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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Bridget Bevan

b. 1698, Llannewydd, Carmarthenshire, Wales; d. 1779, Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales

Bridget Bevan, daughter of philanthropist John Vaughan, married Arthur Bevan in 1721; her husband served as a member of Parliament (1727–41), and the Bevans were prominent members of society. Bridget inherited her father’s interest in philanthropy and, in 1731, joined forces with Griffith Jones, a local preacher, to establish an experimental school in Llanddowror, Carmarthenshire, Wales. From this developed the Circulating Welsh Charity School system, which fostered education for children and adults throughout Wales. When Jones died in 1761, Bevan assumed management of the project. She left her wealth to the schools, but relatives disputed her will and won the case, effectively ending the system of circulating schools that she had founded.