Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , ROBERT ALBERT ( 1851 - 1892 ), barrister and educationist ;

b. 16 Sept. 1851 , s. of the Rev. John Jones , Pen-y-bryn , Wrexham, Denbs. , and great-grandson of Robert Jones ( DWB , 507-8) , Rhoslan . He was a cousin of ‘ Ioan Maethlu ’ [ John Maethlu Jones , 1839 - 1866 ]. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School , and entered Corpus Christi , Oxford , in 1870 , where he graduated B.A. with first class in Mathematics in 1874 . He was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn , 7 May 1879 , and afterwards resided at Liverpool . He possessed independent means which enabled him to devote much of his time to public activities. With Robert Lewis , M.P. , he was joint treasurer to the Executive Committee of the North Wales Liberal Federation , although he failed to agree with Gladstone on Ireland . He was deeply interested in land ownership , and published at his own expense The Land question and a Land bill with special reference to Wales ( 1887 ). A Welsh translation was published in 1888 . He served on several committees, believing in, and arguing the case for free secular education . He was from the beginning a prominent member of the council of the Univ. College of North Wales , and travelled thousands of miles at his own expense on behalf of the college. He served the college without remuneration, and also contributed generously to its funds. He was offered the post of registrar , which he did not accept. With W.S. de Winton ( Haverfordwest ) he was joint secretary of the General Conference of Joint Education Committees for Wales and Monmouthshire . The concept of the University of Wales arose from this movement, and, to a large extent, R.A. Jones , who became secretary to the University Committee , was responsible for formulating the initial scheme for a Welsh university.

He was of a nervous and weak constitution, and performed most of his work in private; he disliked appearing in public. He d. 19 Oct. 1892 at his Liverpool residence and was buried at Toxteth cemetery, Liverpool . After his d. more than five hundred pounds were received towards a memorial fund, and the interest is still used for a higher mathematics prize at the University of Wales , Bangor .

He m., 26 Feb. 1890 , Harriet Agnes Thompson , d. of Joseph Thompson , ‘gentleman’, of Willow Hall , Sowerby Bridge, Yorks. She d. 4 Nov. 1902 , aged 47, and was buried at Toxteth cemetery.


  • Bye–Gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties , 1892 , 239;
  • Notable Welshmen (1700–1900) (1908) (T.M.R.);
  • Cymru (O.M.E.) , v, 40;
  • Baner ac Amserau Cymru , 26 Oct. 1892 ;
  • Y Goleuad , 27 Oct. 1892 ;
  • personal knowledge.


Dr Llewelyn Gwyn Chambers, Bangor

Published date: 2001