John Ellis Jones (1807 – 1875), Printer of Caernarvon

John Ellis Jones d. 1875 - Portrait taken 1875

John Ellis Jones d. 1875 – Printer of Caernarvon

John Ellis Jones (1807 – 1875), printer of Caernarvon
The youngest son of David Ellis Jones and Catherine (ne. Hughes) Jones was born August 13, 1807 at Tyddyn Siôn (Gift House), Aber-erch, Carnarvonshire, (near Pwllheli). We have the following details from Eminent Welshmen, published in 1908:

“…for some years, in partnership with his brother (William Ellis Jones, 1795 – 1848), he kept a printing office in London. The monthly periodical, Y Cymro (The Welshman), …published in 1830-1831, was issued from his establishment. He was through life an ardent lover and unflinching advocate of civil and religious liberty. During the great Reform Bill agitation, he, in conjunction with his brother (William Ellis Jones), rendered valuable service to the case as authors and publishers of numerous productions on political subjects in Welsh, which were disseminated throughout the principality…”

From Ifano Jones, Printers and Printing in Wales, we also learn that in 1818, John Ellis was apprenticed to his cousin Lewis Evan Jones at his new shop in Caernarvon. He was just 11years old. By 1826 he was working as compositor in John A. Williams’s office at Swansea. Later he worked at the offices of Seren Gomer at Carmarthen, and eventually succeeded to Overseer at William Bird’s offices in Cardiff. John Ellis also worked in London at Eyre & Spottiswoode for two years, then returned to Caernarvon to work at the Caenarvon & Denbeigh Herald. In 1845 he became overseer at Hugh Humphrey’s office at Caernarvon, and held that post for fifteen years. When his cousin Lewis Evan Jones died in 1860, he bought his office and became Master Printer of that establishment, printing under his own imprint.

(The National Library of Wales gives John Ellis Jones publishing credit from that office somewhat earlier than does Ifano Jones. See his partial bibliography of surviving work, here.)

Beyond this, we know that John Ellis Jones, who wrote and published as “John Jones”, “Ellis Jones”, and “J. Jones”, is to be credited with preserving the most valuable record in our Welsh family history; as he was the author and publisher of Gweithoedd Cawrdaf: sef, y diweddar W.E. Jones: yn cynnwys ‘Gwyddfa y bardd’ a’r ‘Meudwy Cymreig (The Poetical Work of Cawrdaf, namely, the late W.E. Jones – includes ‘Snowdon Poet’ and  ‘The Welsh Hermit’), the biography of his brother, William Ellis Jones[21]…

…Through these sources we are made to understand that Ellis and his elder brother William were quite close, and in perfect agreement politically and philosophically (i.e., they were both committed to political as well as social reform and spent the greatest portion of their professional lives working in support of those aims.)  It can’t be over emphasized that in his earliest youth, John Ellis Jones, like his brother William, worked in the office of their cousin Lewis Evan Jones in Caernarfon. The close relationship that the two young men developed with their cousin Lewis – who was an unapologetic radical in his political views and associations – clearly influenced the two young men deeply.

John Ellis Jones stayed in Wales for the greatest part of his life and worked hard in support of progressive reforms. Beyond this, he appears to have been happy in his career, advancing with ease, while living in the reflected glow of his famous brother William, who he clearly idolized and loved dearly.

John Ellis Jones died December 20th, 1875 and was buried at Llanbeblig, Carnarvon.

For a catalog of his surviving works included at the National library of Wales, follow this link.


[21] John Jones (1807 – 1875) – Welsh Biography Online:


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