JONES, ELIZABETH MARY ('Moelona'; 1877 - 1953), teacher and novelist

Name: Elizabeth Mary Jones
Pseudonym: Moelona
Date of birth: 1877
Date of death: 1953
Spouse: John Tywi Jones
Parent: Mary Owen (née Jones)
Parent: John Owen
Gender: Female
Occupation: teacher and novelist
Area of activity: Education; Literature and Writing
Author: David Jenkins

Born 21 June 1877, in Moylon, Rhydlewis, Cardiganshire, the youngest of the 13 children of John Owen (a carrier who took farm produce by horse and cart to the industrial centres of south Wales before taking the tenancy of the farm, Moylon) and Mary, daughter of Abraham Jones (who was also a carrier). One of the children died young while the parents were in the cemetery at the burial of two others. Her eldest brother was Owen Rhys Owen (1854 - 1908), a Congl. minister whose name has become associated with Glandŵr. The family had to leave Moylon and take Llwyneos, a smaller, remote farm, and it was from there that she went to the elementary school in Rhydlewis. John Newton Crowther was the headmaster -an Englishman who learnt Welsh and became a Welsh poet; he also took a leading part in Hawen (Congl.) chapel where ' Moelona ' became a member. At that time there was a flourishing literary and eisteddfodic tradition in the local churches and surrounding district, and her upbringing left a life-long impression on her. One of her contemporaries at school was D. Caradoc Evans) and she was appointed pupil-teacher when they both applied for the post. As her mother died in 1890, she had to care for her father along with her school duties, and so was unable to proceed to college as she had wished, but she secured her teacher's certificate at Rhydlewis. She was appointed teacher in Pontrhydyfen, Bridgend, and Acrefair before going to Cardiff in 1905.

She wrote her first novel, Rhamant o Ben y Rhos (1907), for Llwyn-yr-hwrdd eisteddfod; it was re-published as Rhamant y Rhos (1918). By that time she had profited from the cultural opportunities of the city of Cardiff, and attendance at meetings of the Anglo-French society where she became acquainted with the stories of Alphonse Daudet, describing life in his native locality. Eventually ' Moelona 's' translations of Daudet's works were published in various magazines such as Cymru (1916) - Sir O.M. Edwards had encouraged her to write - Y Wawr (1917), and in a book, Y wers olaf (1921). Several essays and stories were published while she was in Cardiff, including Teulu bach Nantoer (1913) and Bugail y Bryn (1917).

In 1914 she began contributing a children's column to the weekly newspaper, Y Darian, under the editorship of J. Tywi Jones, minister of Glais, whom she married in 1917. She then took up lecturing for a while, but returned to writing essays, novels for children, Welsh books for schools, girls' novels, such as Breuddwydion Myfanwy (1928) and Beryl (1931), as well as other books. These works are characterised by a love for her own language, and enthusiasm for the education and provision of opportunities for women. Some of her books, especially Ffynnonloyw (1939), reflect very effectively the social characteristics of the society in which she was brought up, though she merely intended relating a story rather than portray society.

In 1935 J. Tywi Jones retired and they moved to New Quay, Cardiganshire. He died in 1948. ' Moelona ' retained an interest in the chapel and eisteddfod until her death in New Quay on 5 June 1953. They had no children. She was buried in Hawen cemetery, Rhydlewis.


Published date: 2001

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