Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , THOMAS GRUFFYDD ( Tafalaw Bencerdd ; 1832 - 1898 ), musician ,

b. 6 Jan. 1832 at The Forge , Pen-y-cae, Mon. , the son of Gruffydd and Hannah Jones . He was apprenticed as carpenter but his chief delight lay in music. He received his first lessons in music from Rosser Beynon (q.v.) . When only 16 he became precentor at Sardis , Pontypridd , of which his father was then the minister . In 1850 he began to send his compositions to eisteddfodau; at an eisteddfod held at Bethesda , Merthyr Tydfil , he won the prize (against twenty-two other competitors) for an anthem on the words ‘ Wele fy ngwas a lwydda .’ He began also to be in demand as eisteddfod adjudicator . He moved to Cardiff where in 1858 he published Y Drysorfa Gorawl , which contained anthems and choral pieces; this was a useful collection, but it involved the author in financial loss. From Cardiff he went to Kenfig Hill , and thence to Cwmavon . In 1860 he visited North Wales and stayed on as private secretary to Thomas Gee (q.v.) . He left Denbigh in 1863 for Aberdare , where he set up a printing office at which he could produce Y Gwyddonydd Cerddorol . His ‘ Gwarchae Harlech ,’ a cantata, was performed by ‘ Côr Caradog ’ (see Jones , Griffith Rhys ) in 1865 . He emigrated to the U.S.A. in 1866 , was ordained minister of a Congregational church at Slatington in 1867 , and in 1869 became teacher of the fine arts in Emporia College . He served several churches in the U.S.A. ; he d. 17 March 1898 .

Sources:

  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig , National Eisteddfod Association publication, 1890 ;
  • Y Cerddor , Dec. 1902, Jan. and Feb. 1903 ;
  • Notable Welshmen (1700–1900) , 1908

Author:

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

Published date: 1959