Edward Jones (1752-1824)

Edward Jones, a harper and antiquary from Llandderfel, Merioneth, moved to London around 1775. He was harper to the Prince of Wales, and was known as 'Bardd y Brenin' (King's Harper) when the prince was crowned King George IV. His publications reflect his interest in traditional Welsh music and the Welsh bardic tradition: The Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards (1784), The Bardic Museum (1802) and Hen Ganiadau Cymru (1820).

Iolo detested Edward Jones. He coined the nicknames 'Humstrum Jones' and 'Ned Taro Tant' (String-bashing Ned) for him, and ridiculed his position at the royal court: 'One Jones, who most curiously nicknames himself Bard and Harpist to the Prince of Wales. Poor Prince, how many coxcombs are there of this that and t'other thing, to the Prince of Wales, to the King &c- what impudence!' (NLW 13108B, p. 114)

Iolo's bitterness stemmed from the fact that Jones had not adequately recognized his debt to Iolo's friend John Walters in the volume The Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards. In addition, Iolo's papers had been confiscated by the authorities after Jones alerted the Privy Council to Iolo's association with a treasonous society. (Iolo Morganwg to Edward Jones, 1 January 1794) He may also have been jealous of the recognition and praise that Edward Jones received as an antiquary.

Edward Jones did not share Iolo's views on pseudo-druidism and Iolo was sorely disappointed when Jones did not include his ideas in his own writings on the subject. Part of the story is related in a letter Iolo penned to his wife, Margaret (Iolo Morganwg to Margaret Williams, 27 August 1794). Edward Jones attended the Gorsedd held on Primrose Hill in September 1792, but Iolo was reluctant to allow him a prominent role in subsequent Gorsedd meetings.