Jenny Jones

This page includes:

  • Introduction
  • The Maid of Llangollen
  • The Original Jenny Jones
  • The name ‘Jenny Jones’
  • The Lyricist
  • The Composer
  • Other Famous Jenny Joneses
  • Souvenirs
    • Illustrations of Jenny Jones
    • Illustrations of Edward Morgan
    • China, brass and other souvenirs
  • Songs about Jenny Jones with full transcriptions of the words
  • Transcriptions of references to Jenny Jones in chronological order

Jenny Jones was the subject of a famous ballad ‘Jenny Jones’ (sometimes known as ‘Sweet Jenny Jones’ and confused with ‘The Maid of Llangollen’). It was very popular between 1836 and about 1860.
The song tells of the love that Edward Morgan, a sailor, had for her and how he had travelled the world and had seen many famous people, but wished to return to Llangollen and make Jenny Jones, Jenny Morgan.
Charles Mathews claimed that he based the ballad on the story of Jenny Jones, a milkmaid, and a ploughman called David Morgan both of whom worked at a farm at Pontblyddyn near Mold where Mathews was staying while working as an architect in north-east Wales during 1825-1826. He set the words to the air ‘Cader Idris’ which he heard played by a harper at an inn in Llangollen.
He performed the ballad in his burletta ‘He would be an actor’ in London in 1826 and it immediately became very popular, with the words published on many editions of broadsheets and in collections of songs and the music with words published as sheet music.

A song known as ‘The Maid of Llangollen’, to music by James C. Clarke was published by 1826 and several times subsequently, including with a version with the music transcribed by Brinley Richards, published in about 1867. The words do not mention Jenny Jones but the song might sometimes have been confused with the famous ballad of that name.

Although in the ballad she is associated with Llangollen it is said that the original Jenny Jones and her fiancé lived at a farm at Pontblyddyn near Mold where the composer of the words, Charles James Mathews stayed while working as an architect during part of 1825 and 1826.  Pontblyddyn is a small village outside Leeswood, in Flintshire about 8 miles from Wrexham and 15 from Llangollen.

It is very likely that there were many Welsh women called Jenny Jones during the 19th century (many are recorded in the family notices columns of Welsh newspapers). Several visitors to Wales claimed to have met the original Jenny Jones; one a newspaper reported her marriage and another her death, but the facts do not correlate with each other.
The name Jenny Jones became famous and was occasionally used to refer to a generic Welsh woman. It was also used occasionally as a pseudonym in Eisteddfod competitions.

The words of the ballad were by the English comedian Charles James Mathews, (1803-1878) son of Charles (Charlie) Mathews (1776-1835).

Charles James Mathews, worked as an architect for the Welsh Iron and Coal Mining Company at Coed Talwn, near Mold, North Wales for nearly two years while he designed ‘a little town’ for the mine workers. He was accompanied by his father ‘the celebrated Charles Mathews’ (1776-1835) on his first visit to the house at Heartsheath which he was to redesign for the colliery manager.

During his stay in north Wales, Mathews heard the air ‘Cader Idris’ played by ‘a venerable white-bearded Druid’ at an inn in Llangollen and immediately set words to it. His ballad was based on the relationship between two of the servants at the farm at Pontblyddyn where he was staying: ‘a pretty little Welsh dairymaid, named Jenny Jones, and a simple ploughman, called David Morgan.’ Mathews later moved from Pontblyddyn to nearby Plas Teg, one of the most important Jacobean houses in Wales. During his leisure time, C.J. Mathews wrote the words of other songs which he sent to his father in London to perform. He also planned to organise theatrical events in Mold. After leaving Wales, he travelled abroad and then settled in London where he became a professional actor.

Sometime later, Mathews performed the ballad in London to a large audience at a private house which included John Parry (Bardd Alaw; 1776-1851) who introduced himself as the composed of the music. Mathews did not believe him at first, being convinced that the tune was an ancient one.

Charles James Mathews performed Jenny Jones in his Burletta ‘He would be an actor’ at Madame Vestris’ Royal Olympic Theatre in 1836. The English words and music were published in about 1838. In the same year an Operetta ‘Jenny Jones’ by Fox Cooper, based on the ballad was performed on 1st March and was immediately published. There was also a pantomime called ‘Sweet Jenny Jones’.

The words were translated into Welsh and both versions were published separately on many different ‘broadsheets’ (single sheets of paper with the words of one or more songs) without the music. The English words were also published in song books and the tune and words were sung by Morris dancers.

The music, an air, was composed by John Parry (Bardd Alaw, 1776-1851) who won an Eisteddfod prize for it in 1804, naming it ‘Cader Idris’ but it was subsequently sometimes known as ‘Jenny Jones’ or ‘The Maid of Llangollen’.

