Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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BROWN , JAMES CONWAY ( 1838 - 1908 ), musician .

Born 27 Dec. 1838 at Blaina, Mon. , son of James Brown , then one of the proprietors of the Blaina iron-works , and afterwards, 1853 , 1860 , and 1861 , mayor of Newport, Mon. His paternal grandfather, Richard Brown , was connected with Richard Trevithick in the construction of one of the earliest locomotives at Merthyr Tydfil ; his maternal grandfather was James Conway , of Pont-rhyd-yr-ynn iron-works , Mon .

After attending the Camberwell Collegiate School and King's College , London , he went to the Ebbw Vale iron-works to learn the business of an iron-master under his uncle, Thomas Brown , managing director of those works. He, however, paid more attention to music, taking part in concerts as violinist or pianist ; he also played the organ in various places of worship . After becoming an officer in the Monmouthshire Rifle Volunteers he often played in the band of the seventh battalion . In 1861 he went to the Millwall iron-works , London , where he soon formed a brass band .

He decided to abandon a business career for that of music, and in 1869 was appointed organist of Aldershot parish church . He won prizes at various eisteddfodau, for example, Carmarthen and Ruthin , for anthems, songs, and part-songs. He became organist of Hale church , near Farnham , in 1875 , and of the parish church, Farnham , in 1879 . Later he published a sonata in E major for violin and pianoforte for which he had been awarded the Sir Michael Costa prize at Trinity College of Music , London . In 1886 he was awarded the national eisteddfod prize for an anthem. He also conducted several choral and orchestral societies . He d. 26 April 1908 .


  • NLW MS 8044;
  • Star of Gwent , 20 Nov. 1869 ;
  • The Tonic Solfa Reporter and Magazine of Vocal Music for the People , Dec. 1884 ;
  • Y Cerddor , 1908 .


Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959