Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , JOHN OWEN ( 1857 - 1917 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister and tutor, and man of letters ;

b. 11 Jan. 1857 at Bryn-duntur , Bethesda, Caerns. He left the British School at Carneddi at the age of 12 and went to work in woollen factories at Bethesda and Clwt-y-bont and later at the Cae-braich-y-cefn quarry . In 1879 he was accepted as a preacher and after a short time at Clynnog went to Bala C.M. College in 1880 . He was one of the first students at the University College of North Wales ( 1884 ) and in 1888 graduated in the University of London with honours in philosophy. He was appointed to take charge of the elementary classes at Bala College , and when these classes were formed into a separate department in 1891 they were entrusted to E. Wynne Parry (see under Parry , Griffith ) and J.O. Jones ; when Parry d. ( 1897 ), Jones was placed in charge. He continued to hold this appointment until 1915 when, to his great disappointment, it was decided to abolish the department. He retired to Caernarvon where, in 1916 , he was a master at the County School . He d. 6 March 1917 and was buried at Caeathro .

His chief characteristic was his unremitting industry. He was a good and successful teacher , but a stern disciplinarian who did not suffer fools gladly. And, as he was no respecter of persons, he made no effort to placate the great men of his denomination, so that he was never given any office in it — he sought in vain on more than one occasion to be given a chair at Bala College . He was a substantial, but not a popular, preacher , and, in spite of his academic qualifications in that subject, it is doubtful whether philosophy was his strong point. He was much better at languages and was an excellent Latin scholar ; at Bangor it was E. V. Arnold rather than Henry Jones who left his mark on him, and this bent was confirmed by his close friendship with Hugh Williams ( 1843 - 1911 ) (q.v.) . He was a frequent contributor to the periodicals , and published commentaries on S. Luke and S. John . In Cymru (O.M.E.) , 1894-6 , he published translations of the chief Latin sources for the early history of Britain , and in 1899 these were published in book form under the title O Lygad y Ffynnon . In 1905 he published a translation ( Dilyn Crist ) of Thomas à Kempis which ran into a second edition in 1907 ; and he had from time to time been translating the Confessions of S. Augustine in the Drysorfa with a view to publishing them in book form.


  • John Pritchard , Rhamant Bywyd Athro, sef Hanes gyrfa y Parch. John Owen Jones (Bala, 1927) , 1927 ;
  • personal knowledge.


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959