JONES, HUW (1700? - 1782) 'of Llangwm,' Denbighshire, poet, publisher, and one of the principal Welsh balladists of the 18th century

Name: Huw Jones
Date of birth: 1700?
Date of death: 1782
Gender: Male
Occupation: poet, publisher, and one of the principal Welsh balladists of the 18th century
Area of activity: Music; Performing Arts; Poetry; Printing and Publishing
Author: Ernest Edward Wynne

He spent the whole of his working life as a farm labourer. He wrote over 100 poems which were published, together with one or two poems by other writers of the period, in 79 pamphlets, mostly of 8 pages and generally bearing some such title as ' Two New Poems ' or ' Three New Poems.' Of these, 19 are undated. With regard to the rest, the earliest bears the date 1727 and the last belongs to the year 1813. They were published in the Welsh presses at Shrewsbury, Bala, Bodedern, Chester, Carmarthen, Trefriw, and Wrexham, and by unknown presses. At least four of these pamphlets were published after his death; [the exact date of his death is not known, but there is evidence that it occurred in the year 1782 ].

Many of his poems deal with religious topics such as repentance, death, and eternity. In his moral ballads he inveighed against avarice, drunkenness, miserliness, envy, and breaking the Sabbath. His works are sprinkled with love lyrics, with poems dealing with the troubles of the time such as ' The Complaint of the Kingdom of England against the Americans,' with elegies, and with poems directed against poverty and oppression. He also wrote a number of 'interludes' such as ' The History of a Pennyworth of Sense,' ' Captain Factor,' and ' Discussion between a Protestant and a Dissenter.'

In 1759 he edited Dewisol Ganiadau yr oes hon, which included the work of William Wynn (Llangynhafal), Goronwy Owen, Ieuan Brydydd Hir, and others, together with the work of poets not hitherto published, his own amongst them; this book went through five impressions between 1759 and 1827. In 1763 another book, Diddanwch teuluaidd , edited by Huw Jones, made its appearance; this included the works of the Anglesey poets - Goronwy Owen, Lewis Morris, Hugh Hughes, and others. It was printed in London. A 2nd impression appeared in 1817 (Caernarvon), and a 3rd in 1879 (Liverpool). Huw Jones did his people a great service as a bookseller and editor of books. He tramped the fairs and markets of the country selling ballads and acting in interludes. There is little poetic merit in his works; but, for all that, his literary labours did a great deal to kindle and keep burning the interest of the country people in the Welsh language.


Published date: 1959

Article Copyright:

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.

Find out more on our sponsorship page.