Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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THOMAS , JOHN ( 1839 - 1921 ), musician , generally known as ‘ John Thomas of Llanwrtyd ’;

b. 11 Dec. 1839 at Blaenannerch, Cards. , the son of Benjamin and Nansi Thomas . He went to a day school at Blaenannerch and to the Adpar grammar school , Newcastle Emlyn . He was apprenticed to a shopkeeper at Newcastle Emlyn but, owing to ill-health, returned to work in his father's shop, remaining at Blaenannerch till 1871 . He began to write music when he was quite young. He won prizes at the Caernarvon national eisteddfod , 1862 , for two-part songs (‘ Y Lloer ’ and ‘ Y glos loer, fugeiles lân ’) whilst his ‘ Nant y Mynydd ’ won for him the prize at the Swansea eisteddfod of 1863 . He wrote several anthems (‘ Bendigedig fyddo Arglwydd Dduw Israel ,’ ‘ Fel y brefa'r hydd ,’ and ‘ Moeswch i'r Arglwydd ’), and many hymn-tunes, of which ‘ Blaenycefn ,’ ‘ Cymod ,’ ‘ Aberporth ,’ and ‘ Ar ei ben bo'r goron ’ continue to be sung. He was also a poet ; some of his poems are given in the biography by Evan Evans , 1926 . In 1871 , he m. Anne , daughter of the family who kept the post office at Llanwrtyd , Brecknock , and he left Blaenannerch to live at Llanwrtyd . He served as music adjudicator and as conductor of hymnody festivals in many parts of Wales . In 1920 he was awarded the degree of M.A. ( honoris causa ) by the University of Wales for his services to the Welsh nation. He d. 25 Feb. 1921 and was buried in Llanwrtyd parish churchyard.

Sources:

  • Y Cerddor , April 1896 and April 1921 ;
  • Evan Evans , Cofiant John Thomas, Llanwrtyd , Caernarfon, 1926 , 1926 .

Author:

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

Published date: 1959