The ballad was often performed from 1838 as a song or as an air on the harp, or performed by a brass band, at Eisteddfodau and concerts (especially on St David’s Day), including at a concert at the Crystal Palace, London, in 1851. Many versions of the music, with English and Welsh titles, are in the collections of the National Library of Wales and the air was sometimes the subject for variations in Eisteddfod competitions.

(1) Jenny Jones was presumably not an uncommon name and two other famous Welsh Jenny Joneses are known. A Mrs Jenny Jones accompanied her husband to the Battle of Waterloo where she acted as nurse. She died in 1884 at the age of 94 and is buried at St Mary’s Church, Tal-y-Llyn. She is said to be the subject of a children’s game.
Gomme, Alice Bertha, A dictionary of British folk-lore, Part 1 The traditional games of England, Scotland and Ireland, vol. 1, (1894), pp. 260-283; Warner, Lisa, ‘Jenny Jones’ and ‘Kostroma’ in Folklore, 81, (1970), 276-9

(2) Prince Arthur, Queen Victoria’s 7th child, who was born on the 1st May 1850 had a Welsh wet nurse, called Jane Jones (nee Lloyd) of Llanefydd, [Llannefydd] Denbighshire. She worked for the Royal family from May 1850 until April 1851. In some newspaper reports she was referred to as Jenny Jones.

Jenny Jones, normally with her milk can, was depicted in many prints, brass bells, horse brasses, china and other souvenirs.
Ships, horses, inns and public houses (including the Jenny Jones Inn at Llangollen) were called ‘Jenny Jones’


 Original drawing and watercolour ‘Jenny Jones’, by J.C. Rowlands, 1849 NLW PB3056







Another incomplete original drawing and watercolour, with only the Welsh hat completed. Signed JCR [J.C. Rowland] 1849, National Museum Wales A 16287


Print ‘Jenny Jones’ based on the above, with the musical notation of the song beneath, published by ‘H Humphreys, Castle Square, Carnarvon’

Jenny is shown wearing a silk Welsh hat and goffered cap; a long-sleeved bodice with a kerchief tucked into it; a check shawl folded lengthwise and tucked into the check flounced apron; a striped skirt and small shoes. She is knitting and carrying her tin can and is set in a landscape one mile from Llangollen.




Lithographs ‘Edward Morgan’ and ‘Jenny Jones’, by E. Walker after J. C. Rowland (National Museum of Wales 98.392).

Print: Version of ‘Jenny Jones’ with music. Has some of the music to the song ‘Jenny Jones’, words by Charles Mathews, music by John Parry, published by Rock and Co. (Private collection)

Watercolour, Jenny Jones knitting  ‘JCR [John Cambrian Rowlands] 1849’, National Museum of Wales A 16286

Incomplete watercolour, Jenny Jones knitting  ‘JCR [John Cambrian Rowlands] 1849’ National Museum of Wales A 16287

Print, Jenny Jones, published by Rock and Co, 1860. In this late print, Jenny Jones is shown without her milk can. National Museum of Wales: 32/22,895

Postcard: ‘Jenny Jones’, published by Frith. NLW (201)

Anon, hand-coloured print of Jenny Jones, printed by Kohler, published by W. Spooner with the music to the song. 1860s. She is wearing a silk hat with large bow over a goffered cap; long-sleeved check V neck bodice with a kerchief tucked into it. The fabric around her shoulder may be a whittle or siol magu. She is knitting and has her distinctive tin can. One of the unusual features of this print is that ringlets of her hair are showing: it is rare for any hair to show in prints of women in Welsh costume. NLW PB8824

gps0906Anon, hand-coloured print of Jenny Jones, similar to the above, with musical notation of the song beneath. Artist: unknown (J.C. Rowland?) Publisher: Spooner, W.; printer: Kohler, W.

She is wearing a silk hat with large bow over a goffered cap; long-sleeved check V neck bodice with a kerchief tucked into it. The fabric around her shoulder and across her chest may be a whittle or siol magu. One of the unusual features of this print is that ringlets of her hair are showing: it is rare for any hair to show in prints of women in Welsh costume: it is normally completely tucked inside the cap, but it is possible that this indicates that she was not yet married. However, there are suggestions that caps were not worn until a woman was married, so the presence of a goffered cap might be the result of artistic licence.


Print of Jenny Jones, published by Rock and Co, 1852 and 1860









Jenny Jones, part of a set of poor copies of earlier prints. Published  S. and H. Levi, 66 Leadenhall Street, London, late 19th century.







CHINA SOUVENIRS (just some of many are illustrated here)


Jenny Jones and Ned Morgan (private collection)








Figurine of Jenny Jones with can and knitting, 11.5 cms high.

(Ceredigion Museum, 2008.27.17)








Edward Morgan and Jenny Jones, 10.7 cms high.

