Gwynfor Evans

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Gwynfor Evans in 1951

Dr Richard Gwynfor Evans (1 September 191221 April 2005) was a Welsh politician, lawyer and author. He was President of the Welsh political party Plaid Cymru for thirty six years and was the first Member of Parliament to represent it at Westminster, which he did twice, from 1966 to 1970, and again from 1974 to 1979.


  • a political synonym for Englishness which extends English culture over the Scots, the Welsh, and the Irish.
    • The end of Britishness : a synopsis by the Welsh Nationalism Foundation of an address by Evans to a Rally held in Port Talbot on Saturday, 4 October 1980.
  • It is the moral factor which decides the fate of nations: man's spirit can prove greater than the power of leviathan. A nation is swiftly overcome if its spirit is weak; but with unyielding determination it can vanquish powers that appear to be utterly invincible.
    • Land of My Fathers, 1974. (Translation from Welsh original text)
  • There can be few national movements which have renounced as Plaid Cymru has done, the use of methods of war and violence. It has done this... because it knows that it will never see the kind of Wales it wants to build if its methods rest on hatred and the violation of the personalities of others.

Quotes About Gwynfor[edit]

On his death the Welsh political establishment united in paying its respects to Gwynfor Evans:

  • Without a doubt, Gwynfor Evans was one of the major figures in Welsh politics in the twentieth century. Indeed, in many respects, it is likely that he can be counted as the most important nationalist politician in Wales in modern times.
  • Without Gwynfor Evans at the helm Plaid Cymru may not have survived to see electoral success in later years. His influence was felt beyond the confines of party politics. Wales would not be the nation it is today — perhaps would not be counted as a nation at all — if not for Gwynfor Evans.
  • I have no doubt that he is the biggest political nationalist ever in Wales and the greatest Welshman of the twentieth century.
  • Gwynfor's inspiration and leadership of Wales over the years makes him one of the greatest Welshmen of any period in the history of Wales.
  • Although his relationships with Labour MPs were not always positive, there is no gainsaying his massive contribution to Welsh public life, and particularly in raising the profile of Wales and Welsh issues throughout his long career in Welsh and British politics.
  • Gwynfor Evans made a distinguished contribution to Welsh public life and will be remembered particularly for his advancement of the Welsh language.
  • Wales has lost one of its most significant figures of modern times. Gwynfor Evans was a highly respected figure who made a major contribution to Welsh politics. His record on delivering Welsh language broadcasting for Wales is of particular importance.
  • Gwynfor served his party well and was able to bring them into electoral success. He earned respect from across the political spectrum. His passing marks the end of a chapter in Welsh political history".
  • In some circles - though not many of them outside Wales, it must be said - Gwynfor (always Gwynfor, never just Evans) is revered in a way that comes to few public figures. To the faithful, he is something of a saint, spoken of as almost a Welsh Gandhi, a Welsh Martin Luther King, a Welsh Mandela, even a Welsh Mother Theresa. In such circles, Gwynfor is (and was) a man who could, literally, no wrong.

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