Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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JONES , JOHN ( Myrddin Fardd ; 1836 - 1921 ), writer, antiquary, and collector of old letters and manuscripts ; b. on a small homestead called Tan-y-ffordd , in the parish of Llangïan , Llŷn, Caerns. , son of John and Ann Owen . They had five children, three daughters and two sons, namely Owen Jones ( Manoethwy ) (q.v.) and > John Jones ( Myrddin Fardd ). He m. Ann Jones of the Ynys neighbourhood, Eifionydd , and their son was the musician Owen Gough Jones , who was organist of one of the Birmingham churches. Myrddin Fardd received his elementary education at Foel-gron school , Mynytho , and was later apprenticed in the Plas-hen smithy , Llanystumdwy . He subsequently worked as a blacksmith in various quarries in Caernarvonshire and Merioneth , and then in Pandy smithy , Chwilog , where he spent the greater part of his life. In his early days he took a great interest in poetry and in 1872 won £5 and a medal for a memorial to David Williams of Castell Deudraeth (see under Williams family of Bron Eryri ); this was in the Eryri eisteddfod . In 1861 he made a bid for the chair at the national eisteddfod held at Conway with an awdl , ‘ Mynyddoedd Eryri ,’ but the prize was won by Gwilym Cowlyd with Myrddin second. In the national eisteddfod held at Caernarvon in 1877 he won a prize for his work ‘ Enwogion Sir Gaernarfon ’, which was published in 1922 .

He was a diligent researcher : he examined many parish registers and walked hundreds of miles to hunt out inscriptions on tombstones and in churches. He also visited libraries such as the one at Peniarth in order to copy the manuscripts and chronicles of different localities; many of these copies were made over to principal J. H. Davies of Aberystwyth and to Edward Breese of Portmadoc (qq.v.). Most of his manuscripts and collections of letters are in the N.L.W. at Aberystwyth . He rendered great help to Welsh scholars and men of letters towards the end of the 19th cent. and beginning of the 20th. He also contributed many valuable articles to the Brython ( Tremadoc ), 1858-63 ; Golud yr Oes , 1866 , etc.; Yr Haul , 1866-76 ; Y Drysorfa , 1885-90 ; Llais Rhyddid ; Cymru (O.M.E.) ; Y Llenor (O.M.E.); and Wales (O.M.E.).

He published the following books, mostly at his own expense: Golygawd o Ben Carreg yr Ymbill , 1858 ; Awdl Mynyddoedd Eryri , 1862 ; Bywyd a Gwaith Ieuan Lleyn , 1878 ; Adgof Uwch Anghof , 1883 ; Gwaith Owain Gruffydd , 1895 ; Cofiant Dewi Wyn , 1902 ; Gleanings from God's Acre , 1903 ; Cynfeirdd Lleyn , 1905 ; Gwerin Eiriau Sir Gaernarfon , 1907 ; Llen Gwerin Sir Gaernarfon , 1908 ; Gwaith Owain Lleyn , 1909 ; and Enwau Lleoedd Sir Gaernarfon , 1913 . In 1922 , after his death, his Enwogion Sir Gaernarfon was published. Towards the end of his life he was given a civil list pension as a tribute to his great contribution to Welsh literature. He d. at Chwilog 27 July 1921 at the age of 85 and was buried in Chwilog cemetery.

Bibliography:

  • Y Geninen , 1922 , 196-8;
  • Robert Evans (Cybi) , John Jones (Myrddin Fardd) 1837-1921 , Llandysul, 1945 ;
  • Myrddin Fardd Manuscripts in the J. H. Davies Collection at the National Library of Wales in N.L.W. (J. H. Davies collection);
  • Mr. Robert Owen 's recollections.

Author:

William Rowlands, M.A., Porthmadog