Rev. Edward Williams Evans 1901-1908
Edward Evans was born in the old grey-stoned village of Pentrefoelas, a Welsh-speaking, remote agricultural village in Snowdonia where his father was Rector. He was the sixth child born to the rectory family, growing up familiar with the church services, music and generous hospitality in which they were involved. The Welsh landscape and culture would surely influence his personality.
After gaining his degree at Durham, he held two curacies in Northumberland prior to a term as Cathedral Chaplain at Newcastle. He was then vicar of parishes in Northumberland, Cornwall and Gloucestershire prior to his move to Dringhouses. In October 1901, he brought his wife Edith and their young family – three girls and a boy – to St Edward’s Vicarage.
Shortly after his arrival, plans were in hand to enlarge the vestry which was then shared by both clergy and choir. To add to his worries, there was also an epidemic of measles throughout the Parish. However, by April the new vestry was in use – it had cost £185. By November the same year another large expenditure had been incurred: the organ had been enlarged and restored – this time the bill came to £195 10s. The famous York Minster organist T. Tertius Noble came for its “re-opening”.
In 1903, the church was fitted with new heating apparatus which cost another £30. By May 1905, concerns were being expressed about the condition of the church tower – a further potential financial drain. Another project at this time, was the provision of the Church Room of St Helen – now known as the Community Hall. It was opened by the Bishop of Beverley on 30 July 1905 and was said to have cost £400. Dringhouses only had around 800 parishioners at this time, most of whom were in low-paid employment, and the finance for these projects was raised by subscription, offertories and events such as rummage sales.
By 1909, Edward had moved on to the beautiful old church at Goldsborough near Knaresborough and during World War I he served as a Forces Chaplain in Plymouth. He died in February 1919 and was buried with full military honours in the churchyard of Maker, Cornwall, where he had been vicar from 1890-96. Much of his life had been spent in locations near to hills or the sea, and his final resting place in this hill-top location looking out to the sea, was most fitting.