Evans, Elizabeth Ann (née Tomlinson)

Born at Newbold, Leics., from her early '20s she travelled widely from her home in Nottingham, relying on local hospitality for her support as a preacher. Featuring as 'Dinah Morris' in her niece George Eliot's Adam Bede, she was a staunch defender of revivalism and female ministry. With Mary Taft, she was the focus of the contention in WM over women preachers. She gained wide attention through her ministry to the condemned child killer Mary Voce in Nottingham (who is depicted as Mary Voce in Adam Bede). Living by lace repairing, she preached widely in the Midlands, where she and her husband Samuel Evans (1777-1858) established several societies. She also worked in camp meetings with Hugh Bourne. She was closely associated with Elizabeth Fry and other leading evangelical and Quaker women.

  • Z. Taft, Biographical Sketches of... Various Holy Women, vol. 1 (1825) pp. 145-58
  • L.F. Church, More about the Early Methodist People (1949) pp.159-63
  • Geoffrey Milburn and Margaret Batty (eds.), Workaday Preachers: The story of Methodist Local Preaching (1995), pp.191-200
  • W. Parkes in P. Taylor (ed.), Wesley Pieces (1996) pp.9-15