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 Angus and Rosemary's Miscellany

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Biography - Revd William Edward Lloyd


We came across the name William Edward Lloyd while researching a member of the family who had married William's eldest sister Beatrice. William's life touched briefly on Worcester College for the Blind and we thought someone might be interested in his story which is outlined below.

At the end you will find some notes about Slaughter's Court at Powick, where the College for the Blind was situated between 1887 and 1902, and some of the people who lived there, before and after.


Early life

Later life


New College Worcester

Slaughter's Court


Early life

William Edward Lloyd was born in the village of Ystrad in the Rhonda Valley of Wales in 1887. The 1891 Wales census records him aged 4 years, living at 47 William Street, Clydach in the district of Ystradyfodwg, the son of David and Jane Lloyd who ran a Grocery and Drapers' shop (ref 1).

There was something special about William for the right hand side of the census form tells us that he was blind from childhood.

By 1901, aged 14 years, he had left South Wales and was living near Malvern at the College for the Blind then at Powick (ref 1) which he attended until 1904 (ref 10).

A special needs boarding school had been established as 'Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen' in 1866. This was based first at The Commandery, in Worcester, relocating to Slaughter's Court, Powick, near St Peter's church in 1887, which was rented. The census suggests the College for the Blind was next door to the Old Rectory.

In 1902 the College for the Blind was relocated to a new building on the present site at Whittington Road - most of the money for the land and the building being donated by Eliza Warrington, (1814 - 1901) a wealthy spinster who lived for many years at a large house named Belvedere in Malvern Wells. She had also been a benefactor of Malvern Wells C of E Primary School.

At the Blind College at Powick in 1901 were:-

Rev Jaffray Brisbane Nicholson aged 32 years born Cork, Ireland, a clergyman of the Church of England (schoolmaster), his wife, two daughters and a son.

Alfred Carr aged 27 years, born London, schoolmaster and organist, described as partially blind from childhood.

Charles E Cole aged 27 years, born Sheffield Yorkshire, schoolmaster, described as partially blind from childhood.

Twelve teenage boys suffering from blindness, plus a domestic nurse, parlour maid, house maid, cook, laundry maid, house boy, and a hospital nurse.

Rev Jaffray Brisbane Nicholson 1868 - 1928 was educated at Trinity College Dublin, deacon 1893 (Lichfield for Rochester); priest 1894 Rochester; 2nd Master St Saviour's grammar school, Southwark (1890 - 1895); Headmaster of School for the Blind Worcester (1895 - 1905). During the Great War, circa 1915, he was appointed a temporary chaplain to the forces and stationed at St Nazaire Hospital were he is said to have called for better treatment of Irish troops (ref 11). He died at Paignton in 1928 (ref 3, 4, 5).

Jaffray was the eldest son of Revd Alexander Jackson Nicholson 1843 - 1922, latterly Rector of St Nicholas, Cove Street, Cork; Canon of Cork; Canon of St Patrick's, Dublin. Two of Jaffray's brothers were also clergymen.

As far as we know his son Jaffray John Walter Nicholson, born Powick 1898, died Hastings 1971, pursued a military career. In 1916 he enlisted in the military and the London Gazette records he served in 202 Squadron RAF formed from the RNAS and was awarded the DFC and Croiss de Guerre (Belgium). In 1940 he was appointed a Lt in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

The passing of the Elementary Education Act in 1870 introduced the compulsory universal education of all children between 5 and 11 years. Many of the early schools were funded by the church and possibly William Edward Lloyd benefited and it was through his father and the Minister of his church that a place was found for him at the Worcester College for the Blind.

Later life

The National Library of Wales, Welsh Newspapers Online web-site has an article from the Evening Express dated 22nd September 1909 (ref 2) which tells us William must have done well at the College for the Blind for he had been sponsored to go on to Oxford University - something which his father could not have afforded. To quote:


Mr William Edward Lloyd, the talented blind student, late of Ystrad, Rhondda, who won a Western Mail Scholarship four years ago, called at our office on Tuesday, and gave some particulars of his successful collegiate career at Oxford where he took the BA degree, gaining second-class honours in Theology. Mr Lloyd is the possessor of an extremely satisfactory report from his examiner. A wide range of theological subjects was covered by the student, who took the highest degree in theology a blind man has ever obtained. It is now his desire to enter a theological college, in order subsequently to join the ministry. That is his ultimate aim, whether he is able to enter such a college or not. Mr Lloyd said that he was quite satisfied with his studies, and but for the fact that he did not enjoy very good health at Oxford he would have done better. However, he had not failed in any of his examinations. His Western Mail scholarship was for a three years' course, but he had taken a four years' course, so that, instead of taking a pass degree, he might take an honours degree. In this he succeeded. Mr Lloyd is now living in Canton, Cardiff.

