Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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LLOYD , JOHN AMBROSE ( 1815 - 1874 ), musician ;

b. 14 June 1815 , at Mold, Flints. , the son of Enoch and Catherine Lloyd . The father, who was a cabinet maker , also preached with the Baptists and was, in 1830 , ordained minister of Hill Cliffe Chapel , Warrington .

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 .


  • C. Francis Lloyd and Elfed , John Ambrose Lloyd. History of his life and works. Written in English by his son, C. F. Lloyd … Translated and edited by Elfed (Wrexham, 1921) ;
  • M. O. Jones , Bywgraffiaeth Cerddorion Cymreig (1890) ;
  • Y Cerddor , April and May, 1892, Oct. 1914 (28), 1915 (72, 82, 137-8).


One of his sons, JOHN LLOYD ( 1840 - 1914 ), was organist of the Queen Street, Chester, Congregational church . For years he travelled for the firm of Messrs. Frost , Chester . Returning to Liverpool , he became a member of the firm of Lloyd and Thomas , corn merchants . He wrote several hymn-tunes , the best-known being ‘ Kilmorey ,’ which was published in the second supplement to John Roberts ( Ieuan Gwyllt ) , Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol . He d. 6 Sept. 1914 at Liverpool ; he was buried in the Chester cemetery . C. F. Lloyd (q.v.) was another son.


  • Y Cerddor , Oct. 1914.


Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Published date: 1959