Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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DAVIES , JOHN ( 1787 - 1855 ), stone-mason and composer ;

b. at Banwen , Morriston, Glam. , 13 Nov. 1787 . As a boy he enjoyed the advantages of an education and became a good scholar . When he was 14 years of age a Londoner who lodged at his home taught him to play the dulcimer . He was a stone-mason by trade and, when his day's work was done, used to carve tombstones by night. He m. at the age of 24 and built himself a house at Treboeth near Swansea . At the age of 30 he began to study music and became a competent musician . He wrote many anthems and hymn-tunes . The tune which appears in Welsh hymnals under the name ‘ Gethsemane ,’ 9-8 (arranged by R. H. Pritchard of Bala (q.v.) in 8-beat), first appeared in Lleuad yr Oes , June 1827 . Other tunes composed by him are found in Haleliwia Drachefn , Llwybrau Moliant , and Y Caniedydd Cynulleidfaol ; these show that he had musical ability. He d. 27 April 1855 at Llanelly and was buried in Mynydd-bach cemetery.


  • Cronicl y Cerddor (Treherbert) , June 1883 ;
  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig (1890) ;
  • Y Cerddor , Oct. 1890 ;
  • Rhestr gyda nodiadau byrion, o Enwogion Cymreig o 1700 i 1900 (1908) .


Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Published date: 1959