Christmas Evans lived in the house on the left.
Evans really felt that the Lord was telling him to leave Anglesey; his leaving was not only due to the treatment he had received. He left in August 1826, having been invited to be the minister of a small BaptistChurch of 65 members at Tonyfelin in Caerphilly. There was massive excitement in the area at the news of his coming to this small village; the people could scarce believe it. He was provided with a housekeeper, but he really wanted a North Wales woman to do this work, so he asked someone to go to Anglesey and bring back his old servant, Mary Evans. She came and he married her in the parish of Eglwysilian, in the same church that George Whitefield (see this website) was married in. Mary was about 35 and he was 61 and they had a very happy marriage. He was paid £48 pa and lived in a house next to the church.
The ministry of Evans in Caerphilly was very successful. He began by calling people to pray; believing that Holy Spirit would hear their pleas. In less than three months he was writing, “There is a great movement in this forest. We have received seven backsliders and thirty-six new converts …. We have sixteen in the fellowship who are ready to be baptised and signs of many more. In the village of Caerphilly and the district of Bedwas, the breeze is blowing.” Large numbers of people could be seen on Sunday wending their way across the surrounding hills from all directions. The revival spread to the surrounding area and many were baptised. In future years’ people used to remember the date of certain events because that was the date when Christmas Evans preached on such and such subject. One of these great sermons was at the opening of the Baptist Chapel in Merthyr Tudful. He spoke on 1 Timothy 3:16 and sometime later he was asked to preach it again. Rhys Stephen was present on this occasion and he wrote, “In its oratorical excellence it stands alone, even among his great achievements, especially in the report of the soldiers. We heard them talk, had a clear perception of the difference in tone and variations of countenance…. Such a combined triumph of sanctified fancy and perfect oratory I never expect to witness again.”
His time here was pleasant. He received great respect from people in the area and there were opportunities to fellowship with other good preachers; he had the opportunity to get hold of more books to feed his insatiable appetite for knowledge. When he was sixty-five he met a young minister reading a book on ‘truth’ by a well-known author and on showing interest in it, the young man gave him the book. Evans was delighted as a school boy who had won an end of term prize. A few days later the young man visited Evans and spent two hours with him, but he could not get him to discuss any subject other than the book.
Evans did not want to return to Anglesey, even though someone wrote to him saying that the church there was praying for him to return. In answering this letter Evans said, “There is a church of around 200, with many of them going about the community to pray – not a dry doctrinal people, but a happy people of heaven. It is so pleasing to see them in fiery meetings and, through the goodness of the Lord, I am experiencing more of these than ever. They weep and shout ‘amen’ and give thanks more than I ever saw in Anglesey.”
After the revival was over in 1828 Evans decided to leave Caerphilly. There were tensions in the church because for many years the deacons were used to running the church affairs; not having a pastor who liked to control matters. Also, Evans was used to looking after several churches and found it difficult looking after just one congregation; he tended to get frustrated and so he decided to leave. None of the next five pastors stayed for more than four years, so perhaps it was a difficult church.