Gwydol Morgan Evans
(Aberdare Boys County School: 1925-1931)
Gwydol Evans was born 24 November 1912, the son of a coal miner, and lived at 58 Glanaman Road, Cwmaman. He was the third of four children (two sisters and one brother) to Thomas1 and Mary Evans (née Lewis2).
Gwydol attended Glynhafod Elementary School where he passed the scholarship examination to the County School in Trecynon in September, 1925. He passed the CWB School Certificate Examination (1929), and Supplementary (1930). He left upper sixth form in December 1931 to become a student teacher. He subsequently entered St David’s College, Lampeter in 1933, gaining a B.A. in History, (1936), and then to Jesus College, Oxford where he graduated with a B.A. in Theology, (1938).
After Oxford, he spent a short period at St Michael’s College, Llandaff after which he was ordained as deacon in 1939 and priest in 1940. Thereafter he served as curate in St. John’s Troedyrhiw, Cefn Coed and Nantddu, then to St Peters Cockett, Swansea. Whilst in Troedyrhiw, Gwydol made the acquaintance of the Vicar’s daughter, Mary M.J. Rees, and they subsequently married in 1942, at the Troedyrhiw church where the bride’s father Rev Thomas Rees officiated. During his curacy in Swansea Gwydol served as Chaplain to the anti-aircraft gunners encamped around the town who were defending the docks. Those times were particularly difficult as he was often giving comfort to the badly injured or dying, and administering to the dead. Immediately after the War, he contracted tuberculosis after which his career was interrupted for 18 months during which time he was a patient at Morriston Hospital.
Gwydol then made his first step into the educational sector, when he was appointed Tutor and Head of the Ladies College at Llandrindod Wells Emergency Training College, where Gwilym Ambrose was Acting Principal on secondment from his Headship at Aberdare Boys County School. Gwydol remained in this position from 1948 to 1950.
The family moved from Wales to St Albans, Hertfordshire in 1951, and until
1955 Gwydol was a curate at St Pauls in the city. Thereafter he was licensed
to officiate, and he carried out christenings, marriages and funerals for many years
thereafter. Eventually he returned to education and began a long career as a teacher
of History and Religious Education at Wandsworth School, a boys’ grammar school
in south west London. Boys and staff there will have known him as ‘Dai’ Evans.
He was also an evening class tutor at Sidney Webb College, University of London, (a day teacher training college situated initially in Horseferry Road, Westminster); and an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher at the Barnett summer school. In addition, he was the Assistant Chaplain to several Mental Hospitals (Cell Barnes, Hill End, Napsbury and Harperbury) near his St. Albans home in Hertfordshire. He was also National Chaplain to the R.A.O.B., and in his younger days Gwydol was a qualified Rugby Union referee often turning out for the games of the Old Verulaniums in St Albans. At the end of the spring term in 1975, Gwydol retired from Wandsworth School and his other teaching commitments.
Mary and Gwydol raised five children, three boys and two girls, the first arriving in 1943 and the last in 1954. All apart from the youngest were born in Merthyr or Troedyrhiw. After almost 20 years of retirement Gwydol and Mary moved in 1993 to Worcester to be closer to their daughter Susan. After a relatively short time there, Gwydol died on 30th May, 1995. Mary still lives in the city and is now (2010) aged 91.
Gwydol enjoying his retirement!
Gwydol’s elder brother Brinley also attended the County School, but left the school
in 1925 the same year as his brother arrived.
1 Thomas Rowland Evans was a local man, born in Railway Terrace, Cwmaman, in 1882.
2 Mary Lewis was from Pembrey in Carmarthenshire. Gwydol’s parents met as a result of a railway excursion that his father took from Cwmaman. The GWR occasionally ran passenger trips starting from Cwmaman - trains leaving the valley along the Dare/Aman branch line. The trains continued over Brunel’s two wooden viaducts, the Dare and Gamlyn, which crossed the Dare and Cynon rivers respectively, and then on to the GWR ‘main-line’ at Gelli Tarw Junction (ex Vale of Neath Line) to Neath and beyond. After such an excursion, the two met in Llanelli and subsequently married in 1906; Mary was brought back to Cwmaman to set up the family home.