GRIFFITHS, ANN (1776 - 1805), hymn-writer

Name: Ann Griffiths
Date of birth: 1776
Date of death: 1805
Spouse: Thomas Griffiths
Parent: Jane Thomas
Parent: John Thomas
Gender: Female
Occupation: hymn-writer
Area of activity: Poetry; Religion
Author: Gomer Morgan Roberts

Born April 1776 at Dolwar Fach, Llanfihangel yng Ngwynfa, Montgomeryshire, (baptised 21 April 1776), daughter of John (died c. February 1804) and Jane Thomas (died 1794). Her parents were church-goers. They had five children: (1) Jane, 1767, (2) John, 1770, (3) Elizabeth, 1772, (4) Ann, and (5) Edward, 1779. An extensive study of the children (and their descendants) has been made by David Thomas, Ann Griffiths a'i theulu (1963). Jane m. in 1794 Thomas Jones, Ty Cornel shop, Llanfyllin, and her grandson John Jones's daughter Margaret Jane Jones was the wife of the minister and writer Owen Jones (1833 - 1899); she died in January 1909.

As a girl she was fond of a gay life but sobered down after hearing Benjamin Jones (1756 - 1823) of Pwllheli preach. She joined the Methodist society at Pont Robert in 1797 and came into contact with John Hughes (1775 - 1854), the teacher and preacher, with whom she corresponded extensively. She m. Thomas Griffiths (1779 - 8 April 1808), a Meifod farmer, on 10 October 1804 and died in August 1805 after the birth of her child; she was buried at Llanfihangel, 12 August. She used to recite her hymns to her maid, Ruth Evans, who treasured them in her memory; when Ruth m. John Hughes, the latter wrote them down in two note-books. It was he, doubtless, who gave them to Thomas Charles of Bala, but it is thought that Robert Jones (1745 - 1829) of Rhos-lan prepared them for publication. They were published in the 1805 edition of Grawn-Syppiau Canaan and later (1806) in Casgliad o Hymnau gan mwyaf heb erioed eu hargraffu o'r blaen (Bala, R. Saunderson). Another impression under the same title was published in 1807 by J. Evans of Carmarthen's press; and yet another in 1808 under the title Hymnau o Fawl i Dduw a'r Oen (Bala, Saunderson). The contents of John Hughes's note-books were published by Sir Owen M. Edwards in Gwaith Ann Griffiths (‘Cyfres y Fil’), 1905; here at last the original version of the hymns is to be found. They are characterized by a wealth of scriptural allusion, by deep religious and mystical feeling, and by bold metaphors. They are written, for the most part, in an anacrustic 8-7 metre — a form which has given considerable trouble to composers of hymn-tunes.

Author

Published date: 1959

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