Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jones, John Ogwen

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JONES, JOHN OGWEN (1829–1884), Welsh biblical scholar, was the son of David and Elizabeth Jones of Tyddyn, Llanllechid, on the banks of the Ogwen, near Bangor, where he was born on 2 June 1829. He was educated at Bangor and at Bottwnog grammar school, and was employed between 1844 and 1849 as a merchant's clerk in Liverpool, and subsequently filled a similar post in London. On deciding to enter the ministry, he spent from 1852 to 1856 at the Calvinistic methodist college at Bala, matriculated at the London University in 1856, and graduating B.A. in 1858, was ordained at Bangor in 1859. He had ministerial charges at Birkenhead and Liverpool from June 1857 to 1867, at Oswestry (Zion Chapel) from 1867 to the autumn of 1876, and at the Clwyd Street church at Rhyl from 1876 until his death, 22 Sept. 1884. He married, on 28 Dec. 1858, Margaret, daughter of Jacob Jones of Bala, who survives him.

Jones devoted himself to the improvement of the Sunday-school system, and to the establishment of similar weekday classes. He was practically the founder of the county examinations of Sunday-schools in North Wales; he prepared several small handbooks for the use of Sunday scholars, while his larger works were intended to render biblical studies more thorough; he started and successfully conducted classes in botany and chemistry both at Oswestry and Rhyl in connection with the South Kensington science and art department; and was largely instrumental in obtaining adequate provision for elementary education at Rhyl.

In September 1864, while at Liverpool, he edited and wrote much in a monthly magazine, ‘Y Symbylydd,’ which was discontinued after the first volume. In 1873, at the request of the methodist association of North Wales, he delivered a series of lectures at Bala College on ‘Science and Biblical History,’ in which he showed acquaintance not only with geology and biology, but also with oriental archæology. These lectures were published in a volume entitled ‘Hanes iaeth a Gwyddoniaeth y Beibl yn wir a chywir,’ Denbigh, 1875, 8vo. Jones was also the author of the following: 1. ‘Gems of Thought for every Day of the Year, from an eminent Divine [Gurnal] of the Seventeenth Century,’ Liverpool, 1865, 8vo. 2. Commentaries on St. Luke, St. John, and the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Hebrews, in a Sunday-school series known as ‘Testament yr Ysgol Sabbothol,’ Denbigh, 1866–71, 8vo. 3. ‘Hanes Bywyd cyhoeddus Iesu Grist o'r Temtiad hyd y Pasg diweddaf,’ Oswestry, 1870, 8vo. 4. A commentary on Genesis in ‘Beibl y Teulu’ Series, Denbigh, 1873, 4to. 5. Four small handbooks of Bible history in ‘Cyfres yr Ysgol Sabbothol,’ Denbigh, 1874–8. 6. A translation into Welsh of the alterations contained in the English Revised Version (1881) of the New Testament, Denbigh, 1882, 8vo. 7. ‘Testament y Miloedd,’ Denbigh, 1883, 8vo; a concise commentary on the New Testament, probably the best work of the kind in Welsh. 8. Besides several articles on theological and scientific subjects contributed to ‘Y Gwyddoniadur Cymreig’ (‘Encyclopædia Cambrensis’), Jones edited ‘The Supplement’ in vol. x.

[Short Memoir by Professor Ellis Edwards of Bala in Y Geninen for April 1885; Rhyl Advertiser, 27 Sept. 1884; Y Genedl Gymreig, 1 Oct. 1884; information kindly supplied by the family.]

D. Ll. T.