or Mary’s first, but he appeared in both Parliaments summoned in 1554. His election to the first of them for Leominster can be confidently attributed to the influence of the council, whose new president, Bishop Heath, was an active electioneer, and although council influence was less apparent at Much Wenlock, where Evans was elected in the autumn, it may have been exerted on this occasion and so help to explain the lateness of the return. Although he did not ‘secede’ from the Parliament of November 1554, the place that he had occupied on that occasion went to another man a year later, and perhaps for this reason Evans sought election elsewhere, presumably once again with the backing of the council. As conciliar intrusion into Welsh constituencies was rare, the Member returned for Denbigh Boroughs in 1555 has occasionally been identified with a capital burgess of gentle origin named in the Elizabethan town charter of 1587: no other trace of this man has been found, unless he was the John Evans of Gray’s Inn who in the 1570s brought a chancery action over lands in Cynllaith Owen, Denbighshire, and the obscurity that enshrouds his career supports the presumption that the Member of 1555 was the clerk of the council. Evans is not known to have joined the opposition to a government bill headed by Sir Anthony Kingston in 1555. Although the Commons Journal throws no light upon his activity in the House, it does refer in November 1553 to one John Evans, whose action for debt against a servant of Sir Thomas Tresham resulted in an order of privilege.6
In his will of 9 Mar. 1565 Evans asked to be buried in his parish church of St. Julian, Shrewsbury. He mentioned his wife, his two daughters Catherine (the wife of John Biston) and Mary, and his son Richard: the last two were to share half of his household goods, plate and silver, with Mary also receiving her father’s best chain of gold and Richard the second best. Evans appointed as executors his son Richard and his friend David Lloyd, one of the attorneys at the council in the marches. He was buried in accordance with his wishes on 30 Apr. 1565 and his will was proved on 5 July following.7
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: P. S. Edwards
- 1. House of Lords RO, Original Acts, 28 Hen. VIII, no. 6.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), xii. 187; (ser. 5), ii. 313; Shrewsbury Burgess Roll, ed. Forrest, 164; PCC 24 Morrison; H. Owen and J. B. Blakeway, Shrewsbury, i. 531.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; CPR, 1553-4, p. 430; 1558-60, p. 239.
- 4. CPR, 1558-60, p. 239.
- 5. Shrewsbury Burgess Roll, 164.
- 6. House of Lords RO, Original Acts, 28 Hen. VIII, no. 6; Williams, Parl. Hist. Wales, 79; J. Williams, Denbigh, 121; C2/Eliz. E5/25; CJ, i. 30.
- 7. PCC 24 Morrison; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), xii. 187.