Edward Lhuyd

Summary

Edward Lhuyd FRS (pronounced [ˈɬʊid]; occasionally written Llwyd in line with modern Welsh orthography, 1660 – 30 June 1709) was a Welsh naturalist, botanist, linguist, geographer and antiquary. He is also named in a Latinate form as Eduardus Luidius.

Bust of Edward Lhuyd outside the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth
Lhwyd's "flat fish" drawn by him in 1698 and now identified as the Ordovician trilobite O. debuchii.

LifeEdit

Lhuyd was born in 1660, in Loppington, Shropshire, England, the illegitimate son of Edward Lloyd of Llanforda, Oswestry, and Bridget Pryse of Llansantffraid, near Talybont, Cardiganshire in 1660. His family belonged to the gentry of south-west Wales. Though well-established, the family was not wealthy. His father experimented with agriculture and industry in a manner that impinged on the new science of the day. The son attended and later taught at Oswestry Grammar School and went up to Jesus College, Oxford in 1682, but dropped out before graduation. In 1684, he was appointed to assist Robert Plot, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum (then in Broad Street), and replaced him as such in 1690, holding the post until his death in 1709.[1]

While working at the Ashmolean, Lhuyd travelled extensively. A visit to Snowdonia in 1688 allowed him to compile for John Ray's Synopsis Methodica Stirpium Britannicorum a list of flora local to that region. After 1697, Lhuyd visited every county in Wales, then travelled to Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man. In 1699, it became possible through funding from his friend Isaac Newton for him to publish the first catalogue ever of fossils: Lithophylacii Britannici Ichnographia. These had been collected in England, mostly in Oxford, and are now held in the Ashmolean.

Lhuyd received a MA honoris causa from the University of Oxford in 1701 and a fellowship of the Royal Society in 1708.[1]

In 1696 Lluyd transcribed much of the Latin inscription on the 9th-century Pillar of Eliseg near Valle Crucis Abbey, Denbighshire.[2] The inscription subsequently became almost illegible due to weathering, but Lhuyd's transcript seems to have been remarkably accurate.[3]

Lhuyd[4] was also responsible for the first scientific description and naming of what we would now recognize as a dinosaur: the sauropod tooth Rutellum impicatum (Delair and Sarjeant, 2002).[5]

The first written record of a trilobite was by Lhuyd in a letter to Martin Lister in 1688 and published (1869) in his Lithophylacii Britannici Ichnographia.[6] It is a fleeting mention, and he simply identifies his find as a "skeleton of some flat fish". The trilobite is nowadays identified as Ogygiocarella debuchii Brongniart, 1822.[7]

Pioneering linguistEdit

In the late 17th century, Lhuyd was contacted by a group of scholars led by John Keigwin of Mousehole, who sought to preserve and further the Cornish language. He accepted their invitation to travel there to study it. Early Modern Cornish was the subject of a paper published by Lhuyd in 1702; it differs from the medieval language in having a considerably simpler structure and grammar.

In 1707, having been assisted in his research by a fellow Welsh scholar, Moses Williams, Lhuyd published the first volume of Archaeologia Britannica: an Account of the Languages, Histories and Customs of Great Britain, from Travels through Wales, Cornwall, Bas-Bretagne, Ireland and Scotland. This has an important linguistic description of Cornish, noted all the more for the understanding of historical linguistics it shows. Some of the ideas commonly attributed to linguists of the 19th century have their roots in this work by Lhuyd, who was "considerably more sophisticated in his methods and perceptions than [Sir William] Jones".[8]

Lhuyd noted a similarity between two linguistic families: Brythonic or P–Celtic (Breton, Cornish and Welsh) and Goidelic or Q–Celtic (Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic). He argued that the Brythonic originated in Gaul (France) and the Goidelic in the Iberian Peninsula. He concluded that as the languages were of Celtic origin, those who spoke them were Celts. From the 18th century, peoples of Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales were known increasingly as Celts. They are seen to this day as modern Celtic nations.[9][10]

Death and legacyEdit

On his travels, Lhuyd developed asthma, which eventually led to his death from pleurisy in Oxford in 1709.[1] He died in his room in the Ashmolean Museum aged just 49 and was buried in the Welsh aisle of the church of St Michael at the Northgate.[11]

