Dictionary of Welsh Biography

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

JONES , ROWLAND ( 1722 - 1774 ), philologist ;

christened at Llannor in 1722 , son of John Williams , Bachellyn , Llanbedrog, Caerns. , a prosperous farmer and an able lawyer , with his office at Bachellyn . The son was educated at Llannor school and afterwards at Botwnnog Grammar School , and was trained in law at his father's office. Early in life he moved to London , where he practised as a solicitor for some years but [ 26 Oct. 1751 ] was admitted a member of the Inner Temple . There he m. a rich woman, and they had three children, two daughters and one son. By inheriting his father's estate and by marriage, Rowland Jones became a very rich man and acquired an estate known as Y Weirglodd Fawr ( Broom Hall ) in the parish of Aber-erch, Caerns. His son, Rowland Jones , d. without issue 2 Dec. 1856 , and the estate was inherited by his nephew, William Jones , Ysgubor Hen , Eifionydd . In 1859 there was a lawsuit in Chancery contesting the claim of the family of William Jones to the estate of Broom Hall ; an attempt was made to prove that Rowland Jones was the son of William Jones , Crugan , near Llanbedrog , and not the son of John Williams , Bachellyn .

In his day, Rowland Jones was regarded as an eminent scholar and philologist . He was well versed in languages, especially Latin and Greek , and he wrote several books on philology . In The Origin of Language and Nations , 1764 , he propounded a theory that all words could be derived from monosyllabic roots, and that the primeval language was Celtic ; in his lexical works he derives English , Latin , Greek , and Welsh words from one common Celtic source. He exercised a great influence on the linguistic theories of William Owen Pughe (q.v.) , especially on his dictionary.

He published the following books: (1) The Origin of Languages and Nations, Hieroglyfically, Etymologically, and Topographically defined and fixed, after the Method of an English, Celtic, Greek, and Latin English Lexicon , 1764 : (2) Hieroglyphic, or a Grammatical Introduction to an Universal Hieroglyfic Language, consisting of English signs and voices , 1768 ; (3) The Philosophy of words in two dialogues between the Author and Crito , 1769 ; (4) The Circles of Gomer, or, an Essay towards an Investigation and Introduction of the English as an Universal Language , 1771 ; (5) The 10 Triads; or the Tenth Muse, wherein the origin, nature, and connection of the Sacred Symbols, Sounds, Words, Ideas are discovered , 1773 .


  • Enwogion Sir Gaernarfon (1922) , 207-9;
  • Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen ... from the earliest times to the present (1908) ;
  • Y Brython , I, i, 20;
  • Cambrian Bibliography (Llanidloes, 1869) ;
  • Bye–Gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties , 1897 , 68;
  • Y Drych newyddiadur cenedlaethol Cymry America , 23 May 1857 ;
  • Yr Herald Cymraeg (a'r Genedl) , 1856 -7;
  • Baner ac Amserau Cymru , 1 April 1857 ;
  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (1914) , 331;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • [ Y Cymmrodor , 1951 , 103-4].


William Rowlands, M.A., Porthmadog

[ Mr. P.H. Lawson queries 1722 as Jones 's birth-year. He points out that Jones was admitted as attorney (from Symonds Inn ) on 27 Nov. 1741 , and that he must have been then more than 19. Further, his grandfather's will ( 15 Oct. 1724 ) includes him in a sequence of four grandsons, William , Rowland , John , and Owen William was christened in April 1715 , and John in Aug. 1720 ; a sister of theirs was christened in Sept. 1718 , and the fourth brother, Owen , in June 1722 . Mr. Lawson conjectures that Rowland Jones was b. about Dec. 1716 . It may be added that Myrddin Fardd ( Enwogion , p. 209) makes Jones 57 (not 52, as in D.N.B. ) at the time of his death — the date is variously given as ‘early’ and ‘late’ in that year.]


Published date: 1959