Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , EDWARD ( 1741? — after 1806 ), Calvinistic Methodist exhorter in London ,

one of the two founders of the C.M. cause there, but better known for his failings than for his virtues. He was from Llansannan, Denbs. , and D.E. Jenkins concluded that he was the ‘ Edward , son of John Edwards , Arllwyd ’ who was chr. there 1 April 1741 ; this, indeed, would tally with the ‘about 60’ which is given as his age in the legal proceedings early in 1801 . He joined the Life Guards , was converted by Whitefield , and became an exhorter at the Tabernacle . After leaving the army, he kept a public house , and later on was a spirit-merchant . In 1785 he set up a Welsh C.M. meeting-house in Wilderness Row (afterwards represented by what is known as ‘ Jewin Chapel ’), and his domineering there led to trouble. He expelled two granddaughters of the famous Daniel Rowland for ‘ marrying outside the Connexion ,’ with the result that a number of his congregation left, and became Independents . This caused Methodist leaders in Wales , such as Thomas Charles and John Elias , much embarrassment, for the two expelled brides were granddaughters of a most highly venerated Methodist ‘father’; yet on the other hand Jones 's real services to Methodism in London , and his frequent presence at Associations in Wales , had procured him a standing which made him difficult to handle. The embarrassment was soon to be deepened after the death of Jones 's wife; for he then ( 1799 ) became engaged to a young woman of 28 — but on a visit to Wales in 1800 married a well-to-do widow. The opposition party egged the aggrieved lady on to sue Jones for breach of promise, and in Jan. 1801 he was mulcted in £50. The news was hailed with joy by the London Gwyneddigion and Cymreigyddion societies (strongly anti- Methodist ), and they published a pamphlet containing the love-letters of ‘ Ginshop Jones ’ (as they called him), which had been read in court — and added a most ribald ballad upon him, by John Jones of Glan-y-gors (q.v.) . Naturally, things went from bad to worse at Wilderness Row , and most of the members left, to worship elsewhere. The C.M. Association was now compelled to act; Jones was inhibited from his ministrations and seems, indeed, to have been expelled from the connexion. But he still held the trust-deeds of the meeting-house, despite the efforts of John Elias and others to get them out of his clutches; finally, however, Ebenezer Morris (q.v.) was successful ( 1806 ), and Jones had ‘ to retire, snarling ’ as someone put it. It is said that he spent the rest of his life in Wales , but no further details have been discovered.

Sources:

  • Methodistiaeth Cymru (1851–6) , iii, 435-41;
  • D. E. Jenkins , Life of Thomas Charles (Denbigh, 1908) , ii, 155, 301-14, 384;
  • Y Cymmrodor , 1951 , 123-4.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959