Hughes, John Ceiriog, 1832-1887.

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Hughes, John Ceiriog, 1832-1887.

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John Ceiriog Hughes, poet, was born John Hughes at Llanarmon in 1832. At a very young age he had already published poems in the periodical Baner Cymru and edited a poetry column in Y Greal. His first poetical mentor was Robert Ellis ('Cynddelw'). In 1849 Hughes moved to Manchester, obtaining a job as goods station clerk in London Road. The young man soon entered the circle of influential Welsh literary figures living at that time in Manchester, a circle which included William Williams ('Creuddynfab'), Robert Jones Derfel and John Jones ('Idris Fychan'). It was R. J. Derfel who taught Hughes the value of Wales, the Welsh language and its poetical tradition and it was under Derfel's influence that Hughes added 'Ceiriog' to his name. 'Idris Fychan' passed on to Hughes his love of collecting Welsh airs and melodies, a practice which Hughes kept up thereafter throughout his life. Around 1863, Hughes published Cant o Ganeuon, a collection of Welsh airs to which he had added words of his own composition, effectively rendering the airs into songs. The composer Brinley Richards included Hughes's words to music in his Songs of Wales (London, 1873). In 1865 Hughes returned to Wales and took up the post of station-master at Llanidloes, transferring in 1870 to Tywyn. In 1871 he was appointed railway inspector on the newly-opened line between Caersws and the Van lead mines near Llanidloes. He died in 1887 and was buried at Llanwnog. A collection of Hughes's last poems, Yr Oriau Olaf, were published by Isaac Foulkes ('Llyfrbryf') in 1888.

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