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Edward Lhuyd ( , Hloo-id; sometimes rewritten as Llwyd in recent times) (1660 – June 30, 1709) was a Welshmarker naturalist, botanist, linguist, geographer and antiquary.

Lhuyd was born in Loppingtonmarker, Shropshiremarker, the illegitimate son of Edward Lloyd of Llanforda, Oswestrymarker and Bridget Pryse of Llan-ffraid, near Talybont, Ceredigion, and was a pupil and later a master at Oswestry Grammar Schoolmarker. His family belonged to the gentry of south-west Walesmarker; though well-established, his family was not well-off, and his father experimented with agriculture and industry in a manner that brought him into contact with the new science of the day. He attended grammar school in Oswestrymarker and went up to Jesus College, Oxfordmarker in 1682 but dropped out before his graduation. In 1684, he was appointed assistant to Robert Plot, the Keeper of the Ashmolean Museummarker and replaced him as Keeper in 1690; he held this post until 1709.

Whilst employed by the Ashmolean he travelled extensively. A visit to Snowdoniamarker in 1688 allowed him to construct for John Ray's Synopsis Methodica Stirpium Britannicorum a list of flora local to that region. After 1697, Lhuyd visited every county in Wales, and then travelled to Scotlandmarker, Irelandmarker, Cornwallmarker, and Brittany and the Isle of Manmarker. In 1699, with financial aid from his friend Isaac Newton, he published Lithophylacii Britannici Ichnographia, a catalogue of fossils collected from places around Englandmarker, mostly Oxford, and now held in the Ashmolean. In 1707, having been assisted in his research by fellow Welsh scholar Moses Williams, he 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 book is an important source for its linguistic description of the Cornish language.

In the late 17th century Lhuyd had been contacted by a group of scholars, led by John Keigwin of Mouseholemarker, who were trying to preserve and further the Cornish language and he accepted the invitation to travel to Cornwall to study the language. Early Modern Cornish was the subject of a study published by Lhuyd in 1702, and differs from the medieval language in having a considerably simpler structure and grammar.

In 1701, Lhuyd was made MA honoris causa by the University of Oxford, and he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1708. Lhuyd died of pleurisy in Oxford in 1709.

The Snowdon lily Lloydia serotina bears his name, as does Cymdeithas Edward Llwyd, the National Naturalists' Society of Wales.

He is responsible for the first scientific description and naming of what we would now recognize as a dinosaur: the sauropod tooth Rutellum implicatum (Delair and Sarjeant, 2002).

Further reading

  • Delair, Justin B. and William A.S. Sarjeant. "The earliest discoveries of dinosaurs: the records re-examined." Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 113 (2002): 185-197.
  • Emery, Frank. Edward Lhuyd. 1971.
  • Evans, Dewi W. and Brynley F. Roberts (eds.). Archæologia Britannica: Texts and Translations. Celtic Studies Publications 10. 2007. Description.
  • Gunther, R.T. The Life and Letters of Edward Lhuyd. 1945.
  • Roberts, Brynley F. Edward Lhuyd, the Making of a Scientist. 1980.
  • Williams, Derek R. Prying into every hole and corner: Edward Lhuyd in Cornwall in 1700. 1993.
  • Williams, Derek R. Edward Lhuyd, 1660-1709: A Shropshire Welshman. 2009.
  • "Never at rest" A biography of Isaac Newton by Richard S. Westfall ISBN : 0-521-27435-4 pp581,


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