Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , OWEN ( 1774 - after 1827 ), musician ;

b. July 1774 at Cwirt , parish of Llandyfrydog , Anglesey , and christened in the parish church 11 July as the son of Owen Jones , husbandman , and Ellen his wife. In 1817 he published Egwyddorddysg … neu Catechism ar Reolau Cerddoriaeth , a Welsh version of a work by Charles Dibdin , and, in 1818 , Egwyddorion Canu , the latter containing eight illustrations drawn by Hugh Hughes ( 1790 - 1863 , q.v.) ; the two works were then published as one and attained an extensive circulation. Two very important contributions appeared in 1819 , in two parts, the first part, Brenhinol Ganiadau Seion , containing tunes for the Welsh psalter of Edmund Prys (q.v.) , the other containing hymn-tunes to be sung upon the new verse measures used by William Williams ( Pantycelyn ) and other hymnists; the music was arranged by S. Wesley and V. Novello . In 1827 he produced The Harp of David King of Israel or Royal Psalm of Zion . This last publication has also some account of his life, the author saying, for example that, through the influence of Charles W. Williams Wynn , M.P. , he obtained a post in His Majesty's Stamp and Tax Office Jan. 1827 , which was ‘ to him then as life from the dead .’ He appears to have become very poor in his last years. It is not known when he died or where he lies buried.


  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig (1890) ;
  • Cymru yn hanesyddol, parthedegol, a bywgraphyddol (1875) , ii, 597;
  • Y Cerddor , March and April, 1890 ;
  • R. D. Griffith , Hanes canu cynulleidfaol Cymru (Cardiff, 1948) .


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

Corrections and additions:

WILLIAMS , OWEN ( 1774 - 1839 ; DWB , 1062).

He d. in London 23 May 1839 . See Huw Williams , Owen Williams o Fôn ( 1993 ).


Published date: 1959