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RHUTHUN LOCAL HISTORY BROADSHEET                                                                      Issue No 56 December 1998

J.D Jones:  Distinguished Headmaster of Rhos Street School

 A. Fletcher


It can be argued that the blue plaque in honour of Joseph David Jones on Clwyd Bank, Clwyd Street, is not in the most appropriate location. It night have been more fittingly placed on the wall of Rhos Street School. 

He was headmaster there for fourteen years, his learned family were born in the school house, and many of his musical compositions were written there. On the other hand, he had his school in  Clwyd Bank for only five years. He was a person who brought honour and prestige to his adopted town.

He was born in Montgomeryshire, the third child of Joseph and Catherine Jones - his father was a farmer, weaver, and Wesleyan preacher. The boy was musically talented and by the age of fourteen had organised music and singing classes for the village of Dolganog. Although talented, his parents preferred him to work on the farm, but by the age of 18 he had published a collection of tunes 'Y Perganiedydd', which included his well-known tune for congregational singing 'Capel y Ddol'.

The death of his mother when he was 20 was a turning point. His father remarried and the new wife and step-son did not get on. Jones threw himself into creativity and intense study. He obtained a post at Towyn as tutor to an invalid child, moving on to become an unqualified teacher at Towyn School. During the nineteenth century education for the masses was not universally accepted, and school-teaching was not held in high regard socially or economically. For four years Jones worked, studied and saved until he had enough to pay the tuition fees at Borough Road College, London. This six-month course cost him ten shillings! In 1851 he came home with his certificate.

In Ruthin, eight years previously, the British and Foreign School had been established. The actual date is unkown, the school minute book not starting until four years later. (The Carnarvon and Denbigh herald' of 30 August 1845 reports on the second public examination of the school). The school was nomadic until purpose-built premises were constructed in 1846. When the headship became vacant in 1851, Jones was appointed to the post. As 'Headmaster' he was the only teacher, with some two hundred pupils,  control and teaching being achieved through the monitor-pupil system.

The job was poorly paid, maybe less than £80 per annum. It is some measure of the man that the minute book of 1857 records that the Governors owed him £13 for money he had paid out of his own pocket for monitors' wages, books and maps. This was while the affluent members of the boards were awaiting money from the Central Council in London. By 1857 a schoolmistress had been appointed to  assist him, for the princely sum of eight shillings per week. 

J.D Jones' musical career blossomed. In 1853 he published the anthem 'Ynddrycha o Ddeuo' , winning first prize at Bethesda eisteddfod. In 1858 he was musical director for the Llangollen eisteddfod.



Established as Headmaster of a flourishing school and as a nationally recognised musician, the next step was romance! He courted Catherine, daughter of Owen and Catherine Daniels, prosperous farmers from Penllyn nearTywyn. However Owen Daniels was not impressed by Jones' music, nor by his low income, and the parents discouraged the match. With no compromise possible, the couple eloped in 1860.

The marriage was happy and fruitful, six sons being born, five of these in Rhos Street School house. Two did not survive infancy, but the other four gained distinction.

- Major Owen Daniel Jones , head of North British Mercantile Insurance

- Sir Henry Haydn Jones , MP for Merionethshire 1910 - 1945, and chairman of Merioneth County Council. He had              interests in slate and in the Tal y Llyn railway, where a locomotive is currently named 'Sir Haydn'.

- Rev. Dr. John Daniel Jones became minister of Richmond Hill chapel

- Rev. Daniel Lincoln Jones became moderator of the West Midlands.

In the year of his marriage he won the National Eisteddfod in Denbigh with 'Tri chant a holiadau ac atebion' goreu ar 'Hanes Cymru'. Two years later he was running the British school choir of 150 voices. He also had time to study to enhance his professional qualifications and in 1864 became an Associate of the College of Preceptors, a chartered educational society.

At this point he must have decided that he was worth more than his low income as Head of the British School , and in 1865 he resigned to establish his own private school in Clwyd Bank. His ambitions were clear from the advertisement:

Clwyd Bank School, Ruthin, in union with the College of Preceptors.

Headmaster - J.D. Jones ARCP

Latin and Greek - Rev. E. Jones; French - Mr.D.M. Bynner; Pianoforte and Harmony - Mr. J.A. Davies.

The course of instruction is intended to prepare pupils for commercial and professional life.

The school must have been an immediate success for in 1866 it was extended and two more masters appointed - G Macdonald Williams and W.J Argent (described as Professor of Music and Harmony). 


Jones was elected to Ruthin Council in 1866 as a Liberal. There would have been too many conflicting interests if he had remained at the British School. He then published a hymnal which contained ten compositions of his own and fifty-four of his arrangements of other people's compositions. 

