Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , WILLIAM ( 1857 - 1915 ), Member of Parliament ;

b. in 1857 at Ceint Bach near Llangefni , to Richard and Alice Jones . He became pupil, and afterwards pupil-teacher , at the British school there; for two years ( 1873-5 ) at the Bangor Normal College . For a short period he was head master of the Goginan school in north Cardigan , before migrating to London to become assistant at Wallington Road in north London ( 1879-88 ). He was a member of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist church at Holloway , but was excommunicated in 1887 for (presumably) advocating too advanced opinions as Sunday school teacher . From 1888 to 1894 Oxford was his home; there he acted (it is thought) as a private tutor , and began a life-long friendship with Sir John Rhys (q.v.) . During his stay in London he became greatly interested in politics , as a Liberal , and developed into one of the most eloquent speakers, in Welsh and English , in the whole country. He was not chosen as Liberal candidate for Anglesey , though he had numerous and fervid supporters; but in 1894 he easily secured the Liberal candidature for Arvon , and in 1895 became its M.P. with a substantial majority; he retained the seat till 1915 . Very soon he became one of the most ready and effective speakers in the Commons , delivering powerful speeches on the painful controversy at Bethesda ( 1900-3 ) and on the question of disestablishment (especially in the debates of 1912 and 1914 ). He made his greatest mark in the country by the part he took in the two general elections of 1910 . Next year he became one of the Junior Lords of the Treasury , as a ‘ Whip ’ to look after the interests of Wales and the attendance of the Liberal Welsh members. Twenty-one volumes of his private papers are lodged in the library of the U.C.N.W. — by reading them one can see how wide was his range of friends, how high his ideals were, and how valiant his efforts to make those ideals workable in the lives of ordinary men. William Jones was a lovable personality, full of human kindness and given to good works, and as a politician one of the most honest and sincere in his generation. He d. at Pendyffryn , Bangor , on 9 May 1915 .

Sources:

  • Y Goleuad , July-Aug. 1887 , 14 May 1915 ;
  • Bangor Normal College for the training of teachers for British schools in Wales Report , Bangor , 1875 -6;
  • Bangor Manuscripts at University College North Wales Library, Bangor 1124 (135-69), 5446-86;
  • Y Llenor , xvi, 80-7;
  • J. Lloyd Williams , Atgofion tri chwarter canrif , Aberystwyth , iv, 25-7;
  • Y Clorianydd , 19 May 1915 ;
  • Y Geninen (Gŵyl Dewi), 1917 , 173.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959