Devilish Publishing Music Publishers

John Hughes

Composer

Welsh composer Landore John Hughes was born on the 13th February 1872 in Penybryn in Pembrokeshire. He was a prolific composer of hymn tunes.

In 1874, his family moved to Swansea. He attended Brynhyfryd School until he left school at a young age in 1884 to seek employment. His career started as an office boy in Dyffryn Steel Works in Morriston. He stayed in employment with this company for many years and worked his way up to the position of marketing manager. While with the company, he travelled extensively round the world and managed to learn six other languages on top of his native Welsh.

One of the most famous hymns he composed was Calon Lân, which is Welsh for ‘pure heart’ and was based on a poem by Daniel James that was written in 1891. He specifically asked Hughes to compose the tune to his poem and it was premiered on the organ at Philadelphia Chapel, where he was the organist. In 2003, James McFadyen arranged this for brass band. Hughes composed many other Welsh hymn tunes.

1895 saw Hughes marry Mary Ann Thomas and together they had 3 daughters, Elizabeth, Margaret and May. He was the composer of many anthems and hymns that became popular at festivals in Wales and also in England as well. Many are still popularly sung today.

Sadly, John Hughes died in Swansea in on the 16th June 1914 of a brain haemorrhage aged only 42. Leaving behind his wife and children. He was buried in the graveyard of the chapel where he was the organist (Caersalem Newydd Welsh Baptist Chapel). Some of his colleagues carried his coffin into the chapel.