Obituary: D. Tecwyn Lloyd

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The Independent Online
David Tecwyn Lloyd, teacher, editor, author, born Glan-yr-afon 22 October 1914, died Bodelwyddan Clwyd 22 August 1992.

D. TECWYN LLOYD was a product of a tightly knit Welsh and Welsh-language community, a community that he idealised and longed for in his latter years, so much so that he came back in his retirement to live within a few miles of his birthplace, near Corwen, in Clwyd. He wrote well on the characters and the way of life - now fatally eroded - which produced men of substance like his father John Lloyd and his uncle Robert Lloyd (1885-1961), better known in Eisteddfodic circles as 'Llwyd o'r Bryn'.

Tecwyn Lloyd was educated at the local school at Glan-yr-afon, at Ysgol Tytandomen, Bala, and the University College of Wales, Bangor. After graduating in Welsh, he worked as an adult education lecturer for the Workers' Educational Association (1938-46), concentrating on the moorland communities around Cerrigydrudion in Denbighshire (Clwyd). It was with these people in mind - self-taught but extremely knowledgeable in literature, biblical matters and current affairs - that he began to prepare articles (from 1938 he wrote over 700) and a book of literary criticism, Erthyglau Beirniadol (1946).

Lloyd's concern for working- class men and women - better expressed in the Welsh word gwerin (folk) - was enlarged when he became a librarian and a lecturer at Coleg Harlech, in Harlech, an adult institution established in the 1920s to give individuals who had been denied access to higher education a second chance. He spent nine years (1946-55) there before being enticed into publishing and journalism. He became a director of the long-established publishing house of Hughes and Sons, of Wrexham, and also deputy editor of the national newspaper Y Cymro, then at its zenith.

But the call of adult education was too strong and in 1961 Lloyd was appointed a member of the staff of the Extra-Mural Department of the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, a department which was then under the directorship of the sociologist Alwyn D. Rees (1911-1964) who, like Lloyd, gave unswerving support to the militant activists of the Welsh Language Movement. Lloyd remained with the department, based at Carmarthen, until his retirement. During this period he followed the poet D. Gwenallt Jones as the editor of the Welsh Academy quarterly Taliesin and edited the magazine for 22 years (1965-87). Between 1941 and 1946 he had edited the long-defunct magazine for rural Wales Cefn Gwlad and at Bangor he edited Omnibus, the student magazine.

Lloyd was a renaissance man. He travelled extensively in Italy, Greece, France, Austria and Germany and immersed himself in so many different fields of knowledge: painting, mythology, archaeology, poetry (of which he wrote a great deal in his last decade), history of ideas, the Celtic world, history of socialism, Marxism, guild socialism. He belonged to many diverse societies, being an original member of the Welsh Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, a member of the Irish Texts Society since 1948 and a member of a number of bibliographical societies, for he was a dedicated collector of books and possessed an outstanding library.

In his mature years he completed his MA as an external student at Liverpool University on the subject of the interpretation of Wales by Anglo-Welsh writers.

He was a biographer of Saunders Lewis (1893-1985), a remarkable literary figure. The first volume of the biography, published in 1988, was a milestone in the study of Saunders Lewis. Since winning a writing competition on the life and work of the dramatist at the 1942 National Eisteddfod, Lloyd had been collecting material for his magnum opus. This biography will stand the test of time and the University of Wales responded by awarding Lloyd an honorary doctorate of literature. His other publications are also of immense value: Safle'r Gerbydres (1970), Lady Gwladys a Phobl Eraill (1971), Bore Da, Lloyd (1980) and Cymysgadw (1986).

He could write occasionally in a manner that unnerved people, especially in his biographical profiles, but in the main he wrote with a panache all of its own and with loyalty to the values of his people. He had a sly sense of humour and on at least three occasions he deceived the literary public when he published two volumes of short stories under a pseudonym. These books, Rhyw Ystyr Hud (1944) and Hyd Eithaf y Ddaear (1972), appeared under the name of EH Francis Thomas and he foxed many of us for a long time. It pleased him no end.

He enjoyed writing and on the morning before he died he spent a few hours in his study. The day before he had been at the funeral of another author, Dyddgu Owen. The month of August saw the death of two Welsh-language scholars and two Welsh writers of distinction. It is a loss that a small nation can ill afford.

(Photograph omitted)

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