JONES, WILLIAM ELLIS (Cawrdaf; 1795 - 1848), poet and man of letters

Name: William Ellis Jones

Pseudonym: Cawrdaf

Date of birth: 1795

Date of death: 1848

Parent: Ellis Jones

Gender: Male

Occupation: poet and man of letters

Area of activity: Literature and Writing; Poetry

Author: Thomas Parry

Born 9 October 1795, at Tyddyn Siôn, Abererch, Caernarfonshire. Having received his education at a local school and from his father, Ellis Jones, who was himself a schoolmaster, he was in 1808 apprenticed as a printer with his cousin, Richard Jones (1787 — 1855). On completing his apprenticeship he was engaged by another cousin of his, Lewis Evan Jones, at Caernarvon. There he came to know Dafydd Ddu Eryri and became a member of ’ Cymdeithas yr Eryron,’ which used to meet at Bontnewydd.

In 1817 he went to London and [is said to have] joined the Gwyneddigion Society, [though Leathart does not record this]. His ability as an artist led to his accompanying a gentleman, whose identity has not been established, on a journey to the Continent, and the years 1817-19 were spent travelling in France and Italy. On his return he worked for a period as an artist at Bristol and at Bath, and then went back to Richard Jones’s printing office at Dolgelley. He was employed by Josiah T. Jones at Merthyr Tydfil, and accompanied him when he moved to Cowbridge and later to Carmarthen.

As a member of the Wesleyan Methodist church he occasionally took preaching engagements; [at Carmarthen he was one of the leaders of the ‘Little Wesley’ schism]. He was enrolled as a member of several Cymreigyddion societies and wrote awdlau for eisteddfodic competitions on such subjects as ‘A Welshman’s longing for his country,’ 1820; ‘The regency of George IV,’ 1824; ‘The Druids of the Isle of Britain,’ 1834; ‘Job,’ 1840. His prose work, The Bard, or the Welsh Hermit, 1830, an account of imaginary journeys to various parts of the world, written in a highly didactic vein, has often been described as the first Welsh novel, but has none of the attributes of a novel.

He died 27 March 1848.