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Hughes was born at Caint Bach, in the parish of Penmynydd in Anglesey about 1744.
After receiving an education from the parish priest, he became a schoolmaster at Amlwch. Later he spent twenty years in London as barrister"s clerk. Ultimately Hughes"s health failed.He returned to Wales, acted as a schoolmaster at Carnarvon, and died of consumption 27 February 1785, aged 41.
He was buried in the parish churchyard of Llanbeblig, Carnarvonshire, where the Society of Gwyneddigion, of which he was a founder, erected a monument to his memory.