Brethren Archive

Edward Lawrence Bevir

Born: 2nd June 1847
Died: 29th October 1922

Death Location
Valence-sur-Rhône, France
Birth Location
Birth Location
Bloomsbury, Middlesex, England

Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:

Some Notes Collected Over the Years

Edward Lawrence Bevir (2 July 1847 - 29 Oct 1922) was the son of Edward James Bevir, (1817-1896) QC, Barrister of Lincoln’s Inn and 110 Harley Street, London and Sarah (née Sadler) who were married 11 August 1846.  ELB’s grandparents, George and Susannah (née Lawrence), were respected figures in the civic life of Cirencester, Gloucs., where ELB’s paternal uncles John and William practiced as a solicitor and surgeon respectively.

ELB was born in Bloomsbury and as a boy lived with his parents in Richmond together with two younger sisters, Sarah and Anne, and his brother Joseph Lawrence (born c. 1856; BA (Oxon) 1879).  At some stage, his tutor was the Rev. James Newland Smith, a graduate of St John’s College, Cambridge, who in 1861, was the Head Master of Carshalton College, and later was the Headmaster of Maze Hill School, Greenwich Park.[1] ELB attended Eton College (1860-62) and then was enrolled in the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich as a cadet where in July 1867 he was promoted to be a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery.

The date of his conversion is as yet uncertain, but it may have been in Malta where he served as an officer for a few years. He was attending and supporting meetings organized by Scripture readers in Valetta in 1869-70,[2] and being attracted to the ways of the Brethren he decided to abandon his military career. In 1871 he was permitted to resign his Commission with the Artillery.

He began to preach in France and Italy, supporting himself as a watchmaker (horloger) and from 1873 he corresponded every year with JND.  During the last five years of the older man’s life ELB wrote an average of eleven letters each year to JND, mainly with details of his work among Italian Brethren.  The letters are listed in a haphazard non-chronological order (together with letters from other Italian workers) in the catalogue at Manchester (CBA 5540, 418-491).  From some of these letters it appears that although his father was at first opposed to ELB’s association with Brethren, his attitude had changed by 1877.  There are indications that ELB’s father wrote a Diary which has survived but which is in private hands and remains unpublished.

ELB’s linguistic gifts were not confined to French and Italian and for some years he worked on an Italian translation of the Bible, comparable to JND’s French work, and this was published in 1891. In 1901 he published a booklet ‘shewing that Maltese is as much an Arabic dialect as any other.’  He was in Barcelona (1893) and Sweden, Denmark and Norway (1894).

In 1895 (aged 48) he married Katherine Beamish, daughter of Thomas Beamish of Hare Hill, Bandon, Co’ Cork.  She is described by Christian Maillebouis as ‘une darbyste irlandaise’ but her father Thomas Beamish appears to have been Master of the Cashelmore foxhounds from 1848-1880.[3]

ELB was a gifted poet, several of whose hymns are in use among Brethren.  From 1896 until his death in 1922 he edited Helps for the Poor of the Flock.   In 1903 he published Bible or Babylon?[4] as an answer to Babel und Bibel by the German Assyriologist, Friedrich Delitzsch (who should not be confused with his evangelical father Franz Delitzsch).

In his later years ELB pursued a variety of scholarly interests. From 1904 he was a Member of the Royal Asiatic Society and in 1906 he was elected as a member of the Society of Arts.  In Robert Holmes Edleston’s Napoleon III and Italy (Darlington 1908), Bevir’s help with proofreading is acknowledged.  For most of his life his home was in Valence-sur-Rhône in Southern France where he died in 1922.

Timothy C F Stunt

January 2018

[1]     J. Newland Smith published two works on the need to reform the dating of Easter in the calendar (see W.T Lynn, ‘Styles of the Calendar and the observance of Easter,’ in Companion to the [British] Almanac for 1882, p.8) This topic may have been the occasion of his letter to ELB advising him, in 1878, on a point of horology but also indicating his disapproval of Bevir's evangelising work in France. (CBA, JND/5/12: 151)

[2]      British Flag and Christian Sentinel (Feb 1870) p.44

[3]      C. Maillebouis, Influences darbystes au Mazet-Saint-Voy, dans la deuxième moitié du xixe siècle, (Le Puy en Velay : Les Cahiers de la Haute-Loire, 2003); Muriel Bowen, Irish hunting  (Tralee : Kerrryman, 1955)  18-19, 213.

