Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , JOHN (‘ Leander ’) ( 1575 - 1636 ), Benedictine monk and scholar ;

b. at Llanfrynach , Brecknock , probably son of Thomas ap John of Tŷ Mawr , and Janet his wife. Brought up as a Protestant , he proceeded in 1591 from Merchant Taylors ’ to S. John's College , Oxford , of which he was elected a Fellow in 1593 . On account of his Romanist leanings he was deprived of his Fellowship in 1595-6 , and left Oxford to study theology with the Jesuits at Valladolid , having in the meantime been received into the Roman Catholic Church . There, in Oct. 1599 , he joined the Benedictine Order , taking the name ‘ Leander a Sancto Marino .’ A doctor in divinity of the University of Salamanca , a brilliant scholar , and a great Oriental linguist , his advancement within the Order was rapid, and from 1619 to 1621 he officiated as the first President General of the English Benedictines . Early in 1634 he came to England under safe conduct to discuss with archbishop Laud the question of the reunion of the Anglican and Roman churches . He d. in London 17 Dec. 1636 , and was buried in the Chapel Royal , Somerset House .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and authorities cited therein;
  • T. P. Ellis , The Welsh Benedictines of the terror (Newtown, 1936) , 35-42, 132-43, and The Catholic Martyrs of Wales, 1535-1680 , 178;
  • G. Albion , Charles I and the Court of Rome A study in 17th century diplomacy (London, 1935) , 145-7.


Emyr Gwynne Jones, M.A., (1911-72), Bangor

Published date: 1959