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National Library of Wales
Williams, J. Lloyd, Dr, music manuscripts and papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 JLLW

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Dr J. Lloyd Williams Music MSS and Papers

Short Title: Williams, J. Lloyd, Dr, music manuscripts and papers

Creation date(s): [?1750]-1946 (predominantly 1870-1945) (accumulated 1870-1946)

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.477 cubic metres (53 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Dr J. Lloyd Williams


Administrative/Biographical history: John Lloyd Williams (1854-1945) was an eminent botanist and musician. A leading expert on the alpine flora of Snowdonia and marine algae on the one hand, he was also well-known as a composer, conductor and critic, and is regarded as the foremost collector of Welsh folk songs.
He was born in Plas Isa, Llanrwst, 10 July 1854, the eldest of seven children of Robert and Jane Williams. Between 1868 and 1872 he served as a pupil teacher at the local British School, before studying at the Normal College, Bangor, 1873-1874. In 1875 he was appointed headmaster of the Board School at Garndolbenmaen. In the mid-1890s he worked with Professor John Bretland Farmer at the Royal College of Science, London, and from 1897 to 1912 was assistant lecturer in Botany at the University College of North Wales, Bangor. From 1912 to 1915 he was Adviser in Agricultural Botany to the Board of Agriculture at Bangor. He held the chair of Botany at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, from 1915 to 1925. Much of his researches were published in the Annals of Botany and the Proceedings of the Royal Society.
Though his professional career centred on science, he was also a fine musician, a collector, composer, critic and conductor. While at Garndolbenmaen he wrote operas, the best known being Aelwyd Angharad and Cadifor with Llew Tegid (Lewis David Jones) as librettist. He was prominent in establishing the Welsh Folk-Song Society in 1906 and edited its Journal from the beginning until his death. He also edited the general music magazine Y Cerddor from 1931 to 1939 and, jointly with Arthur Somerville, compiled the two volumes of Sixteen Welsh Melodies, 1907 and 1909. To the end he continued his researches into the origins and development of Welsh music.
He published four volumes of autobiography, entitled Atgofion Tri Chwarter Canrif, and a study of three Welsh musicians, Y Tri Thelynor, which traces the careers of John Parry, Evan Williams and Edward Jones.
He was awarded the DSc degree of the University of Wales for his work on marine algae in 1908 and DMus (honoris causa) in 1936. He died 15 November 1945.


Scope and content/abstract: Music manuscripts and papers, [c. 1750]-1945, including hundreds of folk songs brought together by Dr J. Lloyd Williams in his role as Editor of the Welsh Folk-Song Society, and papers relating to his researches into the history of Welsh music; material relating to his interest and vocation in the field of botany, 1871-1942; and personal papers, [?1870]-1946.


Language/scripts of material: English, Welsh, unless otherwise specified

System of arrangement: An attempt has been made to combine the original 1945/6 deposit with subsequent accruals in order to create one structured and meaningful description. Arranged at NLW into three groups: music manuscripts and papers, scientific papers, and personal papers.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply

Finding aids: A hard copy of this list is available at NLW, together with a table of previous and current JLlW reference numbers. The earlier schedule (1945/6 deposit) has been superseded by this description. The research papers (in Welsh) of Dr Meredydd Evans relating to items 1-145 of the earlier schedule are NLW Facs 973, and reference is sometimes made to these papers at the appropriate level of description. A table of previous and current reference numbers is also available on line at


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All of the papers transferred to NLW have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: The bulk of the manuscripts and papers were deposited at the Library by Dr J. Lloyd Williams's family shortly after his death in 1945. Further deposits and donations were made in 1956 by his son, Dr Idwal Lloyd Williams, and in 1986/7 by Mrs Siân E. Williams, Benllech, per Mr Robin Gwyndaf.


Related material: Archives of the Welsh Folk-Song Society are held at NLW. The minute book of Eifionydd District Sunday Schools Meeting, 1879-1886 (previously J. Lloyd Williams 38) is now NLW, CMA D5/3. See also appropriate level descriptions.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.
The dates of creation of the fonds reflect the dates of music manuscripts accumulated by Dr J. Lloyd Williams and also letters received by his family after his death.
References to previous JLlW reference numbers (for the 1945/6 deposit) have been noted, where appropriate, at file level descriptions.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Barbara Davies.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: The Dictionary of Welsh Biography, 1941-1970 (London, 2001); Canu Gwerin, Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru / Folk Song, Journal of the Welsh Folk-Song Society, no. 6 (1983), no. 18 (1995).

Rules or conventions: This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2004

Botanists | Wales
Musicians | Wales
Williams, J. Lloyd | (John Lloyd), | 1854-1945 | Archives

Personal names
Williams , J. Lloyd (John Lloyd) , 1854-1945

Corporate names


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