Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , JOHN ( 1790 - 1855 ), printer and publisher —

the first publisher of Yr Amserau , the first newspaper in Welsh to find a firm footing; b. at Llansantffraid Glan Conwy, Denbs. , 29 Sept. 1790 . He went to Liverpool at 12 or 13 as apprentice to Nevetts , printers , Castle Street , and after serving out his articles, set up on his own in the same street. There, he published a number of Welsh books , among which may be mentioned a small volume ( 1829 ) commemorating Thomas Hughes ( 1758 - 1828 ) and Thomas Edwards , Calvinistic Methodist ministers in that city; and also a monthly, Y Pregethwr ( 1835-1845? ). He himself was, in 1821 , recognized as a C.M. lay preacher and, as an elder , was one of the signatories of the C.M. Trust Deed ( 1826 ); but in Nov. 1830 was excommunicated for accepting a bribe at the parliamentary election of that year — a disciplinary measure in which John Elias concurred, although Jones was not only a friend of his but had, in Feb., officiated as groomsman at Elias 's second marriage. Jones was restored to membership in 1833 , but his re-election as elder ( 1836 ) was over-ruled. He would seem (on admittedly prejudiced testimony) to have been a difficult yoke-fellow; his theological and his political views were a little too advanced for his highly conservative fellow-members; in 1838 he was again excommunicated. He now joined the Liverpool Welsh Congregationalists , and was active in his services to them. But in 1844 he returned to the C.M. fold, and soon resumed his ascendancy, as well as his preaching activities. Round about 1850 he went to live at Brookhouse , Denbigh , leaving the business in the hands of his family (trading at 18, Tithebarn Street ); in 1850 appeared Cofiant y Parchedig John Elias o Fon , which Jones wrote in conjunction with his friend, the Rev. John Roberts of Liverpool ( 1808 - 1880) , better known under his pen-name Minimus . Jones , who had latterly lived in Melville Place , d. suddenly (in the train, on his way home from a preaching engagement), 8 Jan. 1855 .

Yr Amserau first appeared during John Jones 's Congregationalist period, when his pastor was William Rees ( Gwilym Hiraethog ) ; the first number came out on 23 Aug. 1843 . Jones was not only the printer , but undertook the costs, and acted as sub-editor , collecting home news, advertisements, etc., while Rees was responsible for the leading articles, and the parliamentary and foreign news. After a tough struggle, the paper began to ‘catch on’; but in 1848 John Jones disposed of his rights to John Lloyd of Mold — see article Lloyd , Evan and John ; and for the later history of Yr Amserau see also under Gwilym Hiraethog and Thomas Gee .


  • J. Hughes Morris , Hanes Methodistiaeth Liverpool (Liverpool, 1929-1932) , i, 70, 102-3, 110, 112-5, 130, 133-4;
  • T. M. Jones , Llenyddiaeth fy Ngwlad (1893) , 15-18, 93.


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959