Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , JOHN ( 1772 - 1837 ), barrister, translator, and historian ;

b. at Derwydd , near Llandebie, Carms. [ 17 Aug. 1772 ]. Little is known of his early years; it is said that although his early education was scanty, he became well read in the classics. He was for some time a master at Wimbledon , having ( Sir ) Robert Peel as one of his pupils. Later he studied in Germany , subsequently receiving the degree of LL.D. at Jena University . After returning to England he applied himself to law; he was called to the Bar and went on the Oxford and South Wales circuits. For a time he was very successful but, when pleading the case of a certain poor client, he made reflections which gave great offence to the legal profession. As a result he ended his days a briefless barrister , and d. in straitened circumstances at S. James’ Street , Islington , 28 Sept. 1837 .

Jones was a good Greek scholar ; he was well read in the manuscript records of Britain and other countries, but his strong prejudices often perverted his judgements as a historian . His published works include: ( a ) Translation from the Danish of Dr. Bugge's Travels in the French Republic , 1801 ; ( b ) Y Cyfammod Newydd, yn cynnwys cyfieithiad cyffredinol y Pedair Efengyl … , 1812 (sometimes erroneously attributed to the Rev. J. Jones , 1766? - 1827 , q.v. ); ( c ) De Libellis Famosis; or the Law of Libel , 1812 ; ( d ) History of Wales , 1824 — a revised copy of the History was found among his papers after his death. He also left in manuscript form a work on ‘ The Worthies of Wales … from Cassivellaunus to the present time .’ A letter by him on Madog , the alleged Welsh discoverer of America , appeared in the Monthly Magazine in 1819 .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Enwogion Cymru. A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Welshmen (1852) ;
  • The Gentleman's Magazine , 1837 , ii, 323;
  • Notable Welshmen (1700–1900) (1908) ;
  • Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen ... from the earliest times to the present (1908) ;
  • [ Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , ii, 89;
  • Y Cymmrodor , 1951 , 95-6].


Ray Looker, (Mrs Ray Morgan), Cardiff / Rhymni

Published date: 1959