Welsh Journals

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Thomas Jones. By LLEWELYN C. LLOYD. THOMAS JONES, bookseller and printer in Shrewsbury (Hill's Lane; at the sign of the Bell, between the Corn and White Cloth Market and the Fish Market' of ye Castle Hill '), 1695-1713, Shrewsbury's first printer, was a remarkable and versatile man. During a lifetime of sixty-five years he followed at various times-and usually simultaneously-the callings of printer, publisher, journal- ist, translator, lexicographer, astrologer and poet, and won for himself a distinguished position in the literary history of Wales. Briefly to summarise his claims to distinction he was the compiler, printer and publisher of the first regular Welsh almanac and the first Welsh copy- book the printer, publisher, and probably compiler, of the first Welsh newspaper and the first Shrewsbury news- paper probably the first person to set up in the business of publishing Welsh books; and the first person to establish a printing-press in Shrewsbury. Thomas Jones is said to have been born at Tre'r Ddol, near Corwen, Merionethshire.1 In his almanac for 1699 he tells us that he was fifty years old on i May, 1698, which fixes the date of his birth as i May, 1648,' and not 1647, as is stated by several authorities. Of his earlier career nothing seems to be known with certainty. At the age of eighteen years he is said to have gone to London as a tailor, but apparently he did not long confine his activities to that city, for we are told that he used to travel about the country, attending the fairs at Chester, Shrewsbury, Wrexham and Bristol-whether as a tailor or a bookseller is uncertain, but probably in the latter capacity.8 Exactly when he forsook tailoring for bookselling is unknown the earliest book yet recorded with which his name is connected is The Character of a Quack Doctor, which came out in 1676.1 In 1679 (for 1680) he began the