Born 12 February 1842 at Dowlais, Glam., whither her parents had moved from Pembrokeshire and where her father became superintendent of the Dowlais cemetery.
She came into prominence when quite young as a vocalist in concerts held in the Merthyr and Aberdare districts. A local committee was formed with the object of raising funds to enable her to be trained; with assistance given after the Gwent and Morgannwg musical festival of 1863, she was able to receive lessons from Miss Gedrych, Cardiff, and Mills, the organist at Llandaff cathedral. In 1864 she went to the Royal Academy of Music, London, where she studied under Garcia. Owing to ill-health, however, she was not able to complete the course. In 1871 she married a London bank-official named Lloyd Hughes. Mrs. Watts Hughes, as she now was, accompanied Joseph Parry on a musical tour of North Wales. She took part twice in ‘Orpheus’ (Gluck); she also sang duets with Jenny Lind.
Soon after her marriage she founded a home for necessitous and homeless boys.
She wrote several hymn-tunes, some of which are included in Tonau, Salmau ac Anthemau (David Jenkins); of these ‘Wilton Square’ continues to be popular. Her anthem called ‘Atgyfodiad’ was published, and her song, ‘Y Gwcw ar y Fedwen’ continued in popularity for a long time. She invented a musical device called ‘Voice Figures,’ gave a demonstration of its use at a Royal Society meeting held in Burlington House, London, and wrote a booklet describing it.
She died 29 Oct. 1907 and was buried in Abney Park cemetery, London; thirty boys from her ‘home’ were at the funeral, and Madam Mary Davies delivered an address.
Published date: 1959
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