Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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LEWIS LLOYD , EMMELINE ( 1827 - 1913 ), one of the first women to climb in the Alps ;

b. 18 Nov. 1827 , second daughter of Thomas Lewis Lloyd of Nantgwyllt (the manor house in Elan valley where Shelley stayed in 1812 but which is now under the waters of the Caban Coch reservoir ) and his wife Anna Eliza Davies , the daughter of Treforgan near Cardigan . After leaving home, Emmeline farmed and bred mountain ponies at Llandyfaelog Fach near Brecon . With her enthusiasm for fishing , otter hunting and roaming the hills , she was regarded as something of a character, and she was a noted raconteur as she talked about her travels and exploits . Her main claim to fame is that she regularly climbed in the Alps during the sixties and seventies of the nineteenth century. There were only some half-dozen women climbers in Europe during this period and, apart from Lucy Walker of Liverpool ( 1835 - 1916 ), it is doubtful whether any of them went in for climbing before her. Lucy Walker always climbed with her father and her brother but Emmeline 's usual companion was another woman, Isabella Straton . She also climbed with her younger sister, Bessie , who m. William Williams , the vicar of Llandyfaelog . Her usual guide, Jean Charlet of Argentière , spent a year as a groom at Nantgwyllt ; years later he m. Isabella Straton . Few details are available about Emmeline 's ascents but she was the eighth woman to climb Mont Blanc and on 22 Sept. 1871 , (at the age of 44) she made the first ascent of the Aiguille du Moine (3412 m. or 11,194 ft.) near Chamonix with Isabella and the guide Joseph Simond . The two ladies also climbed Monte Viso with Jean Charlet that year. The two had made an unsuccessful attempt on the Matterhorn as early as 1869 , 4 yrs. after the tragic first ascent. She d. 22 Sept. 1913 , at Hampstead Hill Gardens , London , and is buried at Llansanffraid Cwmteuddwr , where there is a memorial to her in the church.

Sources:

  • The Radnor Express , 2 Oct. 1913 ;
  • H. M. Vaughan , The South Wales Squires, a Welsh picture of social life , London, 1926 (1926) , chapter XIV;
  • Ronald Clark , The Victorian Mountaineers , London, 1953 (1953) , 178-81;
  • Guide Vallot La Chaine du Mont Blanc , 1965 , 3 (1965) ;
  • Nea Morin , A Woman's Reach Mountaineering memoirs , London, 1968 (1968) , Appendix 2: A survey of some notable feminine ascents;
  • information from Major General Robert S. Lewis, Rhaeadr , (great-nephew).

Author:

Dr Ioan Bowen Rees, (1929-99), Bangor

Published date: 2001