Diocesan press releases

Harpathon to remember local musician

A special celebration will be taking place at St Bartholomew’s Church in Llanover this weekend, remembering the renowned harpist, John Wood Jones.

The celebration will be a Harpathon on Saturday 23 April and a blessing of the grave of John Wood Jones on Sunday 24 April, by Rt Revd Richard Pain, Bishop of Monmouth.

The Harpathon will involve a number of harpists, both professional and students, playing from 12pm-10pm, raising money for the local appeal for the National Eisteddfod, which takes place in Abergavenny later in the summer. There will also be a Songs of Praise at the Church on Sunday 24 April at 6pm, which will include the blessing of John Wood Jones’ grave stone.

Revd John Collier, Vicar of Llanover, said: “This event is the result of a number of people being interested in recognising John Jones, who was harpist to Sir Benjamin Hall, Lady Llanover’s husband. He is remembered for playing the harp for Queen Victoria, and his grave is in the Churchyard of St Bartholomew’s Church, Llanover.

“As the National Eisteddfod is visiting Abergavenny, it seemed a fitting opportunity to renovate the gravestone and celebrate John Jones’ achievements, which included winning the silver harp at the 1826 Brecon Eisteddfod, where it is thought Lady Llanover first encountered his mastery on the instrument. We are very grateful to Mrs Elizabeth Murray and the Llanover Community Council for their kind support in the renovation of John Wood Jones’ gravestone.

“The Songs of Praise on the Sunday will be a chance for the Church community to celebrate the rich heritage it has through its links to the Llanover estate. The Gwent Association of Bellringers will also be joining us for the service.”

Dr David E Roberts, Chairman of the Abergavenny Eisteddfod Committee, added: “This Harpathon pays a great tribute to those individuals mentioned but also gives our current harpists an opportunity to demonstrate the beauty of their skills during this 10 hour event. Among their number will be Wales’ leading exponent of the triple harp, Robin Huw Bowen, who is doing more than any other living individual to maintain this wonderful tradition.

“This Harpathon is for everybody and the fund raising committee were delighted when the suggestion of holding the event was first made. On behalf of the appeals committee may I thank all members of the Llanover Community for their initiative and the hard work they have devoted to make this day such a memorable one and in so doing put on a display of talent that does credit to the heritage of this estate.”

The Harpathon takes place on Saturday 23 April, 12pm-10pm at St Bartholomew’s Church, Llanover. Admission is £5, free for children and students. The student harpists taking part are also being sponsored, in order to raise more funds for the local appeal for the National Eisteddfod 2016.