Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jones, John (1788-1858)

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JONES, JOHN (1788–1858), versifier, also known as ‘the Welsh Bard,’ was born in 1788 at Llanasa, Flintshire, where his parents held a small farm. From 1796 to 1803 he was apprenticed to a cotton-spinner at Holywell, Flintshire, where he learnt to read and write. In 1804 he went to sea in a trading vessel sailing from Liverpool to the coast of Guinea, and in 1805 joined an English man-of-war, called The Barbadoes, which cruised in the West Indies. He was subsequently transferred to the Saturn, under Lord Amelius Beauclerk [q. v.], and in 1812 to the Royal George, which cruised in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. At the end of the Napoleonic war he left the service, and was soon engaged once more as an operative spinner at Holywell. In 1820 he removed to a factory belonging to Robert Platt at Stalybridge in Cheshire. He died on 19 June 1858, and his funeral was attended by about eight thousand people; he was buried in the ground attached to the Wesleyan chapel, Grosvenor Square, in Stalybridge, where a plain gravestone was erected, and a memorial tablet placed on the wall of the chapel by public subscription.

While a sailor Jones tried his hand at poetry, and in his old age he addressed his patrons in panegyrics, which he often published and sold as broadsheets. He wrote a poetical version of Æsop's and other fables, and was author of two poems, called ‘The Cotton Mill’ (1821) and ‘The Sovereign’ (1827). A collection of his works, entitled ‘Poems by John Jones,’ 8vo, was published in 1856, under the auspices of William Fairbairn of Manchester.

[Foulkes's Enwogion Cymru, pp. 604–6; Sutton's Lancashire Authors, p. 65; Gent. Mag. August 1858, p. 202.]

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