Select Bevan Surname Genealogy

Bevan is a name of Welsh origin, derived from ap Evan meaning “son of Evan” where Evan is the Welsh John. The surname in the Welsh patronymic style dates back to the late 13th century.  Howel ap Evan was recorded around 1300.

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Select Bevan Ancestry

WalesThe Bevan surname was slow to emerge from the haze of the Welsh patronymic system, but probably did so first in Carmarthenshire in the late 16th century.

Carmarthenshire.  Griffith Bevan was mayor of Carmarthen in 1575 and these Bevans established themselves at Penycoed, a large country house on the banks of the Dewi Fawr.  They remained there until the latter half of the 18th century.   Later came the Bevans of Laugharne, starting with Zachary Bevan who was the High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1703.  Bridget Bevan, known as Madam Bevan for her philanthropy, died in Laugharne in 1779.

Glamorgan.  A more ancient Bevan family in terms of Welsh lineage was at Treverigg in the parish of Llantrisant near Cardiff in Glamorgan.  John ap Evan was born there in 1585.  His son was Evan ap John but his grandsons, John and Charles who emigrated to America, adopted the Bevan name.

The Bevan name in and around Swansea started at Rhossili on the Gower Peninsula around the year 1620. Jenkin ap Evan anglicized his name to Jenkin Bevan at this time.  Bevans remained on the Gower Peninsula.

One branch moved to Swansea and Sylvanus Bevan there became an early convert to Quakerism.  Although Sylvanus suffered persecution at times for his beliefs, he was by the early 1700’s part of Swansea’s growing and prospering Quaker community.  In 1708 his son Sylvanus left to seek his fortune in London.  The family story in Wales and England was covered in Audrey Gamble’s 1924 book The History of the Bevan Family.

Coal mining came to dominate South Wales by the latter part of the 19th century.  The 1881 census showed that the number one occupation for Bevans was coal mining.  Some lives there ended in tragedy.  Thomas Bevan was one of the ten men who died in 1884 at the Garnant mine near Swansea when the rope holding the cage broke.  One Bevan became famous.  Aneurin Bevan was born in Tredegar and was down the pits by the age of 13.  He became a trade union activist and that started his ascent in the Labor party.

EnglandThe 1881 census showed a significant overspill of Bevans into England, either into neighboring Gloucestershire or further afield to Lancashire or London.  One Bevan family in Gloucestershire has been traced back to the birth of James Bevan in Thornbury in 1756.  Bevin and Bevins, variations of Bevan, are English variations.  Ernest Bevin, Foreign Minister in the Attlee Government, was born in Somerset.  Tony Bevins the journalist, after whom the Bevins Prize was named, was born in Liverpool.

Sylvanus Bevan came to London from Swansea in 1708 and, as a pharmacist, established the base for the later family fortunes in England.  These Bevans forged alliances through their Quaker heritage with the Barclays and the Gurneys and this brought them into banking and into the life of an English country gentleman.

Their London home from 1833 to 1908 was at Trent Park in Enfield.  One branch was to be found on the south coast at Brighton.  These Bevans later included the artist Robert P. Bevan and his son Bobby Bevan, a prominent advertising executive and member of London’s literary set in the 1930’s.

However, the Bevan family have remained a part of Barclays Bank and an integral one at that – from Silvanus Bevan who joined the original Barclay Bank in 1767 to Timothy Bevan the Chairman from 1981 to 1987.

America.  John Bevan of Treverigg had become interested in founding a colony of Welsh Quakers in Pennsylvania.  As an agent for a number of them he purchased land from William Penn in Haverford township in Chester county and in Merion near Philadelphia. He himself arrived in Pennsylvania in 1683 with his brother Charles and settled in the Merion tract.  Benjamin Bevan, father and son, were to be found in Haverford during the 18th century. 

New Zealand.  Thomas and Mary Bevan left their home in Shropshire in 1840 for the uncertainties of life in New Zealand (Thomas survived the crossing but Mary died at sea).  Thomas, a ropemaker by trade, eventually settled in the Otaki district near Wellington.  Theodore Bevan, from London but of Welsh Quaker roots, arrived in New Zealand in 1881.  He spent the next ten years of his life travelling and exploring in New Guinea.

Select Bevan Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Bevan Names

Sylvanus Bevan came to London in 1708 and established the base for the subsequent family fortunes as a pharmacist (his company was the starting point for the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline).
Aneurin (Nye) Bevan, the son of a Welsh coal miner, spearheaded the establishment of the National Health Service in
the post-war Attlee government.
Ernest Bevin, English-born, was a trade union leader who served as Minister of Labor during World War Two and Foreign Secretary afterwards.

Select Bevans Today

  • 16,000 in the UK (most numerous in Glamorgan)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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