St John's College O.74 (James 563)

John Evans, An essay or enquiry into the state of nonconformity in England and Wales. English, 1717.


'An essay or enquiry into ye state of N.C. in England and Wales A.D. 1717. The number of ministers, candidates, and teachers. Their ordination. Their severall denominations, Presbyterians, Independents, Anabaptists etc. The counties, cities, burroughs, market-towns, and villages where they preach. Their new-erected chapells. Their salaries. The number of their hearers, and free-holders. Their funds at London, who contribute to them, and receive from them. The old ejected ministers in 1662. An alphabeticall account of each county and town where there are meetings. And a general index of all ministers.'

The data for England is organised by county from Bedfordshire to Yorkshire (pp. 1-198) and is followed by that for Wales, arranged by county from Anglesea to Radnorshire (pp. 199-218). Within each county the borough town, market towns and villages are listed alphabetically and the names of the non-conformist incumbents are given together with a letter indicating their denomination. Additional information is occasionally given indicating the incumbent's salary, funds, hearers, voters, and date of ordination. Each page is arranged in tabular form. At the end of the volume is an index (pp. 219-61) arranged in more or less alphabetical order giving the names of those listed in the volume with their town and county, the page on which they are mentioned, and occasionally the name of the minister ejected in 1662.

A note on the flyleaf in the hand of the antiquary William Henry Black (1808-72) reads, 'my fellow assistant keeper of records, the reverend Joseph Hunter, informed me, 13/9/50, that this MS was compiled by Dr John Evans, Presbyterian minister, mentioned at p. 91'. For John Evans (1679/80-1730) see ODNB which notes that 'he compiled an invaluable list of the members of Baptist, Independent, and Presbyterian congregations in England and Wales from 1715 to 1729, which is preserved at Dr Williams's Library, London'.

Manuscript extra information

200 x 160mm. 261 pages + blanks. Some loose notes are stored in an envelope pasted to the back flyleaf. Paper. Very neatly ruled and written in a single hand throughout, with some pen and pencil annotations and corrections in later hands. Binding: 18th-century vellum over boards; a note on the spine reads 'Meetings & Ministers'; sprinkled edges.

A note on the flyleaf records that William Henry Black purchased this manuscript from Thomas Cole of 15 Great Turnstile, Holborn, London, on 30 Aug. 1850 for 5s. Cole's printed 'List of useful second-hand books', including this manuscript, is kept in an envelope at the end of the volume. Given to the library by the administrator of J.E.B. Mayor (1825-1910) (book label, 1910). College bookplate inside front board.