Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , EVAN ( Ieuan Gwynedd ; 1820 - 1852 ), Independent minister, and journalist .

Born at Bryn Tynoriad near Dolgelley , 5 Sept. 1820 , one of the six children of Evan and Catherine Jones . In 1824 the family moved to Ty Croes , Bontnewydd , Dolgelley . He suffered from ill-health all his life and, because of this, his attendance at various schools at Brithdir , Rhyd-y-main , Llanfachreth , and Dolgelley between 1826 and 1836 was extremely erratic. In 1836 he was given an appointment by L. Williams , the Dolgelley banker , but was soon found inefficient. Between 1836 and 1839 he tried to open schools at Brithdir , Rhyd-y-main , Llanwddyn , and Pen-y-bont . He failed in every attempt because the public would not support him. He began to preach in Sardis chapel , Llanwddyn , 18 March 1838 . In May 1839 he was appointed an assistant master at the Dr. Daniel Williams school at Bangor . That lasted until Oct. the same year when he decided to become a student at the school kept by the Rev. J. Jones at Marton , Salop . When his teacher d. in Nov. 1840 , Ieuan Gwynedd took his place as minister of the local church , meanwhile continuing his studies under the Rev. T. Jones of Minsterley . In Sept. 1841 he was admitted to Brecon College where he remained for four years. In July 1845 , when his course was finished, he was ordained minister of Saron Independent chapel , Tredegar . He m. Catherine , third daughter of John Sankey of Rorrington Hall , Marton , at Marton on 11 Nov. 1845 . The only child of the marriage died in infancy, and the mother also died, 25 April 1847 .

Towards the end of 1847 he gave up his ministry at Tredegar owing to ill-health and, about the same time was compelled to refuse the secretaryship of the National Temperance Association for the same reason. In March 1848 he went to Cardiff to edit The Principality but had to resign in Sept. because he and the publisher had a difference of opinion on the question of accepting Government grants for schools. The following month he was appointed to the staff of The Standard of Freedom (publisher John Cassel ), London . There he was an editorial assistant on The Pathway , a young people's magazine, and edited Almanac y Cymru , 1849 . In Dec. 1848 he m. Rachel , fifth daughter of the Rev. Walter Lewis of Tredwstan . In Aug. 1849 he had to give up his post and return to Cardiff because of ill-health. There he undertook the editorship of Y Gymraes , under the patronage of lady Llanover , and the Adolygydd , a quarterly. Both efforts were financial failures, and within two years were taken over by D. Rees ( 1801 - 1869 ) of Llanelly who was prepared to let Ieuan Gwynedd continue as joint editor with him. Ieuan , however, d. 23 Feb. 1852 , and was buried at Groes-wen .

He wrote verse , and on several occasions competed at the eisteddfodau, but by now his poetry is little esteemed. He joined the temperance movement in 1836 , and thereafter continued to write articles and letters to various newspapers and periodicals, Welsh and English , in support of that movement. The outstanding work of his life was his defence of Welsh nonconformity against the attacks of certain clergymen , and, more particularly, against the attacks of the Education Commissioners of 1847 . His articles on this vexed question are to be found in the Shrewsbury Chronicle , Yr Amserau , The Nonconformist , John Bull , and the Monmouthshire Merlin ; some of them were republished in pamphlet form (see below). His arguments, always strongly presented, were based on a careful preliminary study of the facts; see Facts, Figures, and Statements in Illustration of the Dissent and Morality of Wales: an Appeal to the English People by Evan Jones ( London , 1849 ), and also A Vindication of the Educational and Moral Condition of Wales in reply to William Williams, Esq., Late M.P. for Coventry by Evan Jones of Tredegar ( Llandovery , 1848 ).

Sources:

  • Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen ... from the earliest times to the present , 1908 ;
  • R. O. Rees , Gweithiau barddonol a rhyddieithol Ieuan Gwynedd ei fywyd a'i lafur , Dolgellau, 1876 ;
  • Bywyd Ieuan Gwynedd ganddo ef ei hun , Clasuron Cymru, Caernarfon, 1900 ;
  • Y Geninen , March 1895 , 1, and 1920 , 113,217;
  • Y Traethodydd , 1894 (177), 1902 (420);
  • NLW MSS 1032, 2695, 2761-8.

Author:

Frank Price Jones, (1920-75), Bangor

Published date: 1959