[4]      Neither this nor the earlier work, arguing that Maltese is an Arabic dialect, are in the CBA collection in Manchester, but they are in the holdings of the British Library

Spiritual Songsters Biography

E.L. Bevir's three hymns in 'Spiritual Songs' were well known to the users of the 1903 edition of the Little Flock hymnbook.

No.386 "Where glory lights the courts on high" was, and is, often sung when brethren are gathered to remember the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread. The path of worth, the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus are important features of the hymn, culminating with the anticipation of the Lord's return for His bride in the last two verses.

No. 468 "O Lord of Glory who couldst leave" was, and is, equally popular at the Lord's Supper. No better sentiments could be expressed in song than the extolling of the love of the Lord of Glory that led Him into death, and to view Him now where He is, the Man of Triumph entered into His glory.

No. 492. "We seek the things that are above" is perhaps not so well known but it expresses the aspirations of those who appreciate heavenly blessings.

These three hymns by E.L. Bevir are found in a book of poems bearing his name. The preface to the book is of some interest: "The beloved writer of these poems was called home on 29th. October 1922 at Valence-sur-Rhône, France, where he had lived and laboured for many years. The verses were written in the course of a long life of devoted service, spent chiefly in Italy and France, and cover a period of nearly half a century. Much might be said of the classic excellence and literary finish; but that which will appeal more directly to the heart of every Christian reader is their spirit of deep piety, fervent appreciation of the Person of Christ, conscious knowledge of the new heavenly position and relationships, and high anticipation of the Lord's return and coming glories.

"Many of the poems have already appeared in various magazines, whilst two or three small selections have been published at intervals. The present collection has been made as complete as possible, and is sent out with the earnest desire that God may graciously use it for the cheer, solace and encouragement of His people everywhere". The book is named simply "Poems. E. L. Bevir" and was obtainable from Charles Leflaive, Southfield House, Willow Tree Road, Altrincham. The printer was Morrisen and Gibb, Ltd. Edinburgh.

E.L. Bevir, for many years, was the editor of the magazine "Helps for the Poor of the Flock" to which he contributed many interesting articles. Two examples of his poems are presented here:

To Thee — alone 
Dwelling in uncreated light, — 
Who wast unknown, 
Immortal Being beyond sight, — 
Honour and everlasting might. 
Yet though our eyes 
May not behold Thy Deity, 
(So broadly lies 
The gulf between all else and Thee) 
We Thine unmeasured glories see. 
In Him revealed 
Thy counsel, ere the world began; 
Naught is concealed, 
O God, of all the wondrous plan 
Divine affection in a Man! 
Thy Potentate, 
The Lord of lords and sov'reign King 
Shall reign in state. 
All nations shall His virtue sing, 
To Him their gifts and treasures bring! 

(There are three verses omitted.) 

Voice of the truth is dumb, 
Lukewarm is Christendom, 
The latter days have come, 
Wake then, O sleeper! 
Faith, once so clear and bright, 
Like an expiring light 
Dies, and the shades of night 
Seem to grow deeper! 

Doctrines of earth and hell, 
Balaam and Jezebel; — 
Who shall the deepness tell 
Of the deceiver? 
Surely, as with a pall, 
Shadows come over all; 
Wake, ere the judgment fall, 
Wake, O believer! 

Wake! ere thy love grow cold 
Buy of Him precious gold 
Prized by the saints of old; 
Buy of Him vesture, 
Garments of purest white, 
Salve, to correct Thy sight, 
So to discern aright 
Truth from imposture. 

Not to deny Thy Name! 
Not to forget Thy claim! 
Jesus our Lord! The same 
Now and for ever! 
Oh! give us grace to stand 
Till time's last grain of sand 
Fall, and Thy potent hand 
Us from earth sever. 


E.L.Bevir wrote two poems in which He extolled the Son of God eternal: "Hail to the Saviour, Son of God Eternal" and "Hear the words of life eternal, spoken by the Eternal Son".

