Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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JONES , JOHN ( Tegid — less usually Ioan Tegid ; 1792 - 1852 ), cleric and man of letters ; b. at Bala , 10 [Feb.] 1792 , [first son and third child] of Henry and Catherine Jones ; according to Elizabeth Davis (q.v.) , the mother had a pretty large millinery business , and Tegid 's prolonged sojourn at schools suggests that his family was not too badly off. He speaks of a brother, David ([b. 1794 ] a banker ), a sister Elen [chr. 29 Jan. 1787 ], and another Gwen [b. 1788 , who died young]. After attending more than one school at Bala , he went at 12 to the grammar school attached to the Presbyterian Academy at Carmarthen , thence (in a year's time) to another school there; returned to Bala in 1804 ; thence (so we are told) ‘to several schools’; and finally ( 1814 ) to Jesus College , Oxford . He graduated (with a ‘second’ in mathematics) in 1818 . In 1819 , he intended going out to Calcutta to teach in a college ; but at the end of that year to took orders and became chaplain of Christ Church ; in 1823 (he had proceeded M.A. in 1821 ) he became precentor of Christ Church , with the cure of the parish of S. Thomas . He was energetic in his parish, enlarged the church, and built schools . But he was also a scholar , a good Hebraist ; in 1830 he published a new version of Isaiah , which went into a 2nd ed. in 1842 and was praised by eminent Hebraists on the Continent . Welsh studies , however, filled a more important place in his interests. In his youth at Bala , he had taken his place in the bardic succession of the region, receiving his instruction at the hands of Robert William (q.v. , whom he commemorated in an elegy), and in his turn becoming the instructor of Charles Saunderson (q.v. under Saunderson , Robert ). As a poet (his poetry was published in collected form, with a very short biography, by his sister's son the Rev. Henry Roberts , in 1859 ), Tegid does not rank high, although some of his short lyrics are attractive, and indeed are still current in quotation. It was as a scholar (however defective) in Welsh matters that he acquired repute. It was he who transcribed the ‘ Red Book of Hergest ’ stories for lady Charlotte Guest (q.v.) , and he helped her with her translation . With Gwallter Mechain (q.v.) , he edited the poems of Lewis Glyn Cothi (q.v.) for the Cymmrodorion Society ( 1837-9 ); and wrote the historical introduction. Unfortunately he adhered to the orthography and etymologizing of W. O. Pughe (q.v.) ; this not only led him astray in his treatment of Lewis Glyn Cothi 's text but also seriously affected the edition of the Welsh New Testament which he prepared for the S.P.C.K. in 1828 ; strong protests came from W. Bruce Knight (q.v.) and John Roberts of Tremeirchion ( 1775 - 1829 ) (q.v.) . Tegid had in 1820 published a tract, Traethawd ar Gadwedigaeth yr Iaith Gymraeg , championing Pughe 's views; and now he published ( 1829 ) a reply to Roberts , a Welsh tract on ‘ the correct spelling of Welsh ’ ( 1830 ), and a reply ( 1831 ) to Knight . Fortunately the Old Testament escaped spelling-reform, and today everybody agrees with Bruce Knight .

On 27 Aug. 1841 , through lady Llanover 's influence, Tegid was given the lord chancellor's living of Nevern, Pembs. ; he was instituted 12 April 1842 ; he became canon of S. Davids in 1848 . He was prominent in the eisteddfodic movement , especially in the eisteddfodau held at Abergavenny , and was one of the promoters of the ‘ Welsh MSS. Society .’ By all accounts, he was an exceptionally kindly and likeable man. He d. 2 May 1852 , and was buried at Nevern .

Bibliography:

  • Biographical introduction to his poems (above);
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Cardiff Free Libraries, Catalogue of Printed Literature in the Welsh Department , 1898 ;
  • West Wales Historical Records , 1910–29 , iii, 219-20;
  • Y Cymmrodor , 1951 , chapter 5 passim ;
  • Y Seren (Bala), 4 Oct. 1952 ;
  • [information from Mr. Huw R. Williams , Bala].

Author:

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