One of the most respected and popular of the many incumbents to hold office at St. Cadoc's, Caerleon, was the grandfather of the writer Arthur Machen who of course was himself born Arthur Jones. Before settling in Caerleon the Reverend Daniel Jones M.A., was to be found at St Johns Church in the centre of Cardiff, near the market. Later he was parish priest in Caerleon for almost thirty years until his death on September 29th 1857. The Vicarage that he and his family would have called home was not the stone-built house which we called the Vicarage in recent years i.e. Isca House, the local doctors' premises. Rather it was an earlier, much smaller building which was said to have stood practically in the churchyard. The present building was erected in the 1860s, by which time the Reverend Jones' widow and her daughters were living in 33 High St, the house in which Arthur Machen was born in 1863.

Daniel Jones was descended from a long line of clergymen, the family having originated in Carmarthenshire where they appear in official records from 1750 onwards. His father was one of three brothers who appear to have distinguished themselves in various fields. One was a physician in Finsburg Square and was presumably the head of the line which Machen referred to as the
London Jones cousins. On the chapel front, Hezekiah another brother was known as Y Ffeiriad Coch yr Castleton, the Red Priest of Castleton, from the colour of his beard; Castleton being between Newport and Cardiff. His oratory, at the turn of the eighteenth century, drew crowds from far outside the county and they were said to be moved to tears by his skill with what was known in Wales as the hwyl. He died in 1833 aged about eighty two. His son became Archdeacon of Bangor Cathedral and was known as John Classical Jones (1797 - 1863). In an age where any clergyman would have had a good education in Greek and Latin his scholarship must have been formidable. A brother of our Daniel was the Reverend Judah Jones, onetime Rector of Caerphilly in Glamorgan whilst their father was another Reverend Daniel Jones curate of St Fagans who died in 1821. Daniel Jones of Caerleon had an only son John, born in 1830, who followed in his father's footsteps and read theology at Jesus College, Oxford. After a spell as a curate at Alfreton in Derbyshire he came home to Caerleon when his father died to care for his parishioners and stayed nearby to run the churches of Llandewi Fach and Llandegfedd just north of Caerleon. He died on 20 September 1887 and is buried with his Scottish wife Janet in Llandewi churchyard.

Llandewi church
Photograph by Jack Tait.

Apart from his church duties, Daniel Jones was a well known antiquarian and entered into the spirit of life in Roman Caerleon where he was a popular public speaker on matters archaeological and antiquarian. Together with his friend Colonel John Lee of the Priory and others of a like persuasion, he laid the foundations for what we know as the Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association and eventually the Caerleon Museum known to us now as the Legionary Museum of the National Museum of Wales. In the 1850s when the poet Tennyson stayed at the Hanbury Arms to get inspiration for his writing the Vicar called on him and was reported to be a little shocked at the pipe but ready to make allowances for the odd behaviour of creative Bohemians such as this.

Daniel Jones is buried with his wife in the churchyard at St Cadocs. With them are their daughters Anne Ellen Joanna and Maria Collins and their brother Daniel Outrage Jones, the second child and first son, who died aged just ten years. Anne enjoyed painting flowers whilst her sister had a passion for Botany also. It was a mark of the love that Caerleon felt for this man that on the occasion of his relatively early death the death bell at his church tolled sixty two times each and every day between his death and burial, that being the number of years of his life.

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