The Snowdon lily (Gagea serotina) was for a time called Lloydia serotina after Lhuyd. Cymdeithas Edward Llwyd, the National Naturalists' Society of Wales, is named after him. On 9 June 2001 a bronze bust of him was unveiled by Dafydd Wigley, a former Plaid Cymru leader, outside the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth, next to the National Library of Wales. The sculptor was John Meirion Morris; the inscription on the plinth, carved by Ieuan Rees, reads "EDWARD LHUYD 1660–1709 IEITHYDD HYNAFIAETHYDD NATURIAETHWR" ("linguist, antiquary, naturalist").[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Thomas Jones. "Lhuyd, Edward (1660–1709), botanist, geologist, antiquary and philologist". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  2. ^ grid reference SJ 20267 44527
  3. ^ Robert M. Vermatt, "The text of the Pillar of Eliseg"
  4. ^ Lhuyd, E. (1699). Lithophylacii Britannici Ichnographia, sive lapidium aliorumque fossilium Britannicorum singulari figura insignium. Gleditsch and Weidmann:London.
  5. ^ J. B. Delair and W. A. S. Sarjeant, 2002, "The earliest discoveries of dinosaurs: The records re-examined", Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 113 (3), pp. 185–197.
  6. ^ R. M. Owens, 1984. Trilobites in Wales. Geological Series No. 7. 22 pp. (Geological publications of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff).
  7. ^ A. Brongniart, 1822, Les Trilobites, pp. 1–65, plates 1–4: A. Brongniart and A. G. Desmarest, Histoire Naturelle des Crustacés Fossiles, Paris.
  8. ^ Campbell, Lyle, and William J. Poser (2007). Language Classification. History and Method. Cambridge University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-521-88005-3.
  9. ^ Davies, John (1994). A History of Wales. London: Penguin. p. 54. ISBN 0-14-014581-8.
  10. ^ "Who were the Celts? ... Rhagor". Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales website. Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. 4 May 2007. Archived from the original on 17 September 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  11. ^ britisharchaeology.ashmus.ox.ac.uk https://web.archive.org/web/20200804134018/https://britisharchaeology.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/collections/lhwyd.html. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Edward Lhuyd Memorial", National Recording Project, Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, archived from the original on 13 May 2016, retrieved 30 June 2016

WorksEdit

  • Lhwyd, Edward (2007). Evans, Dewi W.; Roberts, Brynley F. (eds.). Archaeologia Britannica: texts and translations. Celtic Studies Publications. Vol. 10. Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications-Cymru. ISBN 9781891271144.

Further readingEdit

  • Campbell, John Lorne; Thomson, Derick S. (1963). Edward Lhuyd in the Scottish Highlands, 1699–1700. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Cram, David (2010). "Edward Lhuyd's Archaeologia Britannica: method and madness in early modern comparative philology". Welsh History Review. 25 (1): 75–96.
  • Daniel, Glyn (1966). "Edward Lhuyd: antiquary and archaeologist". Welsh History Review. 3: 345–59.
  • Delair, Justin B.; Sarjeant, William A. S. (2002). "The earliest discoveries of dinosaurs: the records re-examined". Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 113 (3): 185–197. doi:10.1016/S0016-7878(02)80022-0.
  • Edwards, Nancy (2007). "Edward Lhuyd and the origins of early medieval Celtic archaeology". Antiquaries Journal. 87: 165–96. doi:10.1017/S0003581500000883. S2CID 161645828.
  • Edwards, Nancy (2010). "Edward Lhuyd: an archaeologist's view". Welsh History Review. 25 (1): 20–50.
  • Hellyer, Marcus (1996). "The pocket museum: Edward Lhwyd's Lithophylacium". Archives of Natural History. 23: 43–60. doi:10.3366/anh.1996.23.1.43.
  • Emery, Frank (1971). Edward Lhuyd, F.R.S., 1600–1709. Cardiff: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru. ISBN 0900768673.
  • Gunther, R. T. (1945). Life and Letters of Edward Lhwyd, second Keeper of the Musaeum Ashmoleanum. Early Science in Oxford. Vol. 14. Oxford.
  • Lock, Charles (2007). "Five passports and a broken stone: tercentenary thoughts in honour of Edward Lhuyd". In Sevaldsen, Jørgen; Rasmussen, Jens Rahbek (eds.). The State of the Union: Scotland, 1707–2007. Angles on the English-Speaking World. Vol. 7. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum. pp. 129–52. ISBN 9788763507028.
  • MacGregor, Arthur (2010). "Edward Lhuyd, museum keeper". Welsh History Review. 25 (1): 51–74.
  • McGuinness, David (1996). "Edward Lhuyd's contribution to the study of Irish megalithic tombs". Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 126: 62–85.
  • Parry, Graham (2010). "Edward Lhuyd: from formed stones to standing stones". Welsh History Review. 25 (1): 3–19.
  • Roberts, Brynley F. (1979). "Edward Lhwyd's collection of printed books". Bodleian Library Record. 10: 112–27.
  • Roberts, Brynley F. (1980). Edward Lhuyd: the making of a scientist. G. J. Williams memorial lecture 1979. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0708307477.
  • Roberts, Brynley F. (2009). "Edward Lhwyd (c.1660–1709): folklorist". Folklore. 120 (1): 36–56. doi:10.1080/00155870802647825. S2CID 161827188.
  • Roberts, Brynley F. (2019). "Edward Lhwyd in Cornwall". Studia Celtica. 53 (1): 133–152. doi:10.16922/SC.53.8. S2CID 213962823.
  • Williams, Derek R. (1993). Prying into Every Hole and Corner: Edward Lhuyd in Cornwall in 1700. Trewirgie: Dyllansow Truran. ISBN 1850220662.
  • Williams, Derek R. (2009). Edward Lhuyd, 1660–1709: a Shropshire Welshman. Oswestry: Oswesty & District Civic Society.

External linksEdit

  • Archaeologia Britannica (1707). Downloadable pdf at The Internet Archive
  • Biography of Edward Lhuyd from the Canolfan Edward Llwyd, a centre for the study of science through Welsh
  • Lithophylacii Britannici ichnographia (1699) – full digital facsimile from Linda Hall Library