A former archivist of the School for the Blind was able to tell us more.

From 'The Braille Review' of 1910, William was advertising for teaching work:-

Mr WE Lloyd, BA (Worcester College for the Higher Education of the Blind and University of Oxford), desires post as Teacher in a School for the Blind. Thoroughly acquainted with finger alphabet, and is capable of dealing with deaf-blind pupils. Address: 10, Gladstone Road, Hove, Sussex.

The 1911 census records Reverend William Edward Lloyd, aged 24 years, a blind clergyman living at 10 Goldstone Road, Hove, near Brighton in the household of widow and laundress Alice Jane Brookfield. Also in the household is Alice's daughter Ida Mary Brookfield, totally blind, Alice's brother Henry Sharp, Mary Condon a pensioner who had been blind for 5 years, and Louisa Condon, blind from birth.

In 1914, William took part in the International Conference on the Blind and Exhibition of the Arts and Industries of the Blind Held at The Church House, Westminster, June 18th to 24th 1914.

His contribution to the conference was reported thus:- Rev. W. E. Lloyd, MA (Brighton):-

I am going to be brief, because I am here to emphasise one special point, which I do not think has been sufficiently brought out. I am speaking from rather a different point of view to other speakers, as a clergyman who has had to fight his way without any assistance from any kind of institution except so far as education is concerned. The point is this - that I believe one of the great mistakes which blind people make who have to fight their own battles is that they do not always realise their limitations, and that when they do realise them they will not acknowledge them.

I believe that is one of the reasons for the great prejudice which exists in the public mind to-day against the employment of the blind. If we want employment we start by telling people that we can do everything, and they do not believe that we can do anything.

Here is an example of what I mean - which I hope you will not think too personal. As a rule, when I apply for any appointment - as a matter of fact, I have only applied for two - I have told the incumbents first what I can not do. I begin by saying that I cannot often take weddings because I cannot write the marriage certificate. The consequence of such a course is that, as a rule, people are far more inclined to listen to my claim than if I had started by saying I could do everything, because then they would probably have believed that I could do nothing.

May I say in conclusion that I still think that the attitude of the public towards the blind can be very materially improved. I was visiting in a very poor parish in Brighton the other day and one old woman told me that she thought all blind people when they were born blind ought to be thrown into the river at the age of three days. I told her that possibly it might have been a good thing for me, but it would not have been at all a good thing for her.

It only remains for me to propose a hearty vote of thanks to the Chairman for his able conduct in the chair. (Applause and laughter.)

At around the same time, a move from Hove to Trowbridge was announced in 'The Blind'. From the Blind of 1913-14:

The Rev. W. E. Lloyd, M.A., formerly of the College for the Higher Education of the Blind, Worcester, and of Keble College, Oxford, has been appointed curate of Holy Trinity, Trowbridge, and entered on his duties in July last. Previously he was curate at St. Barnabas, Hove.

We found Reverend William Edward Lloyd listed in the 1932 edition of Crockford's Clerical Directory (ref 3):

William Edward Lloyd

University of Oxford BA (2nd Class in Theology) MA 1912

Deacon and Priest 1911 Chichester

Curate of St Barnabas, Hove (1911 - 1913)

St John, Brighton (1914 - 1915)

Holy Trinity Vauxhall Bridge Road (1916 - 1919)

Deputy Secretary National Institute for the Blind (1919 - 1921)

Greater London Fund for the Blind from 1921

4 Blandford Road, Bedford Park, London W4

Tel Chiswick 1102

(There seems to be some discrepancy here. Did William go to Holy Trinity in Vauxhall Bridge Road or to Holy Trinity at Trowbridge Wiltshire?)

William, aged 34, married at St Stephens, Shepherds Bush, on 9th January 1921, Eleanor Blanche Bicknell, the daughter of a commercial traveller. She was 17 years his senior and had been a music teacher at a private school near Hove. Her sister was recorded in the 1901 census as a student of art and in the 1911 census as an actress.