(Ceredigion Museum, 2008.27.17)









Brass bells of Jenny Jones, (Private collection)









Edward Morgan, Jenny Jones’ fiancé was the subject of print no. 1  in Rock and Co.’s numbered series, dated 1.5.1853; Jenny Jones has been listed as number 2 (but no numbered copies have been seen.) She was the subject of one of their prints.







Title: Jenny Jones
First line: My name’s Edward Morgan, I lived at Llangollen,
Words by Charles James Mathews c. 1826
Words published on broadsheets and in songbooks (from 1832?)
Words and music (John Parry’s air ‘Cader Idris’) published from 1838.

My name’s Edward Morgan, I lived at Llangollen,
The vale of St. Tafyd, the flower of North Wales:
My father and mother, too, live at Llangollen,
Good truth I was born in the sweetest of vales,
Yes, indeed, and all countries so foreign and beautiful,
That little valley I prize far above,
For indeed in my heart I do love that Llangollen,
And sweet Jenny Jones too, in truth I do love !

For twenty long years I have plough’d the salt ocean,
And served my full time in a man-o’-war ship;
And ’deed, goodness knows, we had bloodshot engagements,
And many a dark storm on the pitiless deep.
And I’ve seen all the lands that are famous in story,
And many fair damsels to gain me have strove;
But I said in my heart I do love that Llangollen,
And sweet Jenny Jones too, in truth I do love.

I’ve seen good king George and Lord May’r of London,
With kings; of far countries, and many a queen;
The great Pope of Rome, and the Duchess Angouleine,
Up from King George to Sir Watkin I’ve seen.
But no, not princesses, kings, dukes, nor commissioners,
No, goodness knows it, my envy could move;
For indeed in my heart I do love that Llangollen,
And sweet Jenny Jones too, in truth I do love.

I parted a lad from the vale of my fathers,
And left Jenny Jones then, a cocket young Lass;
But now I‘m return’d a storm-beaten old mariner,
Jenny from Jones into Morgan shall pass.
And we’ll live on our cheese, and our ale in contentment,
And long through our dear native valley we’ll rove;
For indeed in our hearts we both love this Llangollen,
And sweet Jenny Morgan with truth will I love. [I do love]


Title: Jenny Jones
First line: Fy new yw Ned Morgan, Sy’n byw yn Llangollen
Translation of the above, date unknown. The exact spelling and use of accents varies from version to version.

Fy new yw Ned Morgan, Sy’n byw yn Llangollen,
Gwir ddyffryn Sant Dewi, pur harddwch ein gwlad
Ac Yno fe’, ganwyd mewn llanerch brydferthaf,
Llangollen yw cartref fy man a fy nhad;
Mwy gwerthfawr gan I ydyw’r Dyffryn bach yma,
Na holl wledydd tramor, er tegwch en tir,
Oblegid o’m calon ‘rwy’n caru Llangollen,
A Jenny Jones hefyd a garaf mewn gwir.

Am ugain hir flwyddi y bu’m ar y moroedd,
Gwas’naethais fy amser ar long-ryfel fawr,
Fe ŵyr y Daioni am frwydrau tra gwaedlyd,
A’r stormydd a gawsom oedd dywyll eu gwawr;
Me welais y tiroedd sydd fawr mewn hanesion,
A cheisio fy enill bu llawer merch glir,
Ond d’wedais, “Om calon ‘rwy’n caru Llangollen,
A Jenny Jones hefyd a garaf mewn gwir.”

Me walias Sion frenin, ac hefyd Maer Llundain,
Breninoedd, a llawer brenines gwlad bell;
Y Pab mawr o Rufain, a Duces Dangolen,
I fynu o Sior deryn i Syr Watkin sy well.
Na, na, nid breninoedd, na thywysogesau,
Ma duciaid na swyddwyr all newyd fy mryd;
Yn wir, o fy nghalon ‘rwy’n caru Llangollen,
A Jenny Jones hefyd a garaf I gyd.

I ffordd’r es yn fachgen o ddyffryn fy nhadau,
Pan oedd Jenny Jones yn bert eneth fach lân;
Ond deuais yn ol wedi ‘nghuro gan stormydd,
Ac nid Jenny Jones, ond Siân Morgan fydd Siân;
Cawn fyw ar ein cwrw a’n caws, mewn distawrwydd,
A thrwy’r hoffus ddyffryn ymrodiwn yn nghyd,
Yn wir o’n calonau y carwn Llangollen,
A charaf Siân Morgan tra byddwy’n y byd.


Title: Answer to Jenny Jones, Jenny Jones to Edward Morgan
First Line: Though many long years have gone by since, dear Edward
Words by: L.M. Thornton, (died 1888) Author of “The Happy Change.”
Publisher: Walker, Printer, Durham
Date: [ca.1850?]