Sadly, in 1870, after losing his youngest baby son to typhoid, he contracted the disease and died aged 43.

After his death his wife and boys moved back to Towyn and the boys went to the British School there. She eventually re-married the ex-French master from Clwyd Bank, by then Reverend D. M. Bynner, Congregational Minister at St. George's, Chorley and the family moved to Lancashire.
Jones was a dedicated man, two themes run through his life story, education and music. Talented and devoted he certainly was. Life at the British School must have been hard and money short, but he paid his monitors out of his own pocket and bought the necessary books for the children. This happened whilst members on the Board, who were certainly more affluent than Jones, awaited money from the Central Council in London. His music and his involvement in the Eisteddfod movement are indicative of his conviction in the nonconformist faith. His four surviving sons are testimony to that home life. However, with his life cut short at forty-three, one should not overlook the role which was also played by Bynner in bringing up those boys  


Bygones 1894; D.W.B.; Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald; Denbighshire County Record Office, NTD8.


One family - the Lloyds - has been associated with this house - one of the principal houses in the parish - for the greater part of its existence. The present structure is much altered, embracing an original, more ancient building. References to the 'Berth' have occurred frequently since c.1605, when "Robert of Pentre Cuhelyn in Llanfair D.C., [was] ancestor of the Lloyds of Berth and Rhagat [of Corwen]." The family's genealogy is somewhat complex and blurred by the mists of time, but Robert's second son Tudor married Agnes 'of Plas Einion', Llanfair D.C. [R.L.H.B. No: 26]. Tudor's son, David Lloyd, is the first to be described as of Y Berth, Llanbedr, and was buried near the Communion Table at the old Llanbedr Church in 1620. Over the years, there were marriages with well-known families, including the Conways of Bodrhyddan, Rhuddlan, the Lloyds of Wigfair, St. Asaph, and others in Montgomeryshire and Chester.

The fortunes of Berth and Rhagatt were closely intertwined. A John Lloyd of Rhaggat c.1739 built Rhagatt House [now 15, Well Street, home of the Adam family] as a town house. Edward Lloyd [b:1778] was known as ''of Rhagatt and Berth". Edward's eldest son John was born on 25th September, 1811, and he too was 'of Berth and Rhagatt'. John attended Westminster School and proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford. He did not pursue a formal career but was said to be a humorous poet, an excellent painter and a skilled photographer. He married Gertrude Godsall of Iscoed, Flintshire but died childless on 22nd May, 1865, only six years after his father. John and Gertrude had no children, so the Rhagatt estate passed to his brother, another Edward [b:1812], who married his first cousin Mar Maddocks of Fron Yw and took up residence at Berth.

Both Rhagatt and Berth then passed to their son, Edward Owen Vaughan Lloyd, a minor aged 8 years of age. After Eton, he gained a B.A. in 1876 at Balliol College, Oxford, and graduated M.A. in 1877. Until attaining his majority in 1878, the estates were managed by his aunt Gertrude.

On his twenty first birthday, E.O.V. Lloyd was presented with an illuminated address by the Mayor, Dr J. Medwyn Hughes, and Corporation of Ruthin. Edward Lloyd became quite a benefactor in the Ruthin district, making two gifts to St. Peter's church, viz., two large brass altar candlesticks to commemorate his sister Sophy's wedding to Captain John Rose of Chard, Somerset, and a large brass altar cross in memory of his uncle. In Llanbedr, he had constructed a Bath-stone reredos in the Church in 1879/80 as a memorial to Rev. Edward Thelwall, a former Rector. There is also a memorial to Edward Lloyd in the form of a medallion portrait by the renowned John Gibson, R.A., originally from the Conway area, but who made his fame and fortune at Rome. There are also two stained glass windows of 1898 to the memory of 'Mrs. Lloyd of Berth".
In 1891, Rhagatt was let to Thomas Vosper, a shipowner. E.O.V. Lloyd seems to have continued to reside at Berth even after his aunt's death in 1894, by which time, Rhagatt had become somewhat run-down.

