Fonds GB 0210 JLLW - Dr J. Lloyd Williams Music MSS and Papers

Melus geingciau Deheubarth Cymru

Identity area

Reference code

GB 0210 JLLW


Dr J. Lloyd Williams Music MSS and Papers


  • [?1750]-1946 (predominantly 1870-1945) (accumulated 1870-1946) (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.477 cubic metres (53 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

J. 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.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

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.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

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.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

All of the papers transferred to NLW have been retained.


Accruals are not expected

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 of access and use area

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

Language of material

  • English
  • Welsh

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Welsh, unless otherwise specified

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A table of previous and current reference numbers is also available on line at
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.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

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.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on 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.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


GEAC system control number


Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

March 2004


  • English



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).

Archivist's note

Compiled by Barbara Davies.

Archivist's note

Accession area

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Text: Dr J. Lloyd Williams Music MSS and Papers.