Wednesday 23 February 2022

John Lloyd of Towy


This is John Lloyd, of Towy, who died in 1585.  The Lloyd family held substantial posts in Royal circles on and off for centuries.  There were several branches of the family but their roots appear to have been in Cardiganshire, crossing the border into Carmarthenshire.  

    There were Lloyds at our old home, and when I couldn't sleep at ALL last night, I came downstairs and spent a couple of hours reading the notes I'd written when researching the history of our old home.  I couldn't totally connect them root and branch, but in Historic Carmarthenshire Homes and their Families by Francis Jones, Wales Herald of Arms Extraordinary, he mentioned the family tracing back to Cardiganshire Chieftain Gwyddno Garanhir Lord of Cantre'r Gwaelod, the sunken land off the Cardiganshire coast - a fertile lowland hundred and 16 cities.  One Owain ap Sir Gruffydd was esquire to the body of King Edward III (d. 1377).  When Henry Tudor's ships of invasion landed at Dale in Pembrokeshire in 1485, he and his men travelled through the Welsh heartlands, calling the faithful to battle - that battle was of course Bosworth, the final battle in the Wars of the Roses, which took place on 22 August 1485, and resulted in Henry Tudor becoming Henry VII, after the Yorkist king Richard III was slain.  Because of his part in the battle,  Gwilym ap Sion (of Ynyswen, where we lived) became Esquire to the body of Henry VII.  

    John Lloyd was the only son of Thomas Lloyd, by his 2nd wife.  His father answered the call to arms, being a partisan of Henry Tudor, and he brought with him a considerable number of Cardiganshire men, for which he was rewarded with possessions and also appointed Lord Lieutenant of the County of Brecknockshire (modern day Breconshire).  John was a young man when he went into England and served "in the French and Scotch wars, under Henry VIII; he was afterwards 'squer to the bodie of Queen Elizabeth', and made the first sheriff and justice of the piece and steward of the manor or lordship of Builth."

    Yet John Lloyd wished to just live simply, in his mansion of Forth y Crwys, or the gate of the cross, in Llanynis.

We saw this gate on our first walk here last year, and thought it was an alternative approach to the church, but it marks the field where John Lloyd's mansion stood - no sign of it nowadays, not the least unevenness of grass where walls might once have stood.

    This looks like a stream, as there is still a lot of storm water running off the hills above and  along the lane.  In the summer it is completely dry and appears to be an ancient holloway -probably the approach to the mansion and perhaps on to the little church across the fields.

St David's Church at Llanynis. 

    John Lloyd's will stipulated that his body should be laid to rest at nearby Llanynis church, and I hope this happened, and yet his tomb at St Mary's in Builth suggests that "here lieth the body of John Lloyd."  I wonder if, like Thomas Hardy, his heart is in the churchyard and his body in a more populous place . . .

I think it starts "Here lieth John Lloyd" but I gave up after that!


  1. Interesting research into John Lloyd. A couple of years ago a lady in the US contacted me to ask if I had a photo of the Church Brass of person who was buried there back in the 1600's. She had looked into her family history and found she was related. Lockdown had stared and it was over 18 months before I could get the photo. After that I chased around three churches finding other members of the family. There are quite a few interesting old churches around the area. Like Old Radnor with the Tudor Organ and St Michael on Arrow. Have you walked up Aberedw Hill yet and visited the church at Aberedw

    1. Well done for getting those photos and other family members for the lady in the US.

      We've not been to Old Radnor yet or St Michael on Arrow. We've been to Aberedw Church (by car as OH is disabled now.) LOTS to explore round here.

  2. That certainly is keeping you thinking. I love history and research !!

    1. My brain is happy when I'm researching. Can you please put a link to your other blog about the horses in your life, as I can't find it.

    2. Yes of course

  3. Interesting history of John Lloyd. Some years ago I read an article about holloways. I would love to walk some. I'd also love to visit these churches you write about. It's extremely unlikely I'll ever do any of this, so I'll enjoy them vicariously through your blog! I do hope the rains and storms have let up there. Celie