By 1936, William was Deputation Secretary at the Greater London Fund. He was listed in the London phone book residing at 4 Blandford Road until 1937.

The National Probate Calendar records that the reverend William Edward Lloyd of 4 Blandford Road, Bedford Park, London, clerk died 5th December 1941, aged only 54 years, at Littlemore Oxfordshire. Probate Oxford 9th January to Eleanor Blanche Lloyd widow. Effects 1172 18s 11d. Resworn 1047 18s 11d. Eleanor was born London 1870 the daughter of George Henry Bicknell a commercial clerk or traveller; she died at Oxford, in 1950.

From The Pimpernel (the School for the Blind magazine) June 1942:

W. E. Lloyd, some time Curate at Hove, Trowbridge, Westminster and at All Souls, Langham Place, whose death is regretfully announced. Most of his time during his last years was spent preaching for the London Fund for The Blind. He was an Oxford graduate.


From the 1891 and 1901 Wales census we know William's parents were David and Jane Lloyd and the family lived in the coal mining district of Ystradfodwig at 47 William Street, Clydach, running a grocery and drapers' shop.

David Lloyd was born in Glamorganshire about 1851. In 1881 he had been living in Ystrad with his elder brother William and younger sister Sarah. Then, William was a shopkeeper, David an assistant shopkeeper and Sarah a housekeeper.

Sadly David's brother William, a bachelor, died on 8th April 1885 aged only 39 years; David was his executor and must have taken charge of the family business.

Their father Thomas Lloyd who died on 23rd December 1871 had also been a grocer and draper. His sole executor was Revd Lewis Probert (1837 - 1908) of Pentre near Pontypridd, an Independant Minister of the Congregational Church. Lewis was regarded as a preacher of the first rank, a fine theologian and a man of noble character. In 1898 Lewis was elected Principal of Bala Bangor Theological College; you will find him listed in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

David and his wife Jane had seven children. Beatrice Mary born 1884, Edith Sarah born 1886, William who this story started with born 1887, Edwin Cyril Joseph born 1888, Edgar David Lloyd born 1891,  Elsie Jane born 1893 and a seventh child who had died.

By the time of the 1911 census the family had dispersed. Tracing people with a common surname like Lloyd can be very difficult, but we have made an attempt.

Beatrice Mary Lloyd

Beatrice Mary Lloyd married at Cardiff Registry Office on 27th March 1909 advertising agent Arthur Evans Robinson. She was aged 25 years and gave her age as 23, while he was aged only 19 years but gave his age also as 23. The witnesses were Beatrice's father David Lloyd, described as a commercial traveller, and Beatrice's youngest unmarried sister Elsie Jane.

The 1911 census records Beatrice and Arthur living at 1 Kingsbury Road, Southampton. He is described as a 'Theatrical Manager' and living with them is his mother in law Jane Lloyd, now a widow, and sister in law Elsie Jane Lloyd described as an actress.

Sadly, Beatrice next appears in the records in 1918 when she files for a divorce on the grounds of Arthur's desertion. The couple had latterly been living in Lambeth, but she is last recorded at 30 Crown Street, Crumlin, then in the county of Monmouth (ref 6).

Edith Sarah Lloyd

Edith Sarah Lloyd married in 1908, Thomas Wern Davies. The 1911 Wales census records him as an 'Artist and Teacher' living at Perswyefg, Penallta Road, Ystrad. Boarding with them was schoolmaster Brinley Griffiths aged 23 years (ref 7).

Edwin Cyril Joseph Lloyd

Skipping Revd William Edward Lloyd who is mentioned above, the next born was Edwin Cyril Joseph, who does not appear in the British records after 1901. It appears he emigrated from Wales to the USA possibly as early as 1907, married Edith Harris and died in Pittsburg, Pensylvania in 1971 (see refs 8 and 9 for example). When they visited the UK in 1956 he was described as retired and she as a teacher.

Edgar David Lloyd

An Edgar David Lloyd born 8th January 1891 emigrated from Wales to the USA in 1914. He married Alice and lived in Youngstown, Mahoning, Ohio, a steel town (refs 8 and 9).

