Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , THOMAS ROCYN ( 1822 - 1877 ), bonesetter ;

b. at Pen-allt-goch , near Manordivy, Pembs. , son of Thomas Jones . His father, besides farming Pen-allt-goch , was skilful in the treatment of animal diseases ; his services were much in demand in the counties of Cardigan , Carmarthen , and Pembroke . The son assisted his father and took particular interest in the veterinary practice . As his experience grew, he began to apply the knowledge which he acquired with animals to the treatment of human injuries. Gradually his success as a bonesetter increased so much that he gave up the treatment of animals .

Just at that period the industrial development of Glamorgan and Monmouth was attracting the more adventurous younger men from the country districts. He migrated to Monmouthshire and settled in Rhymney . Within a few years he had built up an extensive practice; his manipulative skill attracted patients from all over South Wales and the border counties of England . He was skilful in the treatment of fractures, dislocations, and muscle injuries . He had his own original methods of treatment although he was conversant, through reading of textbooks, with more orthodox procedures. He devised carved wooden splints with a foot-piece ; he moulded gutta percha splints for keeping the hand at rest and fully extended in cases of paralysis and severe tendon injuries; and he added wedges to inner sides of shoes for foot strain. All these belonged to his common practice at least fifty years before they became part of orthodox professional treatment. Many people affirmed that he had saved their limbs from amputation.

He m. Mary Rees , a descendant of Rhys Davies (‘ y Glun Bren ,’ q.v.) . Towards the end of his life he was presented with his portrait in oils in recognition of his many charitable services. He d. at the age of 55 on 2 April 1877 . A public monument was erected over his grave in Rhymney churchyard.

DAVID ROCYN JONES ( 1847 - 1915 ) ,

his eldest son, succeeded him in his practice. He was equally dexterous in manipulating and enjoyed as wide a reputation. He was less forceful in character than his father but he had other graces; he was a good tenor singer and was choirmaster of his church .


  • Thomas Jones , Rhymney Memories (Newtown, 1938) , 1938 ;
  • personal knowledge.


Arthur Rocyn Jones, F.R.C.S., London

Published date: 1959