Title: Jenny Jones
First line: Bûm innau’n rhodianna yn nyffryn Llangollen
Words by John Ceiriog Hughes (Ceiriog) 1832-87
Music by Alaw (John Parry [Bardd Alaw] 1776-1851): (Sweet) Jenny Jones

Bûm innau’n rhodianna yn nyffryn Llangollen,
Yn dringo y mynydd i Gaer Dinas Brân,
Yn edrych i fyny at Gynwyd a Chorwen
Tra mynydd Rhiwabon yn deifio gan dân.
Mi a welais lân ddyfroedd aberoedd y Berwyn,
A da ardal Dowrdu ar aswy a de,
Ond mi welais lân fwthyn, nis gwn i beth wedyn,
Nis gallwn i weled dim byd ond efe.

Disgynnais o’r castell a chroesais yr afon,
Fel curai fy nghalon anghofiaf fi byth;
Ac fel heb yn wybod i’m traed, ar fy union
At dy Jenny Jones ymgyfeiriais yn syth.
Ac er bod hi yn eistedd ym mysg ei chwiorydd,
A’i thad wrth ei hochor yn siarad â fi,
Gyda’i brawd o’r tu arall, nis gwn i mo’r herwydd,
Ni allwn i weled neb byw ond hyhi.

Yn eglwys Llangollen, tra’r clychau yn canu,
Os euthum yn wirion, mi wn pwy a’m gwnaeth,
Unasom â’n gilydd, byth byth i wahanu
Yn dlawd neu’n gyfoethog, yn well neu yn waeth.
Yna da gennyf wybod,’nenwedig fy hunan,
Mae Jenny yn gwybod yn well na myfi,
Mae yn dda gennyf ganu, mae’n dda gennyf arian,
Ond ni allaf garu dim byd heblaw hi.

Title: Jenny Jones
First line: One morn from Llangollen’s dim violet valley
Translation of the Welsh by Alfred P Graves (1846-1931)

One morn from Llangollen’s dim violet valley
Lighthearted I clambered to Caer Dinas Bran.
O’er Cynwyd and Corwen I saw the sun sally,
Ruabon’s far ridges faint blushed with the dawn.
As I look’d, Berwyn’s waters to silver were smitten,
And Dee danced in diamonds to left and to right;
But when one lonely cottage my lover’s eyes lit on,
Sure, ev’rything else faded out of my sight.

From the castle downhill like a deer I went racing,
With a heart pit-a-patting I leapt the ford stones;
Till my feet through the air, like a pair of swifts chasing,
Swept me straight to the doorstep of sweet Jenny Jones.
She sat by her father and I by her brother,
Her sisters, like roses, ranged round me for choice;
But of all and of any I only saw Jenny,
And listened alone to each tone of her voice.

In the church of Llangollen when joybells were chiming,
If once my wits wandered, right well I knew why.
‘Twas Jenny’s ‘I take thee!’ to heav’n sent them climbing,
Until her soft pinch pulled me back from the sky.
I love a good neighbour, I love rest from labour,
Good music and preaching, my pipe and my purse;
But above all an any, I love my own Jenny,
For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse.


Title: The Maid of Llangollen
First line: Though lowly my cot, [sometimes lot]
Music by James C. Clarke
Words published in:
Undated broadsheet
The National Songster; a Collection of Scotch, English, and Irish Standard Popular Songs (Glasgow 1847).

Music published in the following. There is some uncertainty that these are all the same tune.
Edward Riley, Riley’s Flute Melodies, Vol. 4, (1826), p. 73,
W H Broom, (London n.d.)

Title: The Maid of Llangollen – Ballad sung by Mr Philipps, Mr Parry Junr. and Mad[ame?] Stockhausen at the London and Provincial Concerts.
Composer: James C. Clarke
Publisher: Mori & Lavenu, 28, New Bond St. London, 5th Edition, c. 1827

Blake’s Young Flutist’s Magazine (1833)
Kerr, James S. Merry Melodies, vol. 3, (c. 1875); No. 374, p. 41
Melody transcribed for the Pianoforte by Brinley Richards, (1819-1885) (London, [1867])
Brinley Richards; John Ceiriog Hughes The Songs of Wales: (Caneuon Cymru), (London : Boosey and Hawkes, [pref. 1879])

Though lowly my cot,
And though poor my estate,
I see without envy
The wealthy and great.
Contented and proud,
A poor shepherd to be,
While the Maid of Llangollen
Smiles sweetly on me.
When the maid, etc.

My way o’er the mountain,
I cheerfully take,
In the morn when the song birds,
Their melody wake;
And at eve I return
With a heart full of glee,
For the Maid of Llangollen
Smiles sweetly on me,
When the maid, etc.

Glenarvon’s rich lord passes
Scornf’ully by,
But wealth can ne’er make him
So happy as I;
Then prouder than ever,
The proudest I’ll be,
While the Maid of Llangollen,
Smiles sweetly on me.
While the Maid of Llangollen,
Smiles sweetly on me.

