Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , JOSEPH ( 1787? - 1856 ), mine steward, and eisteddfodwr .

Son of Jacob Jones, gardener (‘Jacob Glochydd’) and his wife Martha, baptised in Amlwch 27 December 1786.

In the twenties he was an important official at the Parys copper mines , especially at the smelting works, but so refractory was his manner and so ambitious his ideas that he failed to cooperate with other important officials like James Treweek and Thomas Beer ; before 1830 he had ceased connection with Parys . For a short while he was a flour merchant at Melin Adda , near Amlwch , before being appointed by the second Thomas Assheton Smith of Vaynol as overseer of his copper mines at Drws-y-coed and Llanberis ( 1835-1840 ); in Slater's Directory for 1844 he is described as ‘ mine agent ’ on his own. There is no doubt whatsoever about the ability and expert knowledge of Joseph Jones ; his script was neat and most compact; he could draft coherent and convincing memoranda.

As a prominent Churchman and high Tory he was in the forefront of public life at Caernarvon under the old order before the reform of the corporations in 1835 ; he and his son Jonathan were among the most fervent and effective supporters of the Tory W. Bulkeley Hughes in the fierce Boroughs election of 1837 .

He had a big reputation as a literary man and antiquary , though it is difficult by today to discern on what grounds such a belief was founded, apart from some few English rhymes of his that have survived in local newspapers. However, it was he, with Eben Fardd and John Richards ( 1795 - 1864 ) , who was asked to adjudicate on the awdl at the Aberffraw Eisteddfod of 1849 ; the two of them turned the scales against Eben , and Nicander was chaired in preference to Emrys , a verdict that led to a long war in the newspapers, a verdict also that has been universally condemned by later critics.

Joseph Jones died on 23 March 1856 , and was buried at Amlwch on the 28th , Nicander officiating.

Sources:

  • R. Môn Williams , Enwogion Môn / Anglesey worthies , 1770 , 50;
  • Figaro in Wales , Bangor, 1835-36, 1843 ;
  • Wales, a National Magazine for the English speaking parts of Wales , iii, 189, 420;
  • Mona Mine records (U.C.N.W.), 155, 801-6, 897, 1590, 2296-441;
  • Vaynol Manuscripts at the University of North Wales, Bangor (U.C.N.W.) 267, 270;
  • Transactions of the Aberffraw Royal Eisteddfod, 1849 including the successful poetical composition, and the essay on the principles and laws of Welsh and English syntax , Bangor, 1850 , xxix-xxx;
  • information from the vicar of Amlwch;
  • information from Aled Williams.

Author:

Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959