Seeking the person behind the inscription: DAVID CHARLES JONES

D C Jones. Tombstone at Macpela graveyard Dinas

Photo credit Ann Hughes

The Reverend David Charles Jones was not originally from Dinas and indeed Jones is not a common surname in the village. However, he spent many happy holidays in the area and chose to be buried, with his wife and son, in the graveyard of Gedeon chapel.

Jones Wedding 1936 oval jpg_edited-1

Photo courtesy of Gareth Jones

If this were an Italian or French gravestone we would no doubt have an enamelled  photo attached to the stone that would tell us something more about him. This photo, taken in 1936 (the year of his death) shows a tall, strong, upright individual and his record as Minister of the London Welsh Borough Chapel for 46 years is that of a sociable, energetic, enthusiast. Under his leadership the chapel thrived. The congregation was large, the programme of social activities was extensive and the chapel choir (led by D C James) won in the National Eisteddfod and made gramophone recordings.

He was clearly a man who did not find it easy to slow down and relax because his summer holiday visits to Dinas were also busy times, but on these occasions he was engaged in a rather more clandestine activity.

During the first decade of the twentieth century the local newspaper published a number of long commentaries on Dinas. The author was ‘Gwynrug’ whose interests included archeology, etymology, history, poetry, religion and a fair bit of local chat and gossip. The identity of the writer was not known locally and it took John Hughes (local historian) some time and ingenuity to finally conclude that the pseudonym belonged to the Reverend D C Jones.

In my opinion ‘Gwynrug’ writes best when he is documenting the recent social history of the village and where his information comes from conversations with the older inhabitants.

Cwmyreglwys was a flourishing village in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The coast then was full of sloops, schooner, and bigger ships which laid up over the winter, and the sailors spent winter at home fishing and working slates in the rocks. In Cwmyreglwys they then made their own ropes, nets and creels. From the graveyard gate up alongside of the brook the place looked like a large ropeyard. The sailors played ball against the end wall of the Court in the graveyard, and smaller boys played ball against the north wall of the church. The village was resonant with life and play. The people made their own candles, brooms, baskets, spoons, ladles, clogs, moletraps, wool combing and spinning, collars for horses, barrows, carts, and almost every article used was home-made. In January the people of Cwmyreglwys gathered seaweed in order to manure their gardens with it. They also carried tons of it to the fields of surrounding farms in which they grew their potatoes. 

The Borough Welsh Congregational Chapel (5)I don’t know if D C Jones had any family connection to Dinas; maybe his wife’s family came from the area. We, however, definitely do have a family connection with this interesting man, because, in 1936, he celebrated the marriage of my father’s sister to James Jones in the Boro’ Chapel, bringing another Jones family to Dinas.

His death, in London in September 1936, was followed by a funeral service at the chapel. The coffin was then taken to Paddington station, where, as was traditional, hymn singing on the platform accompanied the start of his final journey back to Wales.

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About bookvolunteer

I'm passionate about books, about Oxfam and about making the world a better place. When I'm not filling the shelves in Oxfam Wilmslow, I might be found reading the books I've bought in the beautiful surroundings of North Pembrokeshire.
This entry was posted in History, Religion, Welsh language and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Seeking the person behind the inscription: DAVID CHARLES JONES

  1. simon682 says:

    Have to like this one. I have two sons; Charles (Charlie) and David and some think Johnson has sometimes been derived from son of Jones. I almost feel related.

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