It was not until Henry VIII pulled the English Church out of the Roman Catholic Church and required all Welsh to adopt the English system of laws and names (Act of Union, 1536), that the name JONES begins to widely appear. In 1500 there were only six (6) JONES surnames appearing in the English legal documents, and none (0) in Wales. In 1558, there were 134 JONES surnames [England], and 115 JONES surnames in Wales! I have seen several writers interpret this finding as the surname JONES beginning in England. However, it was the Welsh in areas that came under the control of English laws that took the surname JONES. Thus, first and foremost, the JONES surname is Welsh. This would also be true for the Welsh naming system as it was changed under English law.
The JONES surname concentrated around Dublin, with around 10 JONES families having arms recorded in Burke by 1840. Other Irish counties having JONES families with arms were, Meath, Kildare, and Wexford. [All being close to Dublin.] On the northwestern coast, Londonderry, Leitrim, and Sligo had JONESES. I would suspect that these JONES families began their history around Dublin, and branched out from there.
I have not had the opportunity to research Irish records regarding the first appearance of the JONES surname. Does anyone know the date and location? Please post a comment.