Wednesday 5 March 2008

Thomas Weigh Jones (Herald Painter)

A friend of Cheshire Heraldry has kindly sent to me an extract from The Nantwich Guardian of 1892:

Nantwich Guardian (Cheshire, UK) dated Wed Feb 3rd 1892 page 5.
Death notice for Thomas Weigh JONES (1803-1892)

“On Friday there passed away, at the residence of his son-in-law Mr Hudson, Woodlane Terrace, London Road, Nantwich P.P.G.M. (past presiding grand master) Thomas Weigh Jones. The deceased gentleman was in his 89th year, and had suffered a prolonged illness.

“He was a Cestrian (native of Chester) and came to Nantwich in 1827 to work for the late Mr. Charles Welsh, coach-builder as herald painter and pencil hand.

“He was a man of strong religious principles which were early instilled into him by a pious mother and which actuated him all through his long life. He frequently walked from Nantwich to Chester, a distance of 20 miles, and started on Sunday mornings so as to be in time for the morning service at the Cathedral. He was devotedly attached to the services held in that venerable pile.

“Mr. Jones was initiated as an Oddfellow in 1837, and passed through the various offices in a most meritorious manner. He was one of the pioneers of the Order in this neighborhood, and he and a few others were the first to establish a widow and orphans' fund in what is now the Nantwich and Crewe district. It afforded him the utmost pleasure to see the fund prosper and to be the means of accomplishing so much good and to recognize in it a powerful lever for lifting the load of human misery. His cheery countenance and  urbanity of manner brought pleasure and comfort to many a sick and dying brother.

“He served the office of Corresponding Secretary of the Nantwich District of Oddfellows for 28 years, and upon his retirement in 1877, through advancing years, he was presented with a beautiful illuminated address in a gilt frame and a purse of 50 sovereigns. The high esteem in which he was held by his brothers is embodied in the following paragraph in the address  "While contemplating the high position our order has attained to, we recall with pride and satisfaction the part you have performed in this great and important work. With quiet and unobtrusive perseverance, with ardent zeal, which though never abating, was always considerate of the opinion of others, with a self-sacrificing desire to spend and to be spent for the good of the Oddfellowship, but, above all, to a steady adherence to right principles, which were best calculated to promote peace and goodwill amongst the brethren you have performed the onerous duties which have so long been entrusted to you to the satisfaction of the members, to your own credit, and to the admiration of the Order generally. In you we have had the opportunity of showing the watchwords of our Order -- friendship, love and truth -- fully accomplished and your inspiring patience, kindness and courtesy under the most trying circumstances have won for you the golden opinions of all."

“Mr. Jones had a thorough knowledge of heraldry, and was often consulted on that subject by the late Mr. W. S. Tollemache of Dorfold Hall, Lord Crewe, and other county families; in fact, there was scarcely one of the old nobility and gentry in Cheshire whose armorial bearings and crests he had not painted at some time. The writer of this notice has some acquaintance with heraldry, and has seen the work of different artists, but there was a boldness and character in the production of Mr Jones which were lacking in others.. Even down to within a few months of his death he was able to paint flowers and scriptural texts in a marvelously skillful and artistic manner, and it was one of his delights to paint and present to his young friends texts from the Bible which had been his guide through life and which no doubt will long be prized and treasured up by their possessors now that the venerable artist has been called away to join the Grand Lodge above. The funeral is fixed for this Tuesday, and a report will appear in Friday's Guardian.”

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