Rodger said ...
Thanks for the notes, Timothy! It would be nice to see a copy of "Bible or Babylon?"
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 : 12:07
Tom said ...
Yes .. the British Library copy is listed as "Microfilm. Made from a copy in the Bodleian Library" so wont be possible to go and photocopy that sadly .. hopefully it will make it onto Google Books one day. Its only 25 pages.
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 : 16:08
Guy said ...

After the death of his wife, E.L. Bevir wrote the following elegy in June, 1900, introducing it with the words,

“Put to sleep by Jesus”
She used to sing me to sleep to an old Erse “Hushoo”.
Here it is, to her, metre preserved.

At little Kay’s grave

Hushoo! Hushoo! my little Kay, Hushoo!
Soft be thy sleep and rest!
Beneath the cypress and the dark green yew
Slumber among the Blest!
Ended thy toil, endless repose thy due.
Hushoo! Hushoo! my little Kay, Hushoo!

Sweet was the look of rest upon her face
When she was laid in mould!
The active eager soul had run the race
Too swiftly to grow old!
The tiny athlete ran her course apace
Swift steps and sure, and full of many a grace!

“Asleep in Jesus!” Lonely must I wait
The resurrection morn.
Naught shall console, till that bright day, sweet Kate
My widowed heart, forlorn.
What shall I do without thee, peerless mate,
But labour for that Day, early and late.

Hushoo! Hushoo! my little Kay, Hushoo!
Soft be thy peaceful rest!
The west wind sighs, and stirs the dark green yew
So sighs my troubled breast.
Than thee ne’er lived nor loved a heart more true.
Hushoo! Hushoo! my little Kay, Hushoo!
Friday, Nov 24, 2023 : 05:14
Rodger said ...
Beautiful. Bevir was one of the greater poets among “brethren.”

Where did you find this poem and anecdote?
Friday, Nov 24, 2023 : 07:39
Syd said ...
Indeed, it is very touching and shows his gentle spirit. I have his little book, “Poems,” which is over 100 years old.

Does “hushoo” mean a Gaelic style lullaby? It’s close to “khushoo” which is an Islamic practice, referring to calmness, serenity, tranquility, etc.

The last poem in the book was found on his desk after his departure.


Dim are this age’s closing hours,
The landscape fades;
Impending judgement sternly lowers
In ever-darkening shades.

Thou brilliant Sun of Righteousness!
We seem to see
The morn when Thine all-piercing rays
Shall fill immensity.

O Lord! whom though unseen our heart
Now loves, in grace,
We soon shall, in our perfect part,
Behold Thy glorious face.

Yet may our grateful tribute be
To Thy great name;
Thou barest all the agony,
The bitter cross, the shame.

And soon the many waters’ voice
Shall loud be heard,
Whilst all, as heaven and earth rejoice,
Proclaim Thee as “The Word.” (Rev xix.13)
Saturday, Nov 25, 2023 : 01:24
Guy said ...

To Dr Stunt sincere thanks is given for leading, from the recent reading of his ‘Notes’ on E.L. Bevir, to the identity of ‘Little Kay’.

E.L. Bevir, when breaking bread in a town at a distance from Valence, was a house guest in the family of an elderly sister who, like E.L.B., had been widowed after a very short marriage and who, like his late wife, came from the country which, I believe, is now called Éire. The elegy was enclosed with a letter to a member of this family in the south of France. As the next and final generation seemed to have no interest in retaining the verses, it was passed to a friend in England, travelled further, and hence to this household. As E.L.B. made no mention of his wife in this correspondence, the identity of ‘Little Kay’ was not known. (See above.)
Saturday, Nov 25, 2023 : 04:41
Kappa said ...

Copied from a thin, faded sheet of paper, in the handwriting of one not identified; provenance unknown.

