Devoted Warden of Manor Hall, historian and geologist.
Dr Martin John Crossley Evans MBE, JP was brought up in the Wirral, Cheshire, and was from a young age a remarkable person. He could name between fifty and 100 flowers by the age of five, many of them in Latin. He saw a Bible in the Post Office window when he was five and asked to be given it as a present for his sixth birthday, even though he still could not read. He was educated at Wellington Independent Grammar School, in Bebington, and then studied for a degree in Geology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol.
Following graduation, he trained as a teacher, in Geography and Geology, at the University of Keele. He was an assistant master for a term at Shrewsbury School, and then an assistant master and house tutor at Gresham’s School, Norfolk.
[Left] Portrait of Martin Crossley Evans by Laurence Kell, which hangs in Manor Hall, Bristol.
In 1982, Martin returned to Bristol to read for a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History. His Ph.D. thesis occupied 968 pages in three volumes with 5,500 footnotes. He had to submit three copies for examination and needed a wheelbarrow to deliver them.
In 1984 he became the youngest warden in the history of the University when he was appointed, at the age of 26, to Manor Hall and Sinclair House, where he remained for some thirty years. It was in this role that he had the most profound and lasting influence on a great many young minds at a critical stage in their growth and development. As Warden, he was always available for his students at any time of the day or night, cooking at Christmas for those who were unable to return home for various reasons.
He wrote many articles on the educational and ecclesiastical history of Cheshire, Lancashire, Norfolk and Bristol. In 2010, he edited a book entitled A Grand City, about 18th and 19th century Bristol, and wrote about Hannah Moore, the history of Wills Hall, and a history of Gresham’s School. He was awarded an MBE in 2001 for his ‘services to higher education’; this was mainly for his work in pastoral care at the University.
Obituary, The Times; read it here.
Obituary, Provincial Grand Lodge of Bristol; read it here.