Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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EDWARDS , JOHN DAVID ( 1805 - 1885 ), cleric and musician .

Born 19 Dec. 1805 in Penderlwyngoch , Gwnnws, Cards. , son of John Edwards . He was educated at Ystrad Meurig school and Jesus College , Oxford ( B.A. 1830 , proceeding M.A. later). Ordained deacon in 1832 and priested in 1833 , he served as curate at Llansantffraid Glyndyfrdwy, Denbs. , and Aberdovey , before he was given by Sir Watkin Williams Wynn (in 1843 ) the living of Rhosymedre, Denbs. , where he spent the remainder of his life. He was taught music by Dafydd Siencyn Morgan , he studied the musical grammars of Tans'ur , Calcott , etc., and became a good musician . In 1836 he published Original Sacred Music , the first book of hymn-tunes for the use of Anglican congregations in Wales ; in 1843 a second series appeared. He wrote a large number of hymn-tunes , amongst the most popular being ‘ Rhosymedre ’ (also called ‘ Lovely ’ — Vaughan Williams 's Choral Prelude on the Welsh Tune ‘Lovely,’ based on ‘ Rhosymedre ,’ was played on the organ at the Church musical festival held in the Crystal Palace , London , 21 July 1933 ). Edwards was considered one of the best music adjudicators in Wales in his time; it was he, together with Edward Stephen ( Tanymarian ) , who awarded the first prize to ‘ Teyrnasoedd y Ddaear ,’ the anthem composed by J. Ambrose Lloyd at the Bethesda eisteddfod of 1852 . He was also a good preacher and an acceptable parish priest . He d. 24 Nov. 1885 at Llanddoget rectory , the home of his nephew, and was buried in Tal-y-llyn .

His brother RICHARD EDWARDS , b. 31 July 1808 , was also a pupil of Dafydd Siencyn Morgan , and went to Ystrad Meurig school . He taught music in the surrounding villages, and for many years conducted a choir at Ystrad Meurig , and a band, in which he played the clarinet . He composed several hymn-tunes , which appeared in Y Ceinion ( Hafrenydd ), Caniadau Seion , Yr Atodiad ( Richard Mills ), and Haleliwia Drachefn ( Griffith Harries ). The date of his death has not been discovered, but he was alive in April 1886 ( April 1887 according to M. O. Jones ).


  • Y Llan , Dec. 1885 ;
  • Y Cerddor , July 1891 ;
  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig (1890) .


Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Published date: 1959