Elsie Jane Lloyd

We do not know what became of actress Elsie Jane Lloyd, who was last recorded living with her sister Beatrice in Southampton. Possibly she adopted a stage name.

New College Worcester

The College for the Blind, which Revd William Edward Lloyd attended, is now named New College Worcester and it continues to be a national residential college supporting young people aged 11 to 19 who are blind or partially sighted.

It aims to help students in three key areas; academic achievement, independent living skills, and involvement in extracurricular activities at the college and in the community - to find out more please click the link above.

We think it may have been the first establishment in the country to provide a secondary education for the blind when it opened in 1866.

Slaughter's Court

The history of the College for the Blind relates that the college was situated at Slaughter's Court from 1887 - 1902, and that the house, which had sizeable grounds of 4 acres, was then rented from Earl Beauchamp of Madresfield Court.

The following advertisement had appeared in The Guardian on Thursday 23 June 1887 (ref 10):

To be let, with immediate possession, Slaughter's Court, Powyke, three miles from Worcester, five from Malvern, and in thorough repair. Mansion, stables, and pleasure grounds, altogether about four acres. Near church. A small quantity of furniture may be had by valuation. For particulars apply A Walter, estate-office, Madresfield, Malvern, Worcestershire.

Nowadays, no trace of the house exists, and it is thought the house was demolished by a developer circa 1958 in order to build new homes. (We gather eighteenth century deeds to the property, once held by solicitor Noel Hyde and Co, can be found in the Worcester Record Office, but have not seen them.)

Slaughter's Court, also once known as Powick Court, lay on the road to Malvern; for many years it was the home of the Russell family who have a magnificent monument in the Lady Chapel of St Peter's Powick; see below.

John Somerset Pakington

John Somerset Pakington, formerly Russell, first Baron Hampton (17991880), politician, was born at Slaughter's Court, Powick, Worcestershire, on 20 February 1799. He was the second son of barrister William Russell (d. 1812) and his second wife, Elizabeth (d. 1813) who was the daughter of Sir Herbert Perrott Pakington, seventh baronet. John adopted the surname Pakington after receiving an inheritance and shortly after became Conservative MP for Droitwich (1837 - 1874) where he had an estate. His parents are recorded on the side panels of the family monument pictured below.

Russell family memorial

Russell family memorial by sculptor Thomas Scheemakers circa 1787

St Peter's church Powick

The transcription of the inscription on the centre panel reads:

To the memory of Mary Russell, wife of William Russell, Barrister at Law. She was the eldest daughter of Joseph Cocks Esq (1773 - 1775) and Margaret, only child of John and Letitia Thorneloe. By a sincere, complacent, and affectionate temper she endeared the conjugal union; the maternal office she discharged with singular judgment, attention and delight. In cultivating those qualities, and excellent principles, paternal love, and guardian care, implanted, she formed a character most worthy, amiable, and pleasing. Her musical talents were various and extensive - taste, sweetness, expression, distinguished her song; execution and grace her instrumental harmony. But far more important was her exemplary regard to religious, moral, and social duties; piety and benevolence prevailed in her mind; cheerfulness and simplicity in her manners; in all her conduct the influence of virtue. She was born on the 21st June 1758. She died the 27th November 1786. Fiat Voluntas Dei.

Mary died aged only 26 years and was survived by her daughter also named Mary born in 1783. The left panel of the memorial records the death of her husband:

Underneath this marble are interred the remains of William Russell Esq of Slaughter's Court died 9th Dec 1812 aged 62 years.

The panel on the right records the death of William's second wife, the mother of John Somerset Pakington nee Russell:

In the same vault lie the remains of Elizabeth Russell, relict of William Russell, Esq of Slaughter's Court. She was the eldest daughter of Sir Herbert Perrot Pakington Bart of Westwood Park, in this county. Died 10th May 1813 aged 51 years.


Mary Susanna Haynes

The Post Office directory of 1849 records Mary Susanna Haynes running a Ladies Boarding School at Powick Court as does a trade directory of 1860. The 1861 census records her still at Powick Court with 23 pupils mostly aged 14 and 15 years. In 1840 she had been running a Seminary at 27 St George's Square, Worcester with her business partner Anna Maria Deering who died in 1860 aged only 51 years.

