JONES, JOHN PULESTON (1862 - 1925), Calvinistic Methodist minister, writer, and theologian

Name: John Puleston Jones
Date of birth: 1862
Date of death: 1925
Spouse: Annie Alun Jones (née Jones)
Parent: Evan Jones
Parent: Mary Ann Jones (née Puleston)
Gender: Male
Occupation: Calvinistic Methodist minister, writer, and theologian
Area of activity: Literature and Writing; Religion
Author: Robert Richard Hughes

Born at Berth, Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd, 26 February 1862, son of Evan Jones, carpenter and builder, and Mary Ann Puleston (Mair Clwyd), sister of Sir John Puleston. The family moved to Bala, and when the boy was 18 months old he met with an accident which resulted in total blindness. His mother set to work and taught him to do everything possible for himself without expecting, or getting, help from any one. He learned to read the Moon type for the blind, and later the Braille, and he also learned to use the Braille typewriter; in his own letters he used the ordinary typewriter, which he learned to dismantle and re-assemble. He devised a Braille system for the Welsh language, which is still in use. When at home he regularly worked in his carpenter's shop. When he lived at Dinorwig he rode his spirited horse 'Dick' along the streets of Bangor and Caernarvon, and was accustomed to drive it in a trap along the dangerous country roads of the district. He travelled unaccompanied by train and used to say that 'there was always an angel on every platform.'

He went to the British School and to the grammar school at Bala, and at the age of 16 to the C.M. College there, distinguishing himself in his last year (1881) by obtaining the highest place in the examinations. After spending a year at the College for the Blind, Worcester, he accompanied O. M. Edwards to Glasgow University. After that, in 1884, he went to Balliol College, Oxford, where in 1888 he graduated with first-class honours in the school of modern history [M.A.]. He was one of the seven who founded the 'Dafydd ab Gwilym Society ' in 1886. He pleaded for and wrote 'Welsh Welsh.' 'He may be regarded,' said Sir John Morris-Jones in 1924, 'as one of the present-day masters of the language of his fore-fathers, and as one of the principal benefactors of the culture and religion of Wales through its language.'

He began to preach at the age of 17 (in 1879), was ordained in 1888, and was called to be minister of the English C.M. church, Princes Road, Bangor. In 1890 he married Annie Alun Jones, daughter of Thomas Jones (Glan Alun, 1811 - 1866) by whom he had two children. He was minister of the churches at Dinorwig and Fachwen (1895-1907), Penmount, Pwllheli (1907-18), and Llanfair Caereinion (1918-23). He published his Esboniad ar Epistol Iago in 1899, his 'Davies Lecture,' Until the Day Dawn, 1913, and a volume of sermons, Gair y Deyrnas, in 1924. The most original feature of his theology was his use of the theory of 'development' in his doctrine about God, i.e. his attribution to God of increasing experience. This can be seen in the sermon on Hebrews ii, 17, 18, delivered at the conference of English C.M. churches at Aberdare in 1913, as well as in his essays in Yr Efrydydd and in the 'question and answer' columns of the Goleuad. He was a pacifist in the first World War and expounded his point of view in his oration on the nature of the church (see Ysgrifau Puleston), in his articles in Y Deyrnas, a pacifist periodical, and in the last two sermons in Gair y Deyrnas.

Because of his 'heroic life, his many-sided genius, large humanity, and Christian character,' Puleston was one of the idols of his people. His denomination collected a testimonial for him, and the University of Wales made him a D.D. in 1924. He died 21 January 1925 and was buried in Christ Church churchyard, Bala.


Published date: 1959

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