Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ELLIS , JOHN ( 1760 - 1839 ), saddler and musician .

B. at Ty'n-y-gwernannau , parish of Llangwm, Denbs. His chr. is recorded as follows: ‘Baptized Nov. 8. 1760 , John , twin brother of Jane ; Parents names, William and Jane Ellis , Ty'n-y-gwernannau ; David Lloyd , Rector .’ He showed an interest in music when quite young and learnt to play the flute . He was apprenticed to a saddler and after he had served his apprenticeship and had m. he opened a shop in Scotland Street , Llanrwst . In 1800 he joined the Calvinistic Methodists and he was appointed travelling teacher of congregational singing . He published, 1816 , Mawl yr Arglwydd — this being the first book of hymn-tunes which the Welsh nation was given. After publishing this book he moved to Llanfyllin and thence to Liverpool c. 1822 , where he became precentor in Pall Mall chapel . In 1827 he became a member of Bedford Street chapel , where again he was made precentor . He composed several anthems — ‘ Molwch yr Arglwydd ,’ ‘ Duw yn ddiau a glybu ,’ and ‘ Cân Moses ’ are included in Y Gyfres Gerddorol , arranged by Owain Alaw . His hymn-tune ‘ Eliot ,’ 9.8, appeared under the title ‘ Hill Street ’ in Y Dysgedydd , Jan. 1822 , and continues to be popular. At Liverpool he became a coal-merchant , but prospered little in the material sense. He d. 31 Jan. 1839 and was buried in the English Wesleyans ' burial ground in Stanhope Street , Liverpool .

Sources:

  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig , National Eisteddfod Association publication, 1890 ;
  • Y Cerddor , May 1889 ;
  • Geirlyfr Bywgraffiadol o Enwogion Cymru , 1870 ;
  • Rhestr gyda nodiadau byrion, o Enwogion Cymreig o 1700 i 1900 , National Eisteddfod Association, 1908 ;
  • Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , May 1928 ;
  • R. D. Griffith , Hanes canu cynulleidfaol Cymru , Cardiff, 1948 ;
  • Y Gwyddoniadur Cymreig , 1889-96 (2nd ed.), iv, 631e,
  • J. Hughes Morris , Hanes Methodistiaeth Liverpool , Liverpool, 1929-1932 , i, 230-1.

Authors:

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

Huw Williams, (1922-2002), Bangor / Prestatyn

Published date: 1959