Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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TILLEY , ALBERT ( 1896 - 1957 ), mace-bearer at Brecon cathedral and local historian ;

b. 8 Sept. 1896 at Norton Arms , Widnes, Lancs. , one of the seven children of Edmund Valentine and Caroline (née Hawkins ) Tilley . He was educated until he was aged fifteen at Simmer Cross school , Widnes . Then he moved to Liverpool and in 1914 joined the army . He was wounded on the Somme . He was sent to Brecon to recuperate where he met and subsequently married Constance Mary Watkins and settled there. They had one daughter. His wife d. in 1940 . In Mar. 1923 he was appointed the first mace-bearer of the new cathedral in Brecon , an office which he held with dedication and remarkable dignity for thirty-three years until ill-health forced him to retire in Oct. 1956 . He steeped himself in the history, traditions and architecture of the church . With strong encouragement from Gwenllian E.F. Morgan ( DWB , 644-5) and Sir John Conway Lloyd (see above) he specialised in the history of the town and of his adopted county. He devoted himself to collecting material on local history , copying inscriptions in churches and cemeteries and other sources. He possessed an artistic talent and interested himself in the heraldry of the county and in the pedigrees of its families . Amongst his leisure interests was the collecting of majolica . He had special knowledge of the cathedral and its treasures, and his readiness to share his store of knowledge and his winning personality charmed thousands of visitors to the church during the period of his service. With great labour and skill he arranged a Christmas crib and Easter garden in the west corner of the church which was the object of general admiration for a quarter of a century.

He m. (2) 13 Sept. 1950 , Doris Mary Davies . He d. 23 Sept. 1957 , and was buried in Brecon cemetery following a funeral service at the cathedral on 25 Sept. His papers and MSS. were donated to the National Library by the Dean and Chapter of Brecon . It is a valuable collection of materials on the history, heraldry and geneology of Brecon and Brecknockshire .

Sources:

  • Brecon & Radnor County Times , Sept., Oct. 1957 ;
  • Annual Report of the National Library of Wales , Aberystwyth , 1964 and 1965 ;
  • information from his widow.

Author:

Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001