Jones, Edward (1752-1824) (DNB00)

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JONES, EDWARD, known as Bardd y Brenin, or the King's Bard (1752–1824), musician and Welsh writer, was born at Henblas, in the parish of Llanddervel in Merionethshire, on Easter Sunday 1752. His father, a capable musician and a performer on the organ, taught two of his sons, Edward and Thomas, the Welsh harp, a third son the spinet, and a fourth the violin. Edward appeared in London as a harpist in 1775, and soon acquired a high reputation. He taught music to many persons of rank; was appointed bard to the Prince of Wales, an honorary office, in 1783; obtained employment in the office of robes, and was provided for a time with chambers at St. James's Palace, afterwards removing to No. 3 Green Street, Grosvenor Square, and subsequently to Great Chesterfield Street, Marylebone. He led a lonely and somewhat eccentric life; fell into straitened circumstances; sold a portion of his valuable collection of books, and early in 1824 was granted a pension of 50l. by the Royal Society of Musicians, on the recommendation of John Parry (Bardd Alaw). He died on 18 April 1824, and was buried in the Marylebone burial-ground.

In 1784 Jones published ‘Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards, preserved by Tradition and Authentic Manuscripts from very remote Antiquity, with a Collection of the Pennillion and Englynion, Epigrammatic Stanzas or native Pastoral Sonnets of Wales, a History of the Bards from the Earliest Period, and an Account of their Music, Poetry, and Musical Instruments,’ London, fol. 2 pts.; republished with additions in 1794; 3rd edition in 1812. A companion volume was issued in 1802, entitled ‘The Bardic Museum of Primitive British Literature, and other admirable rarities, forming the second volume of the Musical, Poetical, and Historical Relicks of the Welsh Bards and Druids,’ London, fol. A portion of a third volume was published in 1820. These works, largely based on the author's original researches among unpublished Welsh manuscripts, rescued and preserved some of the oldest Welsh airs extant. The greater part of this national collection was embodied in ‘The Welsh Harper,’ edited by John Parry (1776–1851) [q. v.] in 1839. Jones's other published works are: 1. ‘Lyric Airs, consisting of specimens of Greek, Albanian, Wallachian, Turkish, Arabian, Persian, Chinese, and Moorish Songs and Melodies, with a short Dissertation on the Origin of Ancient Greek Music,’ London, fol. 1804. 2. ‘The Minstrel's Serenades,’ 1809. 3. ‘Terpsichore's Banquet, or Select Beauties of various National Melodies,’ London, fol. 1813. 4. ‘Popular Cheshire Melodies,’ n.d. Other works ascribed to him are: 5. ‘A Book of Italian Songs, with accompaniments for the Harp or Harpsichord.’ 6. ‘A Book of Sonatas’ (these two works are mentioned on the title-pages to ‘Welsh Bards’ and ‘Lyric Airs’). 7. ‘A Book of Musical Miscellany.’ 8. ‘Musical Remains of Handel, Bach, Abel, &c.’ 9. ‘Musical Trifles calculated for Beginners on the Harp.’ 10. ‘Musical Bouquet, or Popular Songs and Ballads.’ 11. ‘The Musical Portfolio, consisting of English, Scotch, Irish, and other favourite Airs.’ ‘Cicero's Brutus,’ 1776, with which he is often credited, belongs to Edward Jones (fl. 1771–1831) [q. v.]

[Williams's Eminent Welshmen; Gent. Mag. 1824, pt. ii. p. 185; Leathart's Origin and Progress of the Gwyneddigion Society, p. 65; Brown's Biog. Dict. of Musicians; Grove's Dict. of Music, ii. 39; advertisement on title-page of Lyric Airs; Rowlands's Llyfryddiaeth y Cymry, ed. Rev. D. Silvan Evans.]

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