Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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LLWYD ( LHUYD ), HUMPHREY ( 1527 - 1568 ), physician and antiquary ;

b. 1527 at Denbigh , son of Robert Llwyd (or Lloyd ) and Joan , daughter of Lewis Pigott . He was educated at Oxford ; B.A. 1547 , M.A. 1551 . He studied medicine and became private physician to lord Arundel , chancellor of the University at Oxford , but returned to Denbigh in 1563 . Although a practising physician Llwyd was interested in music and arts , and was described by Anthony à Wood as ‘ a person of great eloquence, an excellent rhetorician , a sound philosopher , and almost noted antiquary ’. Books which he collected for lord Lumley were subsequently sold to James I and are now in the British Museum .

He m. Barbara , sister and heiress of John , the last lord Lumley , and had two sons and two daughters. His motto, as appears from a mezzotint portrait by J. Faber ( 1717 ), was ‘ Hwy pery klod na golyd ,’ i.e., fame is more lasting than wealth. Amongst his published works are An Almanack and Kalender containing the Day, Hour, and Minute of the Change of the Moon for ever ; De Mona Druidium Insulâ , a letter dated 5 April 1568 , addressed to Abraham Ortelius (the publisher ) of Antwerp and printed in editions of the latter's atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum ( Latin , 1603 , English , 1606 ); Commentarioli Descriptionis Britannicae Fragmentum ( Cologne , 1572 ), translated into English by Thomas Twyne as The Breuiary of Britayne ( 1573 ); an English translation of the chronicle of Wales ascribed to Caradoc of Llancarvan ; an enlarged version of a tract by Sir John Price of Brecon (q.v.) , entitled The Description of Cambria , which became the basis of The Historie of Cambria now called Wales … Corrected, augmented, and continued … by David Powel ( 1584 ) (q.v.) ; The Treasury of Health (posthumously published in 1585 ); a translation of Thesaurus Pauperum Petri Hispani , with a contribution by Llwyd entitled, The causes and signs of every Disease, with Aphorisms of Hippocrates .

Llwyd 's introduction to Ortelius was brought about by his merchant friend, Sir Richard Clough (q.v.) , also of Denbigh , who lived for a time in Antwerp ; as a result, he prepared the manuscript for a map of Wales (‘ Cambriae Typus ’) and a map of England and Wales , both of which first appeared in 1573 , in a supplement to the Theatrum first published by Ortelius in 1570 . In the letter accompanying the manuscript Llwyd explained that the map of Wales gave the ‘ Auncient names of rivers, townes, people, and places ’ as well as the modern English names, and that the map of England and Wales included the ancient names mentioned by Ptolemy , Pliny , Antonine , and others. They were, therefore, intended as historical as much as geographical documents. Completed only a few months before his death they were the first separate printed maps of the regions concerned, and the map of Wales continued to be re-printed until 1741 . The problems relating to the preparation of the maps are discussed by F. J. North in Humphrey Lhuyd's maps of England and Wales ( National Museum of Wales , 1937 ).

He d. 31 Aug. 1568 at Denbigh , and was buried in Whitchurch parish church , Denbigh .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Wood , Athenae Oxonienses , 1813–20. Sometimes cited in the first (1691-2) edn , i, 382-4;
  • Philip Yorke , The Royal Tribes of Wales (ed. 1887), 104-6.


Frederick John North, O.B.E., D.Sc., F.G.S., F.S.A., F.M.A., (1889-1968), Cardiff

Published date: 1959