Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PARRY , JOHN (‘ The Blind Harpist ’; 1710? - 1782 ), of Ruabon ;

b. at Bryn Cynan , near Nevin, Caerns. , c. 1710 . Thomas Price ( Carnhuanawc , q.v.) says that his harp teacher was Robert Parry , Llanllyfni, Caerns. ; Edward Jones ( Bardd y Brenin , q.v.) says that he received lessons from Stephen Shôn Jones , Penrhyndeudraeth . He became one of the best harpists in the kingdom and took part at concerts given in London , Cambridge , Oxford , and Dublin . He was family harpist at Wynnstay , Denbighshire , the home of the Williams Wynn family . His greatest service to Wales was rendered by his three publications: (a) Antient British Music , 1742 (in the preparation of this work he was assisted by Evan Williams (b. 1706 ) (q.v.) ; (b) A Collection of Welsh, English, and Scotch Airs , 1761 ; and (c) British Harmony, being a Collection of Antient Welsh Airs , 1781 . He d. in 1782 — in Nov. according to the Gentleman's Magazine , but in Oct. according to Edward Jones ( Musical and Poetical Relics … ). It is believed that he was buried in Ruabon churchyard.

Sources:

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • R. Griffith , Llyfr Cerdd Dannau , 1913 ;
  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig , National Eisteddfod Association publication, 1890 ;
  • Groves , Groves’ Dictionary of Music and Musicians , 4th ed., 1940 ;
  • J. Lloyd Williams , Y tri thelynor arloeswyr cerddorol Cymru yn y ddeunawfed ganrif , 1945 ;
  • Y Cerddor , Sept. 1889.

Author:

Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Published date: 1959