When the family moved to Hill Cliffe , John Ambrose Lloyd moved to Liverpool where his brother Isaac was a schoolmaster . It was at Liverpool , in 1831 , that he composed his first hymn-tune — he was then 16; it appeared in Y Gwladgarwr , 1835 , under the name of ‘ Wyddgrug .’ Isaac Lloyd was appointed editor of the Blackburn Standard and after he had left Liverpool the younger brother, John , became assistant master in a private school and afterwards joined the staff of the Picton school ; in 1838 he began to teach in the Liverpool Mechanics' Institute . In 1849 he gave up teaching on account of his health and he, and a friend, opened a business as lithographers , a venture which, however, proved to be a financial loss. He became a North Wales representative for the firm of Francis Firth , Liverpool , and later, after the death of Firth , for the successors of that firm, viz., Woodall and Jones ; this post he relinquished in 1871 owing to the state of his health.
When he first went to Liverpool , John Ambrose Lloyd , like his brother, attended the Welsh church of Dewi Sant , but when his brother left for Blackburn ( 1835 ) he joined the Tabernacle Congregational church where his cousin, the Rev. William Ambrose ( Emrys ) (q.v.) , was a member. Soon after he had joined this church he became its precentor . In 1835 he m. Catherine , daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Evans , members of Tabernacle ; Catherine , like her husband, was a native of Mold . In 1841 he left Tabernacle for Brownlow Hill Congregational chapel . Here also he was made precentor . In 1851 he moved to Bwlch Bach , about two miles from Conway , and it was here that he composed his well-known anthem ‘ Teyrnasoedd y Ddaear .’ In 1852 he moved to Chester for the sake of the education of his children; he left Chester in 1864 for Rhyl , where he spent the rest of his life.
In 1843 he published Casgliad o Donau ; this including twenty-seven hymn-tunes and two anthems written by himself. The hymn-tunes in this collection were poor — they were of the type sung in Wales during the religious revivals of the 18th cent. , importations from England which he imitated in regard to their style. In 1870 appeared another collection, Aberth Moliant ; of the twenty-seven hymn-tunes which had been included in the 1843 collection, two only were admitted into this — ‘ Wyddgrug ’ and ‘ Eifionydd .’ The hymn-tunes composed between 1843 and 1870 have a dignity and a sense of devotion — they are, in short, in the true ecclesiastical tradition. This was John Ambrose Lloyd 's great contribution to congregational singing in Wales — giving it hymn-tunes which were worthy vehicles of praise and worship.
His compositions include three cantatas, twenty-eight anthems, and over ninety hymn-tunes — for a list see his biography, written by his son, C. Francis Lloyd . There is no collection used anywhere in the world by Welsh people which does not include a good number of his hymn-tunes; some of them are included in English hymnals also. He d. 14 Nov. 1874 , and was buried in the Necropolis , Liverpool .
Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn
Published date: 1959