Born 10 November 1766 at Glan-y-gors farm, in the parish of Cerrig-y-drudion, son of Lawrence and Margaret Jones. It is thought that he was educated at the free school at Llanrwst. In his youth he worked on his father's farm and during this period wrote a number of love lyrics, displaying a natural gift for this kind of poetry which, later in life, he sought to develop. In 1789 he went to London either as a drover or because, having quarrelled with the rector, he feared the press-gang. He was employed by more than one business firm but had to return to Wales for some months [on two occasions (1789 and 1790) either] owing to ill health [or to settle affairs on the death of his father and uncle], but in 1793 he was either the manager or the owner of the ' Canterbury Arms ' at Southwark. He held Tom Paine's opinions with regard to the rights of man, and was opposed to monarchy, to war, and to oppression by church and state. He published his views in two pamphlets - Seren Tan Gwmmwl , 1795, and Toriad y Dydd , 1797 - and was exposed to much attack in consequence.
He played a prominent part in the life of the Welsh community in London and joined the Society of Gwyneddigion [ 1790 ]. He was its vice-president twice [ 1801, 1813 ], its secretary four times, its official bard for five years, but refused to accept the presidency. He, Thomas Roberts of Llwyn'rhudol, and others founded the Society of Cymreigyddion in 1795, and he also had a hand in resurrecting the Cymmrodorion Society in 1820.
He was married in Bermondsey parish church to Jane Mondel of Whitehaven, 23 July 1816. In 1818 he acquired the licence of 'The King's Head' tavern, Ludgate Street, and from that time until his death in 1821 his home was the regular resort of the London Welsh, although it is not officially recorded that the Gwyneddigion ever met at the ' King's Head,' and the Cymreigyddion only met there for three months [in 1818 ]. John Jones is now chiefly remembered because of his lampoons, some of which can be heard quoted in country districts to this day. He died 21 May 1821 and was buried in the little church of S. Gregory, which has now become part of the cathedral of S. Paul's.
Published date: 1959
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