Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , DAVID ( 1708? - 1785 ), ‘of Trefriw ’, poet, collector of manuscripts, publisher, and printer .

Little is known about his birth and early years. His father's name is given as Siôn ap Dafydd in N.L.W. MSS. 476 and 3107 , and his mother's as Jane ferch Elizabeth Rowland in B.M. Add. MS. 14888 , and Jane ferch Dafydd ap Sion in N.L.W. MS. 3107 . He m. Gwen ferch Richard ap Rhys ( N.L.W. MS. 3107 ), but the date of his marriage is uncertain; Trefriw parish records note a marriage between a David Jones and Gwenna Prichard , 27 Jan. 1734/5 .

David Jones wrote a considerable amount of verse, but did not attain great eminence as a poet . He is best known in this respect as editor of an anthology of poems entitled Blodeu Gerdd Cymry, sef Casgliad o Caniadau Cymreig gan amryw Awdwyr o'r oes ddiwaethaf , 1759 . He also edited such works as Histori Nicodemus , 1745 , an old Welsh translation of the ‘ Gospel of Nicodemus ,’ Egluryn Rhyfedd , 1750 , and Cydymaith Diddan , 1766 , the last two being miscellaneous collections of prose and verse. He was also extremely active as a collector of old Welsh manuscripts , and the fruits of his labour can be found amongst the manuscript collections of the B.M. and the N.L.W. Later in life he acquired a printing press , and set up as a printer at Trefriw . The first output of this press appeared in 1776 , the first major work being Histori yr Iesu Sanctaidd in 1776 , a Welsh translation of the ‘ History of the Holy Jesus ,’ by William Smith . He continued to print until his death on 20 Oct. 1785 . [His uncle, John Davies ( Siôn Dafydd Las , d. 1694 ) , is noticed on p. 131.]


  • Ifano Jones , A history of printing and printers in Wales to 1810, and of successive and related printers to 1923 (1925) ;
  • O. Gaianydd Williams , Dafydd Jones o Drefriw (1708-1785) (Caernarfon, 1907) ;
  • Morris Jones , Hanes Trefriw fel y bu ac fel y mae sef desgrifiad cryno o'r ardal a'r trigolion (Llanrwst, 1879) ;
  • A. O. Evans , ‘Dafydd Jones, Trefriw’ in Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society , Aug. 1937 ;
  • G. J. Williams (ed.), Llythyrau at Ddafydd Jones o DrefriwNational Library of Wales Journal, Appendix, vol. 3. no. 2., 1943) , supplement to The National Library of Wales Journal , series iii, no. 2, 1943 ;
  • The Records of the Diocese of Bangor in the National Library of Wales in N.L.W.;
  • J. H. Davies , Catalogue of Additional Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales ;
  • NLW MSS 783, 841, 843, 2039, 3107;
  • Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the years 1841–1845 (1850) , 1841-5 .


Griffith Milwyn Griffiths, M.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959