Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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STEPHEN , EDWARD (JONES) ( Tanymarian ; 1822 - 1885 ), musician ;

b. in a house called Rhyd-y-sarn in the parish of Maentwrog, Mer. , and christened (as Edward Jones ) in the church of S. Michael , Ffestiniog , 15 Dec. 1822 . His father could sing to the harp whilst his mother was also a good singer . The family moved to Penmount Bach and afterwards to Ty'n-y-maes , Llan Ffestiniog . After he had attended Penralltgoch school he was apprenticed to his brother, William Stephen , a clothier . When he was 18 he began to preach at Saron Congregational church , Llan Ffestiniog , and in 1843 he went to the Bala Congregational college . As he found there was another student named Edward Jones , he adopted the additional surname of Stephen after his grandfather's Christian name Stephen Jones . He had previously studied music and when he was at college he wrote several hymn-tunes . In 1847 he was ordained as minister of Horeb Congregational church , Dwygyfylchi , Caerns. During his ten years’ stay there he became well known throughout Wales as a preacher , poet , lecturer , writer , and musician . It was at Dwygyfylchi that he composed the oratorio, Ystorm Tiberias , which was begun 28 Jan. 1851 and finished 28 May 1852 . This oratorio was the first of its kind written by a Welshman . The work, which was published in 1855 in seven parts, a revised edition appearing in 1887 , was performed in several places in Wales , whilst some of the choruses became eisteddfod test pieces. In 1856 he became minister of Bethlehem and Carmel churches, Llanllechid . His Requiem in memory of the Rev. John Jones , Tal-y-sarn , was composed in 1858 . In 1859 he became editor of Cerddor y Cysegr . Llyfr Tonau ac Emynau , edited by Stephen and J. D. Jones , Ruthin (q.v.) , appeared in 1868 , Stephen publishing a supplement in 1879 . He edited Greal y Corau from April 1861 until May 1863 (the last number that was issued). He contributed articles on congregational singing to Y Cronicl and Y Dysgedydd . Of his anthems, those called ‘ Llawen floeddiwch i Dduw ,’ ‘ Wrth afonydd Babilon ,’ and ‘ Disgwyliad Israel ,’ were the best-known; of his numerous hymn-tunes, ‘ Tanymarian ’ continues to be popular. He was much in demand as a vocalist and used to delight audiences with some songs composed by himself, e.g. ‘ Hen Gadair Freichiau ,’ ‘ Caingc y delyn ,’ and ‘ Carlo ’; he also used to give a popular lecture on music , was a very able music adjudicator at eisteddfodau , and was a most acceptable conductor of hymnody festivals . Examples of poems which he wrote are given in Cofiant Tanymarian , written by W. J. Parry (q.v.) . He d. 10 May 1885 and was buried in Bethlehem chapel graveyard , Tal-y-bont , Llanllechid .

Sources:

  • W. J. Parry , Cofiant Tanymarian (Dolgellau, 1906) , 1886 ;
  • Y Cerddor , Dec. 1892 ;
  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig (1890)

Author:

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

Published date: 1959