LLOYD (LHUYD), Humphrey (1527-68), of Foxhall, Henllan, Denb. and of Denbigh.
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Family and Education
b. 1527, illegit. s. of Robert Lloyd of Foxhall by Joan, da. of Lewis Pigott of Denbigh. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. BA 1547, MA 1551. m. Barbara, da. of George Lumley, sis. and coh. of John Lord Lumley, 2s. 2da.1
Physician and librarian to Henry, 12th Earl of Arundel 1553.
Lloyd, or Lhuyd (as he preferred to write the name) studied medicine at Oxford after his arts course, and in 1552-3 wrote (or translated) some medical treatises for Henry, Lord Stafford. These brought him to the notice of the 12th Earl of Arundel, in whose service he remained for the rest of his life, marrying the sister of Arundel’s son-in-law, Lumley. Since Arundel was steward of the duchy of Lancaster lands in Sussex, Lloyd would have had no difficulty in obtaining his parliamentary seat at East Grinstead, a duchy borough, in 1559. He was mainly responsible for the ‘search and collection’ of his patron’s fine library which, bequeathed to Lumley and bought by James I, became the nucleus of the King’s library in the British Museum.
Lloyd shared his brother-in-law’s interest in medicine, astronomy and music, and the study of Welsh antiquities became an increasing preoccupation. In 1559 he completed the manuscript of his Cronica Walliaewhich, incorporated in Powell’s Historie of Cambria a quarter of a century later, remained the basis of Welsh historiography for some three centuries. At the time of his election for Denbigh he was making a prolonged stay in the borough, studying, according to Anthony Wood, within the walls of the castle, then under the governorship of Richard Myddelton†, as well as practising medicine in the town. No supporting evidence has been found for the suggestion that Lloyd guided through the 1563 Parliament the Act requiring the Bible to be translated into Welsh. In 1566-8 he attended Arundel on a continental tour, visiting Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, and in this last country making the acquaintance of the Dutch geographer Ortelius. On his return he prepared for Ortelius a map of Wales with a description to accompany it—both for inclusion in the geographer’s forthcoming Theatrum Orbis Terrarum—and a separate treatise on Anglesey and the Druids. The map, with all its inaccuracies, was a pioneer work whose usefulness lasted into the eighteenth century. But Lloyd did not see its publication, for he died at Denbigh 31 Aug. 1568. He was buried at Eglwys Wen (Whitchurch) just outside the town, where a monument was raised to his memory.
Lloyd’s association with Arundel and Lumley, and with Hugh and Robert Owen, the Caernarvonshire Catholic protagonists who were also in the Arundel household, has given rise to still unresolved speculations about his own religious loyalties. He was dead before the intrigues of Arundel and Lumley landed them in prison and the Owens in exile. Lloyd was certainly no Hispanophile like the Owens: the story of the prior discovery of America by Madoc, which first appears in Lloyd’s Cronica, was deliberate propaganda against Spanish claims. Even to his supplanter Camden, Lloyd had the reputation of being one of the best antiquaries of this kingdom. Anthony Wood quotes further the judgment that he was ‘a person of great eloquence, an excellent rhetorician, a sound philosopher’, while the Denbighshire bard Lewis ab Edward devotes a hundred lines to his praise.2