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Calon Lân writers to be celebrated with blue plaques

Calon Lân was reverberating around the Principality Stadium once again on Saturday afternoon when Wales kicked-off their autumn international series against Australia.

Daniel James

Now Swansea Council has announced that the two men behind the rousing hymn are to be honoured with blue plaques in their home city.

Calon Lân, published in 1892, was written by John Hughes, who wrote the music, and Daniel James, who wrote the words.

Hughes, born in 1872, worked his entire career for Dyffryn Steel Works in Morriston, starting as an office boy and rising through the ranks to become marketing manager. He travelled internationally in the course of his work, teaching himself six languages in addition to his native Welsh. 

Hughes, who died of a brain haemorrhage in 1914, also served as an organist at Caersalem Newydd Welsh Baptist Chapel where he is buried. His blue plaque will be installed there.

James, born in 1848, worked at both Morriston's ironworks and Landore's tinplate works. After his death in 1920, he was buried at Mynyddbach Cemetery. James' blue plaque will be installed outside Mynyddbach Chapel.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration, said: "Calon Lân is an iconic Welsh hymn that's adored by people across Wales and beyond. 

"Every Saturday in November, it will no doubt be sung by many thousands of Welsh rugby fans during the autumn international series against the likes of Australia, Argentina and South Africa.

"The enduring popularity of the hymn is tribute to the genius of John Hughes and Daniel James, two proud Swansea boys whose gift for music and lyrics was extraordinary.

"Our blue plaque scheme is all about celebrating our heritage by honouring our most accomplished and revered sons, daughters and places.  Both John Hughes and Daniel James are thoroughly deserving of recognition of this kind as we continue to promote and share Swansea's proud history."

Blue plaques for Hughes and James will be unveiled early in the New Year.

Both men will then become part of a select Swansea blue plaque club that already also includes painter Ceri Richards, rock singer Pete Ham, suffragette Emily Phipps, missionary Griffith John, gothic novelist Ann of Swansea, poet Vernon Watkins, radar pioneer Edward Bowen, and polar explorer Edgar Evans.

Have a look at for more information. 

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