Born 18 December 1766, fourth son of David Lloyd of Brynllefrith (1724 - 1779. On his father's death he passed into the guardianship of his uncle John Lloyd of Coedlannau-fawr. In 1784 he went to ‘Carmarthen’ academy, at the time located at Swansea. In 1788, already ‘a fairly high Arian,’ he was called to Oat Street meeting at Evesham (a church which has had several Welsh pastors); he insisted, successfully, on administering communion without prior ordination, but when he went on to refuse christening infants his resignation was accepted. By this time he regarded himself as a General Baptist, and took charge of a General Baptist church at Ditchling (Sussex), where again he refused ordination. In 1792 he began to keep school, and in 1793 gave up his church and removed his school to Exeter, where he was quite successful. But in 1799 he took to farming at Coedlannau, and lost much money at it. Now a declared Unitarian, he sought to become co-pastor with David Davis of Castellhywel, at Llwynrhydowen, but Davis (an Arian) would have none of him — at that time. Arianism and the ‘new’ Unitarianism were in conflict (see the appendix to R. J. Jones's Unitarian Students at Carmarthen, and A History of Carmarthenshire, ii, 241-2). Unitarian sympathisers at Llwynrhydowen seceded, and in 1802 founded Unitarian churches at Pantdefaid and Capel-y-groes (see Lloyd's own article in the Monthly Repository, 1817, 740 sqq.) — this was the official beginning of Unitarianism in Cardiganshire, and in that sense Charles Lloyd was its ‘father.’ But in 1803 he removed to Palsgrave (Suffolk), to minister and to keep school. He received the LL.D. degree from Glasgow in 1809, removed his school to London in 1811, and died at Lampeter (while on a visit to Wales), 23 May 1829; he was buried at Llanwenog.
A man of great abilities, Lloyd, as the above account of him testifies, was a crank — intractable, ill-tempered, restless, with a biting tongue and a vitriolic pen. His autobiography, Particulars of the Life of a Dissenting Minister, is an odd book; it was published anonymously in 1813, and reprinted (by George Eyre Evans) in 1911, and is a valuable historical source; its descriptions of some of Lloyd's fellow- Arians and Unitarians are pretty scathing. Lloyd wrote frequently in the Monthly Repository, and published other works whose titles are given in Alexander Gordon's admirable article on him in D.N.B.
Published date: 1959
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