Born at Llanrwst, son of Abel Jones, ‘carrier,’ and of his wife Jane — both died, aged 74, in 1876; his brother William (died 1893) was also a ‘character.’ Abel was a one-eyed man; there is a portrait of him in Cymru (O.M.E.), xxvii, 173. He is known to have been singing at least as early as 1864, and Elfyn (R.O. Hughes) heard him singing at Abergele in the early part of 1901. At one period he lived at Mold, ‘in a court off the High-Street,’ and Ellis Edwards recounts how he would drop into Daniel Owen the novelist's shop for a chat. He travelled throughout Wales — several of his ballads (of which we have seventy-one) are concerned with events in South Wales. He has been called ‘the prince of ballad-singers,’ and when we consider how recent were his activities (many who are still alive have heard him) we may regard him as being in a sense a historical figure in Welsh social life — the last of the ‘great’ balladists. He died in the workhouse at Llanrwst in 1901, ‘aged 71,’ and was buried 22 June.
Published date: 1959
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