Born at Adwy'r Clawdd near Wrexham 11 February 1796, son of Hugh (a carpenter) and Mary Hughes, and grandson of Richard Hughes, Sarffle, Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog; he was thus a brother of the Wrexham printer Richard Hughes, and a second-cousin of the poet John Ceiriog Hughes.
He began preaching in 1813, and in 1815 began keeping school in various places; in 1819 he opened a school at Wrexham which acquired great repute, as he also took older pupils intending to enter the ministry. The Calvinistic Methodist connexion had not at that time a seminary, and a number of its future prominent preachers (e.g. Roger Edwards) went to John Hughes's school, which he kept going till 1834.
In the meantime, he had become a preacher of considerable standing, but he was not ordained till 1829, as the hyper- Calvinists of his presbytery doubted his orthodoxy. His chief motive in deserting his school for shop-keeping at Adwy'r Clawdd and afterwards (1838) at Liverpool had been the gaining of greater leisure for preaching; and soon after his removal to Liverpool it was arranged that with Henry Rees, he should be released from other cares to undertake the pastoral charge of the Calvinistic Methodist causes in that city. He died at Abergele, 8 August 1860.
He wrote several books; the most important is his history, Methodistiaeth Cymru (3 vols., 1851-6), a remarkable work for the time at which it was written, and indispensable even today in spite of its shortcomings. John Hughes, indeed, was a more important man than has yet been fully realized. For various reasons, the Methodism of his family was of a more 'nonconformist' type than was customary in those days, and he himself, later on, played a great part in the gradual weaning of his connexion from the conservatism, ecclesiastical and political, which had hitherto marked it; his influence on Henry Rees was important; and he lent his aid to men like Lewis Edwards and Roger Edwards. A memorial volume, by Roger Edwards and John Hughes, was published in 1864.
Published date: 1959
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