Letter dictated by F.E.R. to E.L. Bevir

10 Croom’s Hill
Greenwich, S.E.
July 11th, 1903.

My dear Brother,

In spite of what you say, I feel that I must send you a line in reply to your kind letter. I am very glad of your allusions to your conversations with Mr. Darby on the subject of death. It is a curious thing that before I was taken ill the question had been raised in my mind as to how far I was prepared to face it. In my condition of extreme weakness, it has come more definitely before me and though I feel the painfulness in some respects of the ‘articulus mortis’, it is a great thing to know that the Lord waits on the other side, having Himself become dead, but alive for evermore. The true ark of the covenant is the other side of Jordan, and with it the whole range and extent of divine purpose of which He is the centre. One can look at these things a little more distinctly , when the mind is less distracted by hopes and expectations connected with this life, and then in regard to all that might be an anxiety , the goodness of God endureth continually. It would be an impossibility to me to come down to the level of the scientific men who conceive that God has simply given birth to natural laws and can have no particular concern in His poor but intelligent creatures who love Him. Very glad to have tidings of you and your work. I trust that you may be abundantly prospered in every way.

With love in the Lord,

Believe me,

Your affectionate brother,

F. E. Raven.

(Died August 16, 1903.)
Sunday, Nov 26, 2023 : 06:05
Syd said ...
What a lovely letter of FER to E.L. Bevir! He speaks of the impending “articulus mortis,” as does Mr Darby to his beloved brother, fellow-labourer and -servant, ELB, in his letter of July 1881—" I have been in sight of death, so to speak, and it was a useful experience as realising things; but I am a great deal better, though broken in physical strength, thank God not in mind. I find my service of God poor, as in me it all has been, and Christ indeed now everything.” Mr Darby would “cross the Jordan” less than a year later.
Sunday, Nov 26, 2023 : 15:43
Mark Best said ...

The letter you refer to, but with some variations to the wording, appears in the "Letters of F. E. Raven, New Series" on pages 209 to 210.

I regard it a beautiful letter especially, where in the volume of his letters, he writes, "It is precious to know that the Lord awaits us on the other side, having died Himself but now alive again for ever."

What an encouragement! To have such a prospect before us, and not only that, but the Lord coming to the air, the Rapture, to receive us to be forever with Himself. John 14 verse 3. 1 Thess. 4 verses 13 to 18. And His desire towards us too. John 17 verse 24.
Sunday, Nov 26, 2023 : 17:30
Hiereus said ...

E. L. Bevir, when a young man, once asked G. V. Wigram's advice as to a secular project. The latter answered in his laconic way : — No one, but the Spirit of God, has a right to say to me "go near and join thyself to this chariot." That cast the young man back on God with the result that he did not join and shortly afterwards the project failed!

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2023 : 22:44
Kappa said ...

Following from Brother Hiereus on G.V.W. to E.L.B., below is an unpublished letter from the former; recipient and provenance unknown.


My dear Sister in the Lord,

I took my stand 41 years ago - “in future to please the Lord and no else”: my motto.

That my heart has been fully intelligent in His mind - or that my loins have been girded up always - I do not pretend, but Lo! I come to do Thy will has been my aim, and every secondary object, every inferior motive, when I now look back to any association with the world is my sorrow and my shame. A child of resurrection, a heavenly man, a member of that body whose head is Christ - no walk lower than His own can satisfy me.

I think you will see from this that my standard is to do what Christ did and to do nothing but what He did as to walk down here.

Written under pressure - but may add a line hereafter.

Most aff’y in Him,

G.V. Wigram.
Monday, Dec 11, 2023 : 05:59
Syd said ...

Note [1] under Bevir’s biography, referring to—W.T Lynn, ‘Styles of the Calendar and the observance of Easter,’ in Companion to the [British] Almanac for 1882—has interesting notes on the preferred day of Easter, in the aftermath of the decree of “the Council of Nicaea that Easter was to be always observed on the Sunday following the Paschal full moon, which full moon was, according to the Jewish chronology, the first after the vernal equinox.”

Mr Lynn says that, “when all is done, the extremely inconvenient result still remains that the anniversary of the great Easter festival wanders about in the most intricate and apparently capricious manner between the 22nd of March and the 25th of April,” and that “The most probable date of the first Easter Day is the 9th of April, A.D. 30.”

Sir Robert Anderson, in his The Coming Prince also had his work cut out for him in calculating Daniel’s 69 weeks, “unto the Messiah the Prince,” which was just before the Passover (“Easter”?), the night in which the Lord was betrayed.

This was not the “Easter” of Acts 12:4 that had Herod occupied, which was a pagan day, following the days of unleavened bread. As most know, only the KJV translates pascha there as “Easter” and not Passover.

Friday, Mar 15, 2024 : 01:57

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