Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ALLEN , JOHN ROMILLY ( 1847 - 1907 ), archaeologist .

Born in London 9 June 1847 , he came of an old Pembrokeshire family, the Allens of Cresselly , and no doubt owed his middle name to the fact that his grandfather had married a niece of Sir Samuel Romilly . His father was George Baugh Allen , J.P. , of Cilrhiw , near Lampeter Velfrey ; his mother was a daughter of Roger Eaton of Parc Glas , near Crinow . Deserting his father's profession of barrister (of the Inner Temple ), he chose, after education at Rugby and King's College , London , to become a civil engineer , in which capacity he was engaged as apprentice on Merseyside , as engineer for Baron de Reuter 's Persian railway scheme , and as supervisor of dock construction at Leith , and Boston, Lincs.

But at an early age he was attracted to the study of archaeology ; a contribution to Arch. Camb. in 1873 on ‘ Some cairns on Barry Island ’ was followed by his joining the Cambrian Archaeological Association at Carmarthen in 1875 . Thus was established a connection which was not broken until his death. He became co-editor of Arch. Camb. in Jan. 1888 and sole editor in Oct. 1891 . Archaeology now claimed him entirely; he was elected F.S.A., Scot. , in 1883 , Rhind lecturer in 1885 , editor of The Reliquary in 1893 , F.S.A. in 1896 , and Yates lecturer in University College , London , in 1898 . In addition to many articles in archaeological journals, he published the following: Early Christian Symbolism in Great Britain and Ireland ( Rhind lectures , 1887 ); The Monumental History of the Early British Church ( S.P.C.K. , 1889 ); The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland ( Edinburgh , 1903 ); Celtic Art in Pagan and Christian Times , 1904 .

In his special field, Allen became a leading authority, and Arch. Camb. benefited largely during his editorship from the study which he and Sir John Rhŷs bestowed upon the early inscribed stones of Wales . At the annual meetings he was a welcome commentator upon antiquities visited; a certain hastiness of temper was forgiven by those who knew his entire devotion to scientific archaeology. He d. unmarried in London on 5 July 1907 . A photograph forms the frontispiece to Arch. Camb. , 1908 .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Who was who? , 1897-1915 ;
  • Burke's Landed Gentry , 1906 .


Sir John Edward Lloyd, D.Litt., F.B.A., F.S.A. (1861-1947), Bangor

Allen's grandfather, LANCELOT BAUGH ALLEN ( 1774 - 1845 ), lawyer , perhaps deserves mention as having been warden ( 1805-11 ), and then master ( 1811-20 ), of Dulwich College . He was the second son of John Bartlett Allen of Cresselly near Carew ( Fenton , Pemb. , 2nd ed., 150), and m. Caroline Romilly — their second son was the antiquary's father. L. B. Allen was b. 1 Jan. 1774 and d. 28 Oct. 1845 . His career is given in Venn , Alumni Cantab.


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959