Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , JOSEPH DAVID ( 1827 - 1870 ), schoolmaster and musician ;

b. in 1827 at Bryncrugog , parish of Llanfair Caereinion, Mont. , the son of Joseph and Catherine Jones . The father, a weaver , was also a Wesleyan preacher . When he was 14 he began, much against his father's wishes, to attend a singing class which was held at Dolannog , about two miles from his home. The family moved to Pant-gwyn , near Llanfair Caereinion , where the son was able to get better musical facilities. He was given a ’cello which he learned to play fairly well. He began to compose hymn-tunes , and before he was 20 he published Y Perganiedydd , containing hymn-tunes; the venture proved a financial success. After the death of his mother he went to Towyn, Mer. , to look after a fellow-pupil who was in ill-health. At the request of a number of friends he opened a school at Towyn . He also taught music and conducted evening classes in that subject at Towyn , Bryn-crug , Llanegryn , and Aberdovey . After a six months’ course at the Borough Road training college , London , he was appointed ( Oct. 1851 ) master of the British School , Towyn . In 1865 he gave up his British School post and opened a private grammar school at Clwyd Bank , Ruthin .

J. D. Jones gave excellent service to music in Wales . He won the prize at the Bethesda eisteddfod , 1853 , for his anthem, ‘ Ymddyrcha, O Dduw ’; he won several prizes at various other eisteddfodau also. He wrote numerous songs, anthems, and hymn-tunes . He published Y Cerub (anthems and hymn-tunes), Cydymaith y Cerddor , Y Delyn Gymreig , Caniadau Bethlehem , and Alawon y Bryniau (the publication of the last-named work had a somewhat remarkable effect — musical Wales was weaned from the music of the 18th cent. ballads and the way prepared for it to appreciate the songs composed by Joseph Parry , R. S. Hughes , and William Davies (qq.v.)); a volume of anthems, and a cantata (‘ Llys Arthur ’). With Edward Stephen ( Tanymarian , q.v.) he edited Llyfr Tonau ac Emynau , Jones being responsible for the greater part of the work of collecting, selecting, and harmonizing the hymn-tunes ; the two editors published a collection of chants also ( 1868 ). He arranged and edited a collection of hymn-tunes for the use of the Welsh Wesleyan body, this work being published in 1872 . His hymn-tune ‘ Capel y Ddôl continues to be very popular. He d. 17 Sept. 1870 and was buried in the Baptists ’ burial ground, Ruthin.


  • Y Gwyddoniadur Cymreig (1889-96) , x, 624;
  • Y Cerddor , 1870 (78, 85), 1893 (March and May), 1910 (April);
  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig (1890) ;
  • [ NLW MSS 7340, 8294-6, 9497].


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

Corrections and additions:


He m. Catherine Daniel in 1860 . See Three Score Years and Ten , by his son.


Published date: 1959