Title: Miss Jenny Ap-Tommas, Ap-Shenkin, Ap-Jones
Composer: Redmond, Walter.
Words by: Harry Hunter
Publisher: New York : Gordon and Son, S. T
Date: 1878

Another edition:
Publisher:  Francis Bros. and Day, Blenheim House, 351, Oxford St. [London]
Lithographer (of the front cover which includes a woman in a Welsh hat and shawl): T. Packer
Date: 1881


There are 5263 hits on Welsh Newspapers on line for “Jenny Jones”, many of them referring to boats.

The air ‘Cader Idris’ was composed by John Parry (Bardd Alaw, 1776-1851) and won an Eisteddfod competition in 1804. He claimed that it was published soon after.
The Life of Charles James Mathews [1803-1878], chiefly autobiographical with Selections from his correspondence and speeches. Edited by Charles Dickens, (1879), pp. 170-186
I have been unable to find a published version of the song before about 1822 and there is no published reference to an eisteddfod in 1804 other than to one proposed to be held in Harlech and possibly another in London but the following confirms that the Gorsedd met somewhere:
“We hear that the exalted title of Bard was unanimously bestowed on Iolo Morgannwg (Mr. Edward Williams, of Flemington, Glamorganshire), by a Congress of Cambrian Minstrels lately assembled in North Wales, an honour, rarely, if ever bestowed by them on a native of one of the Southern counties.” [No more information about an Eisteddfod].
“The Cambrian” November 10, 1804

Parry published some Welsh Melodies but not ‘Cader Idris’
A selection of Welsh melodies, With Appropriate English Words, Adapted for the Voice, with Symphonies and Accompaniments for the Piano Forte or Harp by John Parry, (London, 1809)

The words of a song ‘I crossed in its beauty thy Dee’s Druid water’ by J.H. Wiffen, were published with the air ‘Cader Idris’.
A selection of Welsh melodies, with symphonies and accompaniments by John Parry, part 2, (1822-1829), pp. 26-28
The collectors’ labours have been successfully continued in the present century by the late John Parry, Miss M. J. Williams, Mr. John Thomas, and others. The first of these did something to confound existing confusion by inserting a tune as national, under the name of “Cader Idris,” in his volume, and claiming the same as his own composition, when it became popular under the name of “Jenny Jones,” with the verses written to it by Charles Mathews; his vindication was stronger than can be given to many of the claims to tunes allowed to a sister nation—“I am a Welshman,” said he, “and therefore my tune must be a Welsh melody.”
MacFarren, G.A., The National Music of our Native Land, The Musical Times, Volume 14, August 1st 1870, p. 554

Charles James Mathews, who wrote the words of the famous song, wrote an autobiography which was edited by Charles Dickens.
‘During my sojourn at Plas Teg [where he lived during the latter part of his stay in north Wales], we made a brilliant equestrian expedition to Llangollen … After a charming ramble up to Castell Dinas Bran we had a jolly dinner at the hotel and during the repast we were entertained by a venerable white-bearded Druid, one of the most splendid specimens of his craft I ever encountered. The old fellow was a noted artist, and had a fine collection of all the most popular melodies and among them one I had never heard before. He said it was some twenty years since he had first met with it. It was called “Cader Idris”; and I made him play it over to me until I had learnt it correctly. Elated with my discovery, for such it really seemed to be – none of my friends having heard it before any more than myself – I lost no time in putting words to it, and the result was a great success.
At the picturesque farmhouse at Pontblyddyn, in which I lived, was a pretty little Welsh dairymaid, named Jenny Jones, and a simple ploughman, called David Morgan. The ballad I then composed to my newly discovered national air, bearing the young lady’s name, has since made the interesting couple familiar to London ears. …
This, of course, was years before I had any idea of going upon stage …
I had been singing my ballad one evening, at the house of some friends in London, to a tolerably large party when an old gentleman in a voluminous white choker and a shiny suit of black, looking very like a Methodist parson came up to me with a very serious face to remonstrate with me, I feared for the levity I had been guilty of, and to my surprise said:
“My dear Sir, allow me to express to you the great gratification the perfect little ballad you have just sung has afforded me, and to assure you that I appreciate the honour you have done me in selecting for its illustration an air of my humble composing.”
With a look of ineffable pity I answered the poor maniac: “I am sorry, dear sir, to rob you of so pleasant a delusion, but unfortunately the air is one I picked up myself, years ago, among the Welsh mountains and is, I flatter myself, quite original and hitherto unknown.”
“Pardon me in my turn dear sir”, said the old gentleman, smiling “if I inform you that the air in question was composed by me for the Eisteddfod in 1804 [London?], obtaining the prize at that festival. I named it ‘Cader Idris’ and I shall have great pleasure in sending you the music, published at the time with my name attached to it.”
Patatras! Down went my great antiquarian discovery, and I was left desolate.
The old gentleman was John Parry, [Bardd Alaw ; 1776-1851] the Welsh composer the father of the illustrious John whose genius has delighted thousands; and when, long afterwards, I introduced the ballad of “Jenny Jones” in my piece of ‘He would be an actor,’ and it got to be whistled about the street he presented me with a handsome silver cup, with a complimentary inscription in most elegant Welsh, in commemoration of the event.
The Life of Charles James Mathews [1803-1878], chiefly autobiographical with Selections from his correspondence and speeches. Edited by Charles Dickens, (1879), pp. 170-186