The Denbighshire Free Press of March, 1914, reported a sale of contents, on the direction of a C.C. Mott, at Berth. Mott had resided there for the previous fourteen years and moved on 26th March to a smaller house, "White Gates", which he (or she) had built in Llanychan. C.C. Mott is something of an unknown quantity at the present time. He (or she) together with E.M. Mott wrote at least five novels in the 1920 and early '30s, while E.M. Mott had also published a volume of poetry.
The Wesleyan Methodist connection had (early C 18th) built a chapel on land leased from the Llanbedr Hall estate. When this lease expired, Lloyd negotiated an exchange of land with the then owner, J.F. Jesse. This put the old chapel in Lloyd's possession and the Wesleyan Methodists built themselves a new one nearby. Lloyd wanted the old chapel for his own purposes. He did not stint on its remodelling and installed stained glass windows depicting the Twelve Apostles. In c.1884, services were held each Sunday, Welsh services at 10.30 a.m., Sunday School at 2.30 p.m., and English services (Choral) at 6.30 p.m. There were choir practices during the week with special services on Saints Days and Holy Days. The Chaplain at this time was Mr. W. Ellis, who resided at The Chantry nearby, a house which Lloyd built especially for him. Lloyd paid the stipend of £100 per annum.

Initially, Lloyd's use of his Chapel was controversially 'High Church' and the Bishop, at the instigation of the Rector of the Parish, complained that services were not being conducted according to the principles of the Anglican Church. These differences were eventually resolved and the premises were licensed from 27th October, 1891 for the holding of Divine Services in English and in Welsh. The use of the English/Welsh languages thereafter alternated between St. Peter's at Llanbedr and Berth Chapel. Later, Lloyd leased Berth Chapel to the parish for ten years at a rent of one shilling per annum and it therefore became a Chapel of Ease of St. Peter's, Llanbedr. During this period, the 'Chaplain' became the 'Curate'.
A Harvest Service of 14th October, 1914, was the last service to have been held there when an announcement was made that Lloyd could not attend, being unwell. He died just a few days later. The Chapel was subsequently converted into a private house, as has the replacement Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.

E.O.V. Lloyd's participation in public life had been extensive. He took high office in both Denbighshire and Merionethshire and served on the Visiting Committee of H.M. Prison at Ruthin. He held a Directorship of the Corwen (Temperance) Hotels Ltd., and was President of Corwen Golf Club. He was also accorded bardic honours and given the name "Llwyd o'r Berth". Politically, he was described as "a strong Conservative" and was also a prominent Freemason. As already indicated, he was a keen and active churchman, taking Sunday School classes, reading lessons, on at least one occasion, in Welsh, and even preaching sermons when the occasion demanded. He served as a life governor of Denbigh Infirmary and as a governor of Ruthin School. To celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887, Lloyd offered [RL.H.B. No: 14] to present an organ for use in the Assembly Room at the Ruthin Town Hall.

In 1898, E.O.V. Lloyd married his cousin, Sydney Rose, of the Maddocks family, and this event occasioned the presentation by the Mayor and Corporation of Ruthin of another illuminated address, the work of Mr. Fred Walmsley, Governor of Ruthin Gaol. They had no children.

E.O.V. Lloyd died on 29th October, 1914, at the early age of 57, and was interred at Carrog Church. The two estates at Llanbedr and Corwen passed to his sister Sophy [1862-1953]. In the meantime, Sydney continued to reside at Rhagatt, but c.1925 she married her servant, a Serb. They went to live in Serbia where she died in 1927, leaving her fortune to her husband. Sophy married her cousin, Sydney's brother, viz., Captain John Rose and had two children, Ronald and Renee.
Her inheritance was conditional upon adopting the name 'Lloyd', so she became Mrs. Rose Lloyd. On the death of John Rose, Sophy married a military gentleman of the name Llousada and she thus became Mrs. Llousada Lloyd. She took up residence at Rhagatt, but her son Ronald was killed during the First World War. The second son, Gerald Alexander [b: 1917], inherited. Parts of the estate were sold in 1920 and overall fetched £60,000. The Berth portion fetched £15,700, though the house itself was not sold until c.1930.



History of Powis Fadog, Vols III, IV and V; "The Comprehensive Gazetteer, England and Wales." ed. J.H.F. Brabner, F.R.G.S., c.1900; Topographical Dictionary of Wales, Samuel Lewis, 1833; CCA2 T.R. Roberts, Dictionary of Eminent Welshmen, , 1908; Valmai Webb, ‘Rhagatt – ‘The Two Lloyd Families’, Clwyd Historian Nos: 33 (Autumn 1994) and 34 (Spring, 1995); R.H. Shingles, Rhuthun Local History Broadshee" No: 14, June, 1988; Jones' Handbook for Ruthin and Vicinity, 1884; Rhuddenfab's Handbook to Ruthin, c.1900; Centenary Souvenir Brochure, 1864-1964, The Parish Church of St. Peter, Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd, 1964; Hartsheath MSS. No: 651. 1819. I am grateful to Mr John Williams for a copy of The Sting of the Whip by C.C. and. E.M. Mott, and to Mrs. Valmai Webb for her advice.

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