Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , JOHN ( Ivon ; 1820 - 1898 ), man of letters ;

b. 10 May 1820 to David and Hannah Jones , Spite , Bethel , Mynydd-bach, Cards. He obtained a little formal education from a retired exciseman and one-time pupil at Ystrad Meurig , Owen Morris , who kept school at Bethel . In 1835 , he was apprenticed to the grocery trade at Canton House , Aberystwyth . Upon his marriage in Feb. 1848 he established his own grocery business in Princess Street , removing in 1860 to Commerce House , Bridge Street , where he lived practically to the very end of his life; he also held the farm of Waun-grug near Rhydyfelin . From 1882 to 1897 he was relieving officer for the Aberystwyth Board of Guardians . He threw himself wholeheartedly into the vigorous religious, literary, and musical life which flourished in the town when he became resident in it. He was a member of the literary society which met at ‘ The Shades ,’ an inn in the upper part of Bridge Street which had been converted into a ‘temperance house’; the society was devoted to the study of Welsh grammar , the composition, reading, and criticism of poetry . Though not a musician , Ivon supported the musical movement in the town under the leadership of Edward Edwards ( Pencerdd Ceredigion ) (q.v.) by composing and translating hymns and songs , and by transcribing the musical scores of the works performed by Edwards 's choir. He was one of the founders of the ‘ Literary, Scientific, and Mechanics’ Institute ’ in the town, 21 June 1850 . He was the secretary of the National Eisteddfod held at Aberystwyth in 1865 , and was presented with a gold medal in appreciation of his outstanding contribution towards the success of the eisteddfod. Commerce House became a place of call at Aberystwyth for poets , writers , and musicians from all parts of Wales , and there is in the National Library a collection of their letters to Ivon . One of his closest friends for half a century was Daniel Silvan Evans (q.v.) , and while the latter held the chair of Welsh at the College, the two friends met every Monday evening. One of the fruits of these meetings was the joint publication of Ysten Sioned anonymously in 1882 ; the authors divulged their identity in a second edition published in 1894 . Ivon was regarded as an authority on the history of Aberystwyth and on the folklore of the district . He published gleanings and articles in Cymru (O.M.E.) , particularly from 1894 till his death. He d. 6 Sept. 1898 , and was buried on the 9th in Aberystwyth cemetery; his wife Mary (b. 3 Feb. 1823 ) d. 21 Jan. 1895 .

Sources:

  • The Cambrian News , 9 Sept. 1898 ;
  • Cymru (O.M.E.) , 1899 ;
  • NLW MS 3291.

Author:

Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959