The words of Jenny Jones were published but with no indication of the tune.
Hodgson’s National Songster, (London n.d. [1832])
The Quaver; Or, Songster’s Pocket Companion: … (London, 1844), p. 43 and subsequent publications

1834 (by)           
Broadsides of Jenny Jones were published for B.W. Dickinson of York.

Concert, Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod, Wednesday’s concert
The ballad by Mr. Parry, junior of the ‘Maid of Llangollen” accompanying himself on the harp, was given with a touching simplicity and grace, honoured with a deserved encore. …
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 23rd August 1834

Charles Matthews (1776-1835), the father of the writer if the ballad is said to have sung Jenny Jones on his deathbed saying: ‘I think if I were dead, that song would restore me to life’. A note records: ‘This ballad, first sung in public in 1837 by Charles [the son, (1803-1878)] was written during a sojourn in Wales in 1826 when the prettiness of the air suggested the words.’
Mathews, Mrs, ‘Memoirs of Charles Mathews, Comedian’, vol. 4, (1839), p. 406 

The melody of the characteristic song, Jenny Jones which Mr C. Mathews sings with harp accompaniment at the Olimpic, in his burletta of ‘He would be an Actor’, is the composition of Mr Parry, who wrote it about 30 years ago, and called it Cader Idris (the Chair of Idris.) The air is very well known in the Principality, where Mr Mathews heard it some years ago, and wrote the words to it which he sings in the burletta.
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 12th November 1836
The performance of ‘He Would be an Actor’ was reviewed in The Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences etc. (5th November 1836), p. 716


The script of the operetta ‘Jenny Jones’ by Fox Cooper was published.
Pattie’s Modern Stage: A Collection of the Most Approved and Popular Dramas … Printed from the Acting Copies as Performed at London Theatres, Vol. 1 (1838), pp. 2-23

The Grand Cambrian [Fancy] Ball at Willis’s rooms.
Jenny Jones set of quadrille were danced and Lady Charlotte Guest came as Jenny Jones.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Tuesday, May 29, 1838
Monmouthshire Merlin, 2nd June 1838

Song sung to the air of Jenny Jones
The Cambrian, 10th March 1838

Swansea Theatre. Last evening, Shakspeare’s tragedy of Julius Ceasar was revived. After the tragedy, a very laughable musical farce was brought out, called Jenny Jones, in which Mrs. Woolds sustained the character of a Welsh girl, like a native.
The Cambrian, 28th July 1838,
The same was performed at Cardiff Theatre.
The Cambrian, 27th October 1838

Swansea Theatre. The Young Widow, Jenny Jones, excited the risible faculties of all present.
The Cambrian, 4th August 1838

Our talented countryman, Mr. Parry (Bardd Alaw), the celebrated editor of the Welsh Melodies, is about paying a professional farewell visit to South Wales, accompanied by Miss Woodham, and Mr. Parry, jun., of the Queen’s Concerts of Ancient Music, and Philharmonic Concerts, London. All lovers of harmony, especially those who admire the music of Cambria, will, no doubt, look for the coming treat with anxiety – and we venture to predict that no part of the evening’s entertainment will afford more delight than his favourite and popular ballad of “Jenny Jones.” His concert will be given in Abergavenny, in the early part of September under the patronage of Lady Hall, Llanover.
Monmouthshire Merlin, 18th August 1838

Several other references to the Ballad ‘Jenny Jones’ being sung in Wales


The ballad and music were published:

The Favorite Welsh ballad of Jenny Jones written by Charles Mathews & sung by him … in the burletta of “He would be an actor” ; composed by John Parry. London : Published for the proprietor of Mme. Vestris’ Royal Olympic Theatre, by Cramer, Addison, & Beale, [1838]

Welsh version:
Parry, John, Jenny Jones ac Edward Morgan Llangollen : yn Gymraeg ac yn Saesoneg, Tôn – Cadair Idris, [gan] John Parry (Bardd Alaw); Y ferch garaf fi, Tôn – “Llwyn On”, [gan] Gwilym Morganwg. Caernarfon : Argraffwyd gan H. Humphreys, [n.d.]

