Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HUGHES , MEGAN WATTS ( 1842 - 1907 ), vocalist ;

b. 12 Feb. 1842 at Dowlais, Glam. , whither her parents had moved from Pembrokeshire and where her father became superintendent of the Dowlais cemetery . She came into prominence when quite young as a vocalist in concerts held in the Merthyr and Aberdare districts. A local committee was formed with the object of raising funds to enable her to be trained; with assistance given after the Gwent and Morgannwg musical festival of 1863 , she was able to receive lessons from Miss Gedrych , Cardiff , and Mills , the organist at Llandaff cathedral . In 1864 she went to the Royal Academy of Music , London , where she studied under Garcia . Owing to ill-health, however, she was not able to complete the course. In 1871 she m. a London bank-official named Lloyd Hughes . Mrs. Watts Hughes , as she now was, accompanied Joseph Parry on a musical tour of North Wales . She took part twice in ‘ Orpheus ’ ( Gluck ); she also sang duets with Jenny Lind . Soon after her marriage she founded a home for necessitous and homeless boys . She wrote several hymn-tunes , some of which are included in Tonau, Salmau ac Anthemau ( David Jenkins ); of these ‘ Wilton Square ’ continues to be popular. Her anthem called ‘ Atgyfodiad ’ was published, and her song, ‘ Y Gwcw ar y Fedwen ’ continued in popularity for a long time. She invented a musical device called ‘Voice Figures,’ gave a demonstration of its use at a Royal Society meeting held in Burlington House , London , and wrote a booklet describing it.

She d. 29 Oct. 1907 and was buried in Abney Park cemetery , London ; thirty boys from her ‘home’ were at the funeral, and Madam Mary Davies (q.v.) delivered an address.

Sources:

  • Y Cerddor , Dec. 1907 ;
  • David Morgans , Music and musicians of Merthyr and district Together with a list of eisteddfodau to the year 1901 , Merthyr Tydfil, H. W. Southey & Sons, 1922 .

Author:

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

Published date: 1959