A History of Hymnodist John Hughes
John Hughes was born on 13th February 1872 in a small cottage at Penybryn, Pembrokeshire. In 1874 he and his parents moved to Landore in Swansea.
John very quickly became a pupil at Brynhyfryd School until 1884 when he left school to go into full time employment at the age of twelve. He was employed as an Office Boy at the Dyffryn Steel and Tinplate Works which were based in Morriston.
In 1895 John Hughes married Mary Ann Rees, they had three daughters Elizabeth, May and Margaret. John Hughes became the commercial manager of Dyffryn Steel Works and later he served as the precentor at Philadelphia Chapel, Hafod.
He composed many hymn tunes and anthems that were regularly sung at music festivals in England and Wales, some of his songs are even sang today. He also composed his own accompanying music to the words of Calon Lan, very quickly his tune swept into favour and became the predominant tune associated with the song.
John Hughes would walk every day to the Dyffryn Works situated in Morriston, he would return home from work every day to his modest house 3 Stockwell Villas, Mount Pleasant by the same method. However on Monday 15th June 1914 an incident at the works changed his routine. instead of walking home at the end of his hard days work he offered to drive a wounded employee from Morriston to the Swansea General hospital, to help them safely remove a piece of steel lodged in the man's hand.
Despite arriving home very late that evening he was reported to be in his usual cheerful mood, however he rapidly became ill and died aged forty two at 6:45am on the morning of Tuesday 16th 1914. The cause of death was recorded as a cerebral haemorrhage, sadly he left behind a widow and three small children.
He was buried in the Cemetery of Caesalem Newydd Welsh Baptist Chapel in Treboeth Swansea.