Competition sponsored by H Hobhouse Esq. For the best set of variations to Mr Parry’s Air of Cadair Idris (Jenny Jones.) [Seven competitors] Lady Greenly won?
[At the dinner] Mr. Rolls, at the request of Sir Charles Morgan, favoured the company with the song of “Jenny Jones,” which he gave with his usual spirit and vivacity, and was loudly cheered.
Monmouthshire Merlin, 13th October 1838, 20th October 1838
The Musical World, Volume 11, 6th September, 1838, p. 106

The next anniversary of this society will be held on St. Thomas’s Day, 1838.
Competition 10, For the best Song: subject, youth, praising his love, tune, “Jenny Jones”

A parody on the song Jenny Jones (about an Irish man wishing to be back home with Norah McShane was performed.

Second Liverpool Eisteddfod
Competition 5. To the best singers, in parts, consisting of not less than three singers, – Song, “Jenny Jones”
The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for the Principality, 5th March 1839

Brecon Cymreigyddion Society, St David’s Day
After this the Air of “Jenny Jones” was well sung by Mr Thomas Evans, accompanied on the harp.
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 9th March 1839

Jenny Jones” by the Clifton harper followed.
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 6th April 1839

August, 1839
John Parry toured North Wales and stayed at Capel Curig where ‘The Welsh harper played the air of Cader Idris, better known as Jenny Jones in compliment to the composer, the writer of these sketches, who heard it sung, whistled and hummed throughout the whole tour.’
Parry, J., (Bardd Alaw), A trip to North Wales, containing much information relative to that interesting Alpine country. London : Whittaker and Co. ; Caernarvon : W. Pritchard, [1840], p. 35)

Marriage: August 19th at Ellesmere Mr. Edward Davies a gallant soldier who served in the Peninsular war to Jenny Jones daughter of the celebrated Jenny Jones, of Llangollen, Denbighshire.
Monmouthshire Merlin, 31st August 1839
[If this was the daughter of the Jenny Jones after whom the ballad was named, then the original Jenny much have been married in about 1820, five years before Mathews met her at Pontblyddyn.]

Theatre Merthyr Tydfil
Under the Patronage of the Borough of Merthyr. On Wednesday, September 11th, ‘The Soldier’s Daughter’, ‘Jenny Jones’, and ‘The Turnpike Gate’ [were performed] for the benefit of Messrs. Turner and Cameron.
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 7th September 1839

THE Waits have favoured us with some excellent midnight music during the past week. By the way we wonder when the custom first began of playing ‘Jenny Jones’, ‘I’d be a butterfly’, ‘Drops of brandy’, &c., in commemoration of the angel melodies, which celebrated the birth of the worlds Redeemer. Nothing in our opinion can be more inappropriate.
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 14th December 1839

Several other reports of the song Jenny Jones performed at concerts, Eisteddfodau etc.

Mr. Llewelyn Williams having performed on the harp the air of “Jenny Jones” with variations,
The Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette, 20th March 1847

1847 Capel Curig
Madam Vestris and Mr Charles Mathews, the celebrated actors, have been in the habit of visiting this romantic place and making a long stay every summer. It was here that they composed the admired song, Jenny Jones.
Anon, The Cambrian Tourist Guide and Companion, containing a concise account and description of North Wales: chiefly in the counties of Merioneth and Caernarvon with their various Antiquities, Mountains, Lakes, Waterfalls, Towns, Principal Inns, Roads, etc. (1847), p. 119 [and other versions of the guide?]

Jane Jones (subsequently referred to as Jenny Jones) was a wet nurse to Prince Arthur.

Harp solo, Jenny Jones, played.
North Wales Chronicle, September 18, 1851

You must know something of the Vale of Llangollen, so famed for its young and beautiful Jenny Jones the maid of Llangollen celebrated in song.
Letter from Thomas Jevons to his son W.S. Jevons, Llangollen, 17th June, 1855
R.D. Collison Black, (ed) Papers and Correspondence of William Stanley Jevons: Volume 2, (1973, 1985), p. 153

Singer dressed as Jenny Jones
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, October 2, 1858

Y mae hon wrth y drws. Bydd yn un ogoneddus. Y mae yn ddiau yr ymwel llawero filoedd a’r lle. Y mae yno atyniad mawr. Llangollen yw cartref “Sweet Jenny Jones,” a dyma ‘Ddyffryn St. Dewi,” pur harddwch ein gwlad.’ Deallwn fod llu mawr yn bwriadu myned o’r parthan hyn yno. Ai nid oes neb fentra gyiuno i redeg trains rhad yno? Fe dalai yr anturiaeth yn gampus.
Y Gwladgarwr, 4th September 1858

