Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JONES , JOHN DANIEL ( 1865 - 1942 ), Congregational minister ;

b. at Ruthin 13 Apr. 1865 , son of Joseph David Jones ( DWB , 490-1) , schoolmaster and musician ; his mother was Catherine , dau. of Owen Daniel , Caethle , Tywyn, Mer. , farmer . Owen D. Jones , head of an insurance firm , Sir Henry Haydn Jones , M.P. for Merioneth , and the Rev. D. Lincoln Jones were his brothers. Upon the father's death in 1870 the family went to live at Tywyn where he had at one time been a schoolmaster . The mother married, secondly, in 1877 the Rev. David Morgan Bynner , a Congregational minister at Chorley where they went to live. John Daniel was only 12 years of age when he left Wales and he spent his working life in England , returning to Merioneth when he retired in 1937 . He had been reared with the Calvinistic Methodists by his grandparents and he bore characteristics of that persuasion throughout his life. He was educated at the Tywyn academy , Chorley grammar school , Owen's College , Manchester , where he took his M.A. (Vic.) degree, and at the Lancashire Independent College , where he was for a time assistant teacher , and was later, in 1912 and 1921 , offered the principalship. He took the degree of B.D. at St. Andrews in 1889 , and was ordained at Newland Church , Lincoln , in the same year. In 1898 he followed J. Ossian Davies ( DWB , 141) as minister of Richmond Hill Church , Bournemouth , where he remained until his retirement to Bryn Banon , near Bala . He m., (1) Emily Cunliffe , of Chorley (d. 1917 ), and had a son, who d. in Africa , and a dau., Myfanwy , who d. soon after her father, and, (2) Edith Margery Thompson , of Bournemouth , in 1933 .

He won for himself a remarkably honourable position in the religious life of England and his popularity endured till the end. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1927 and was awarded the degree of D.D. , by the universities of St. Andrews , Manchester , and Wales . He was twice, 1909-10 , 1925-26 , chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales , Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council , 1921-23 , and of the International Congregational Council , 1936-42 . He was referred to as the Archbishop of Congregationalism .

He had his place among the chief celebrities of the pulpit in England in his day and possessed an enchanting gift which drew large crowds to listen to him. His church at Richmond Hill was considered to be one of the most renowned of nonconformist congregations in the whole country. It is probable it was as a leader and denominational statesman that he did his greatest work, and Congregationalism in England bore his image for a long time. He, more than any one else, did most for the maintenance of the ministry, though his schemes were considered by many to savour of Presbyterianism , if not of episcopalianism.

When he returned to spend the eventide of his life in his native land, it was difficult for him, who had so completely identified himself with the prosperous middle class in England , to come to terms with a new Wales , which had awakened to a consciousness of her nationhood.

He published some dozen books, mostly of sermons, and an autobiography.

He d. at Bala , 19 Apr. 1942 , and was buried in Bournemouth .


  • J. D. Jones , Three Score Years and Ten the Autobiography of J.D. Jones (London, 1940) ;
  • D. F. Roberts , Y Seren (Bala)-an obituary note;
  • Who's who in Wales , 1941-50 ;
  • The Congregational Year Book , 1943 , 417;
  • Saunders Lewis , Byd a Betws (Aberystwyth, 1941) , 13;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


Reverend Richard Griffith Owen, M.A., (1890-1973), Bangor

Published date: 2001