Born 13 January 1745, son of John and Margaret Williams of Suntur, Llanystumdwy, Caernarfonshire. He was taught to read by his mother, and he attended one of Griffith Jones's circulating schools, kept by Thomas Gough. Robert Jones succeeded in persuading Bridget Bevan to reopen the circulating schools in North Wales, and he himself was a teacher at Llangybi (1766), Beddgelert (1767), Capel Curig (1768), Rhuddlan (1769), Brynsiencyn (1770), Llangybi (1772-3), and Brynengan (1778). In 1768 he began to exhort among the Calvinistic Methodists and became a prominent figure in their assemblies. He preached throughout North and South Wales, and in 1779 got as far as London.
He married Magdalen Prichard at Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, 2 November 1772; his wife was the daughter of Richard Griffiths, one of William Prichard (1702 - 1773) of Clwchdernog's servants, the niece of Morris Griffiths, (1721 - 1769), and the grand-daughter of Francis Evans of Cae'r Tyddyn. They took a seven years lease of a cottage known as Tir Bach, Rhos-lan, where Robert Jones erected a building large enough to be used in part as a chapel and where he gathered round him a strong Methodist society. When the lease expired they went to live at Tŷ Bwlcyn, near Dinas, Llŷn. The history of four of the children is known: DANIEL became a Liverpool draper and Methodist preacher; Mary married Richard Jones of Tŷ Bwlcyn and became the mother of Magdalen Jones of Waun Fawr, who wrote Rhodd Nain; Hannah married Richard Owen of Meillionen, Ceidio, and their descendants are to be found in Llŷn and the U.S.A.; SAMUEL went to Liverpool where, for a very long time, he was one of the most prominent Methodist elders.
Robert Jones published Lleferydd yr Asyn, 1770, a defence of the Methodists against their persecutors; Drych i'r Anllythrennog, 1778, a Welsh spelling primer; Grawnsypiau Canaan, 1795, a collection of hymns - the first hymn-book used by the Calvinistic Methodists in North Wales; and, finally, Drych yr Amseroedd 1820, a description of the Methodist revival in Wales and its effects. This last book is his masterpiece; the writing is terse, the descriptions are lively, and it is permeated with the fervour of the revival. Robert Jones had a hand in preventing Thomas Charles from leaving Wales in 1784 and also in persuading him to agree to the ordination of Methodist preachers as ministers in 1811 [he himself was not ordained, but delivered a charge at the service].
He died 18 April 1829 and was buried in Llaniestyn churchyard, near the east wall.
Mordecai Jones was his nephew's son.
Published date: 1959
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