Llwyd, Morgan (DNB00)

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LLWYD, MORGAN (1619–1659), Welsh puritan divine and mystic writer, came from a family of yeomen of that name settled at Cynfael in the parish of Maentwrog, Merionethshire, where he was born in 1619. His birthplace being in the old province of Gwynedd,he became known as 'Morgan Llwyd o Wynedd' (or' from Gwynedd'). He was either a grandson or nephew of Hugh Llwyd [q. v.], and probably received his early education at the free school at Wrexham, Denbighshire. During the civil war he was engaged, perhaps as a chaplain, with the parliamentary forces in England, and spent some time at Gloucester. About 1646 the vicar of Wrexham was ejected, and Llwyd is believed to have been installed in his place (Thomas, Hist. of St. Asaph, p. 857); but about the same time he also founded a nonconformist or independent church in the place, of which he became first minister. He was appointed one of the approvers of public preachers under the act for the propagation of the gospel in Wales, passed 2 Feb. 1649-50 (Rees, Protestant Nonconformity in Wales, pp. 74, 108-10, 513). An order in council was made on 16 Oct. 1656 instructing the trustees for the maintenance of ministers to increase his salary to 100l. a year (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser.) Towards the end of his life, owing to his strained relations with the presbyterians, who were dominant in the parish, he ceased to be vicar. He died on 3 June 1659, and was buried in the 'Dissenters' graveyard' in Rhos-ddu Road, near Wrexham, where a stone, with the letters 'M. L1.,' was to be seen until recently (Hughes, Hanes Methodistiaeth Cymru, i. 38). He engaged in preaching tours outside his own neighbourhood, and was thus the means of founding some of the earliest nonconformist churches in North Wales, but there is much doubt respecting his particular creed. He had a decided leaning towards quaker doctrines, on which account Baxter attacked his memory, but he was defended in a pamphlet published in 1685, and entitled 'A Winding Sheet for Mr. Baxter's Dead' (pp. 11,12). George Fox, in his 'Journal,' speaks with scorn of his failure to identify himself with the Society of Friends. He has also been claimed as a baptist, while his works show so much of the spirit of theosophy, that one of his editors (the Rev. Owen Jones in Llyfr y Tri Aderyn, edit. 1889, p. xviii) suggests that he was largely inspired by the writings of Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), the German mystic.

For idiomatic style and purity of diction Llwyd's works stand in the first rank among the prose classics of Wales. His published writings are the following: 1. 'Llyfr y Tri Aderyn,' 1st edit. 1653; 2nd edit. 1714, 32mo; 7th edit, (by the Rev. Owen Jones) 1889, 8vo, Liverpool: a dialogue between three birds, the eagle representing Cromwell, the dove standing for a puritan reformer, and a raven representing an episcopalian, possibly Laud. Many extracts are translated by A. N. Palmer, in his 'History of the Older Nonconformity of Wrexham.' 2. 'Gwaedd yn Nghymru yn wyneb pob cydwybod euog,' 1653; 2nd edit. 1727; 4th edit. 1766, Carmarthen, 12mo. 3. 'Gair o'r Gair,' &c, 1st edit. 1656, London, 24mo; 3rd edit. Merthyr Tydvil, 1829, 12mo. A translation by Griffith Rudd, under the title 'A Discourse of God the Word,' was published in 1739, London, 12mo. The four following works were published together in the order given in 1657. 4. 'Yr Ymroddiad, 'a work on self-resignation, supposed to be partly derived from an ascetic treatise by some catholic divine (see Howel W. Lloyd in Y Cymmrodor, vol. viii. pt. i.) 5. 'Y Disgybl a'i Athraw,' a work dealing with the future state, 2nd edit. Shrewsbury, 1765, 24mo. 6. 'Cyfarwyddyd i'r Cymro,' dealing with regeneration, 2nd edit. 1737, Shrewsbury; 3rd edit. 1765. 7. 'Gwyddor Uchod,' which has been happily paraphrased as 'The Higher Astrology,' 2nd edit. Shrewsbury, 1765, 24mo. 8. 'Can Anghyhoeddedig,' a song by Llwyd, edited with notes and memoir by J. Peter of Bala, 1875, Bala. 9. 'A Dialogue between Martha and Lazarus about the soul,' attacked by Baxter in his 'Catholic Communion doubly defended' (p. 36). Excepting No. 1 ('Llyfr y Tri Aderyn'), all Llwyd's works are supposed to be adaptations or translations from English, though none of the originals can be identified.

Several of Llwyd's letters are still extant, some have been printed in different Welsh periodicals, and three are included in Erbury's 'Testimony left upon Record.' Two letters addressed by him to Baxter are also preserved in Dr. Williams's Library. The letters addressed to him from Ireland by another correspondent, Colonel John Jones (d. 1660) [q. v.], were published by Joseph Mayer in the 'Lancashire and Cheshire Historical Society's Transactions' for 1861.

[The earliest biography of Llwyd was published in Robert Jones's Drych yr Amseroedd ; a critique of his writings by Dr. Lewis Edwards of Bala appeared in Y Traethodydd for 1848, iv. 30-45. See also Y Cymmrodor, vol. viii. pt. i.; the Rev. Owen Jones's edition of Llyfr y Tri Aderyn; A. N. Palmer's Older Nonconformity of Wrexham; and Rowlands's Llyfryddiaeth y Cymry; in all of which full bibliographies are given.]

D. Ll. T.