In the month of June, 1848, I quitted Holland in company with two friends, who were on their way to north Wales. We spent three months delightfully in the lovely neighbourhood of Dolgellau, and of Machynlleth, with occasional visits to Mallwyd where dwelt at that time the original Jenny Jones so celebrated in song. The last time that I was there she played to me on the Welsh harp. She was then handsome, but too fair and must have possessed a splendid figure.
Stretton, Charles, Memoirs of a chequered Life, (London, Richard Bentley, 1862), vol. 2, p. 13

Welshmen at Sheerness
One of the chief attractions of the evening [concert] was sung … by a genuine Cymraegess [who] presented herself … in the new Jenny Jones style, wearing the Welsh hat, red petticoat and the old fashioned country gown.
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Monday, August 18, 1873

The day fixed for the wedding was Tuesday, April 22. The bridegroom was Humphrey Lloyd Williams, Esq., Vronheulog, Dolgelley, and the bride, Annie Clara, second daughter of Hugh Reveley, Esq., J.P., and D.L. for the county of Merioneth. It was said that the wedding was to be á la Jenny Jones, that the bride and bridesmaids would be arrayed in Welsh costume, and consequently expectations of seeing something novel were raised. When the wedding guests began to arrive at the Parish Church a little after eleven o’clock, however, it was seen that the costume was that of the most approved London fashion, or, at least, that it was not Welsh.
Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard, 25.4.1879

Mrs. Edwards, the aged proprietress of the Hand Hotel, Llangollen, died suddenly on September 10. She was a celebrated Welsh beauty, and was the subject of the popular song, “Maid of Llangollen”, by Brinley Richards (1819-1885).
The Sydney Morning Herald (New South Wales, Australia) Tue 20 Oct 1885, Page 4
Many visitors to the beautiful Vale of Llangollen, says the Pall Mall Gazette, will hear with regret of the death of the kindly old lady who kept the “Hand” Hotel in the village, and who made it a point personally to say good-bye to all her visitors, and to recommend them not to leave the place without seeing Plas Newydd. Her old-world courtesy (however early in the morning it might be, she wore a black silk dress) was very pleasing. No doubt she was the subject of Brinley Richards’s song “The Maid of Llangollen …”
Red Dragon, the National Magazine of Wales, September, 1885

Querry: {Newspapers have reported that the Jenny Jones after whom the song by Brinley Richards was written has died. I do not believe that she was the original Jenny Jones, nor did Richards write the song.}
Bonwm, Bye-gones, relating to Wales and the border counties, Oct. 21, 1885, p. 307
Bonwm asks whether there was an original of “Jenny Jones.” Mr Charles James Matthews, in his autobiography, says the original of “Jenny Jones” was a pretty dairymaid at the farmhouse where he lodged at Pontblyddyn. He was then an architect employed by the North Wales Coal Co. at Coed Talwn. On one occasion he was at Llangollen where a white-bearded Druid taught him the air “Cadair Idris”. He then composed the ballad, the Dramatis Personae being the above-named Jenny Jones and David Morgan, a ploughman at the above-named farm. It would be interesting to know whether any record remains at Pontbleiddyn of this celebrated couple. Mr Matthews gives an amusing account of his meeting the composer of Cadair Idris (Mr John Parry) in London. The ballad was composed about the years 1820-25.
W.D. Williams, Bye-gones, relating to Wales and the border counties, 10th February, 1886, p. 13

Cymro Bach” writes: “Dear Joe. I send you the following, cut from an English weekly paper, that you see what an English woman thinks of our women folk. “I have been visiting the Principality … I have looked in vain among the peasantry I have come across for the short petti-coated, smartly-shawled, well-set up, trimly-capped, tall-hatted Welsh woman of the typical Jenny Jones order. Is she extinct?
Merthyr Times and Dowlais Times and Aberdare Echo, 5.9.1895

On Friday afternoon the annual tea party in connection with the above church was held in the school room attached to the church. Miss L. Jones sung “Jenny Jones” (in costume)
North Wales Express, 29.3.1889

Tuesday evening was very enjoyably spent at the Town Hall, where an entertainment of an amusing but refined character was presented to a large audience. ~ The tableaux by living figures consisted of some eight or nine groups, each one “mounted” with excellent taste, whilst the effect of the various scenes were lightened by the introduction of coloured lights. The exhibitor was Mr Townshend, who briefly explained the various groups as they were on view. Jenny Jones, who appeared in the reputed Welsh costume, sitting at spinning wheel, was a very popular representation.
Rhyl Journal, 23.11.1889

The adjudications in a few of the classes were then announced by Principal Edwards, as follows : Dressmaking. Original costume in Welsh flannel: Mr H.Griffiths, Swansea. Dressed doll in Welsh costume: Divided between “Uno drigolion Abergwaun” and “Jenny Jones”, of Llangollen.
Cambrian, 21.7.1899