An 1855 directory mentions a 'Free' school run by the vicar of St Peter's Powick Revd John Henry Turbitt, and we wondered if that might be the National School also mentioned. That had 80 pupils and was then run by school-mistress Miss Jane Knott assisted by one pupil teacher. In 1872 George Thomas Simpson and his wife Elizabeth ran the school.

Maria Margaret and Laura Edmunds

Returning to Powick Court, trade directories record Miss Edmunds running a Ladies School between 1870 and 1872. The 1871 census and baptism records suggest she was Maria Margaret Edmunds born Oswestry, Shropshire about 1811 who ran the school assisted by her younger sister Laura. Earlier they ran a school in Oswestry. Possibly Maria and Laura were the daughters of Oswestry based attorney Edward Edmunds.

John Swinton Isaac

Directories next record E Swinton Isaac in residence at Powick Court from 1873 to 1876. This was almost certainly banker John Swinton Isaac (1835 - 1888) whose children by his second wife were born at 'Powyke  Court'; the census recorded the family still living at 'The Court House, Powick' in 1881. Later in 1888 John died at the family seat of Boughton Park in Worcestershire. His youngest brother Edward Whitemore Isaac had also come to live locally becoming vicar of Hanley Castle in 1879.

Very sadly John Swinton Isaac's eldest son 2nd Lt Arthur Whitemoor Isaac 5th Bn Worcestershire Regiment,  educated at Harrow and Oriel College Oxford, would be killed at the Battle of the Somme on 7th July 1916 aged 43 years. His brother, professional soldier and cricketer, Captain John Edmund Valentine Isaac, DSO, 2nd Bn the Rifle Brigade, who was born at Powyke Court on 14th February 1880, was also killed in the Great War, at the battle of Fromelles Ridge. The husband of their sister Amy Violet Isaac, Lt Col Ernest Charles Forbes Wodehouse DSO (1871 - 1915) who had commanded the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment was killed earlier in the war at the battle of Neuve Chapelle. Their names are remembered on a small wooden plaque at Worcestershire County Cricket Club.

Next, between 1887 and 1902 the College for the Blind occupied Powick Court.

Francis Ffrench Davis

In 1911 Francis Ffrench Davis and his family were in residence. He was born at Kingston-on-Thames in 1868, the son of tobacco broker Francis Arthur Davis. Francis Ffrench Davis had made a good marriage in 1899 to Marguerite Mary Julia Hibbert the daughter of Hubert Aloysius Tichborne Hibbert and Mary Gandolfi Hornyold. The Hornyold family were Roman Catholics and had their seat at Blackmore Park Mansion near Hanley Swan. They were one of three major landowners in the area surrounding Great Malvern; the other two being the Foley family who had made their money a century previously from manufacturing iron, and the Lygons of Madresfield Court.

Blackmore Park

Blackmore Park

At Powyke Court in 1911 with Francis and Marguerite were their children, Gwendoline Mary, Agnes Mary, and Francis Holdsworth; also Marguerite's brother, a nursery maid, nurse, parlour maid, cook, two house maids, kitchen maid and a coachman. The census records that the house had 24 rooms excluding the scullery, landings, lobbies, closet and bathroom. Francis and Marguerite had two further children, Peter Charles born in 1912, and Margaret Elizabeth in 1913. Later, the family lived in Dublin.

Sadly Captain 212036 Francis Holdsworth Ffrench Davis, born at Powick in 1908, of the Royal Army Service Corps, would be killed towards the end of the Second World War, in Italy near the town of Bolsena, on 10th June 1944, leaving a widow Ingrid and two children.

After American forces had captured Rome on 4th June 1944, the retreating Germans mounted a defence 60 miles to the north - at the cross-roads town of Bolsena, to the east of Lake Bolsena, where a fierce battle took place involving tanks of the 6th South African Armoured Division, which had been assigned to the British force, and Panzer tanks and artillery.

Francis is buried in Bolsena War Cemetery.

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  1. Census of England and Wales 1851 - 1911
  2. Welsh Newspapers Online 1909
  3. Crockford's Clerical Directory
  4. London Gazette, 1915
  5. Probate Calendar
  6. National Archives, records of divorce
  7. Register of marriages and 1911 England and Wales census
  8. US census
  9. US World War I and II Draft Registration Cards
  10. Communication from David Scott, former archivist College for the Blind, January 2016
  11. Communication from S Van Asten, descendant of Rev Jaffray Brisbane Nicholson, February 2018.