Born in 1827 at Bryncrugog, parish of Llanfair Caereinion, Montgomeryshire, the son of Joseph and Catherine Jones. The father, a weaver, was also a Wesleyan preacher. When he was 14 he began, much against his father's wishes, to attend a singing class which was held at Dolannog, about two miles from his home. The family moved to Pant-gwyn, near Llanfair Caereinion, where the son was able to get better musical facilities. He was given a 'cello which he learned to play fairly well. He began to compose hymn-tunes, and before he was 20 he published Y Perganiedydd, containing hymn-tunes; the venture proved a financial success. After the death of his mother he went to Towyn, Meironnydd, to look after a fellow-pupil who was in ill-health. At the request of a number of friends he opened a school at Towyn. He also taught music and conducted evening classes in that subject at Towyn, Bryn-crug, Llanegryn, and Aberdovey. After a six months' course at the Borough Road training college, London, he was appointed (October 1851) master of the British School, Towyn. He married Catherine Daniel in 1860. In 1865 he gave up his British School post and opened a private grammar school at Clwyd Bank, Ruthin.
J. D. Jones gave excellent service to music in Wales. He won the prize at the Bethesda eisteddfod, 1853, for his anthem, 'Ymddyrcha, O Dduw'; he won several prizes at various other eisteddfodau also. He wrote numerous songs, anthems, and hymn-tunes. He published Y Cerub (anthems and hymn-tunes), Cydymaith y Cerddor, Y Delyn Gymreig, Caniadau Bethlehem, and Alawon y Bryniau (the publication of the last-named work had a somewhat remarkable effect - musical Wales was weaned from the music of the 18th century ballads and the way prepared for it to appreciate the songs composed by Joseph Parry, R. S. Hughes, and William Davies); a volume of anthems, and a cantata ('Llys Arthur'). With Edward Stephen (Tanymarian) he edited Llyfr Tonau ac Emynau, Jones being responsible for the greater part of the work of collecting, selecting, and harmonizing the hymn-tunes; the two editors published a collection of chants also (1868). He arranged and edited a collection of hymn-tunes for the use of the Welsh Wesleyan body, this work being published in 1872. His hymn-tune 'Capel y Ddôl' continues to be very popular. He died 17 September 1870 and was buried in the Baptists' burial ground, Ruthin.
Published date: 1959
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