Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HUGHES , JONATHAN ( 1721 - 1805 ), poet ;

b. 17 March 1721 at Pengwern , near Llangollen . He is said to have written poetry at the age of fifteen, and in the course of a long life he produced a large number of poems, mainly of the type common in the 18th cent. , i.e. poems containing a good deal of cynghanedd and intended to be sung to the popular melodies of the time. Such poems by him appear regularly in the almanacs published by Cain Jones , Philomath (qq.v.), and others from 1755 to the end of the century. He also composed in the traditional strict metres; he wrote an elegy on Richard Morris , in the form of an awdl, in 1780 . An interlude by him, Y Dywysoges Genefetha , was published in 1744 , and a volume of his poetry, called Bardd a Byrddau , appeared in 1778 . As an enthusiastic supporter of eisteddfodau in the 18th cent. , we find him mentioned in connection with the eisteddfod held at Selattyn in 1748 , and naturally he was prominent at the eisteddfod held at Llangollen in Jan. 1789 . At the eisteddfod held at Corwen in May of the same year he was one of the three ( Twm o'r Nant and Gwallter Mechain being the other two) upon whose works the panel of adjudicators failed to reach a decision, with the result that the compositions were sent to London to be adjudicated by the Gwyneddigion Society . He was also present at the Bala eisteddfod in Sept. 1789 . His eisteddfodic efforts however were not very successful; he was more skilled in the ‘carol’ type of poetry prevalent in the 18th cent. He d. 25 Nov. 1805 . A son of his of the same name ( 1753 - 1834? ), was also a poet , and published Gemwaith Awen, Gwaith Beirdd Collen in 1806 . The contents of the volume were for the most part his own compositions. He, in turn, had a son called Jonathan Hughes ( 1797 - 1860? ), who was one of the poets present at an eisteddfod held at Llangollen in 1833 .


  • Hanes Llenyddiaeth Gymreig, 1651–1850 (1893) , 407;
  • Cymru (O.M.E.) , 1897 , 94;
  • Yr Haul , 1893 , 165;
  • Bye–Gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties , 1891-2 , 128;
  • Y Llenor , xiv, ll, xv, 88.


Sir Thomas Parry, D.Litt., (1904-85), Bangor / Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959