Meg and I are both Members of Nailsworth Quaker Meeting. We both went to Quaker schools. I to Sibford Ferris and Leighton Park, Meg to Sidcot. We are proud of our Quaker background and education and my mother, though not a Quaker, was an enthusiastic family archivist and loved the rich and varied history of the Lloyd family. I hope you find the following brief account interesting.


Mary Eliot Walker, my mother, who died on 15th September 2003 was the last surviving daughter of an Edwardian branch of the old Lloyd family.

The Lloyd family history is traceable back over the centuries and as the early Quakers kept their history carefully recorded in the family bibles much is known about their family links. This has provided an astonishing catalogue of their success as iron founders and then bankers.

The Lloyds' Welsh background probably explains their decision to become Quakers in the17th Century and nothing characterizes the devotion, determination and downright obstinacy of the early Quakers than the story of Charles Lloyd the Second during his persecution and imprisonment from 1662 to 1672. Because of his refusal, as Quakers did not swear oaths, to swear an oath to the King he was imprisoned with the utmost severity, and without trial by jury, in Welshpool goal.

Prisons in the seventeenth century were not pleasant places, in fact, incarceration in them was a slow death sentence as death by disease was near certainty. Welshpool had the worst reputation of any in Wales and as a further humiliation those of some status who were imprisoned were put 'in a low room; the felons and malefactors in a chamber overhead, their chamber pots and excrements, etc. often falling upon them'. Despite these appalling conditions Charles Lloyd's wife, Elizabeth, decided to join him in prison and 'lie upon the little straw' that was his bed. Even more astonishing was that Elizabeth's first son was born within the prison walls in August 1662, and named Charles after his father.

Edward Evans, another Quaker imprisoned with Charles died of dysentery and pneumonia at this time. The prisoners asked to have the body buried, but the jailer refused, unless the Quakers agreed to bribe the coroner so that the jailer was not blamed for Edward's death. This they would not do so the prisoners lay with the rotting corpse for some days until the situation so unnerved the jailer that he gave permission for the body to be removed and it was then buried in secret without an inquest.

It is hard for us to understand these gruelling circumstances or the persecution that so unreasonably took place. The hatred of people who were 'different' was used by the monarchy to take the public's mind off the real problems that existed and the Quakers were an easy target. Their insistence on wearing large brimmed hats made them easy to distinguish and they would not raise their hats for any man. In fact, Thomas Lloyd, Charles's brother tried to get him released by approaching Lord Herbert directly. At the time Lord Herbert was playing bowls with a 'very drunk' priest and Thomas allowed him to finish his game. Herbert's first words were not very favourable - "I see you are a Quaker for you keep your hat so fast upon the block".

Despite this unauspicious start, Thomas Lloyd's pleadings were so articulate and persuasive that after some weeks Charles Lloyd was released from his room of incarceration and allowed to live within the prison precincts until his release from Welshpool Goal under the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672.

There are many other stories of the bravery and cruelties of the period and Thomas Lloyd eventually went to New England to escape the persecution and started the Lloyds connection there.

Other Quakers went to Birmingham in the Midlands. This was because at the time Birmingham was sufficiently small not to fall under the Five Mile Act. The Five Mile Act prevented any Non-conformist clergymen from approaching within five miles of a corporate borough, and was a way of restricting the influence of Quakers and stopping their views spreading. Whilst Birmingham was small enough not to be a corporate Borough, its 'manufacturers… were a busy and thriving race' and Birmingham was at its dawn as a mighty manufacturing city.

One of the Quakers who went to Birmingham was Sampson Lloyd the First. He, like his elder brother, had been born in Welshpool jail. He worked in iron and eventually had forges in Burton on Trent and Powick on Tene. His headquarters and warehouse were in Edgbaston Street in Birmingham and besides manufacturing iron from iron ore he also founded large slitting mills for making nails. The technique of making nails in slitting mills had been invented by the Swedes and the secret brought to England by a man named Foley in an early case of industrial espionage!

From these beginnings Sampson Lloyd's branch of the family became responsible for the operation of the largest steel foundry in the British Isles.

The story of banking is no less extraordinary. Up until 1640 the merchants of London had for centuries left their money and valuables under Crown Protection in the Royal Mint. However, in 1640, the impecunious Charles I, refused money for the Army by Parliament, had the bright idea of raiding the merchants' bullion and 'borrowed' £150,000.

Things were never quite the same again and the merchants then turned to the goldsmiths and their strongrooms as a place of deposit for their treasure. When they deposited their cash and gold they were given "goldsmiths' notes" and these were the forerunners of the modern bank note. It did not take the goldsmiths long to discover that of the sums left in their keeping only a proportion needed to be kept to meet current withdrawals, and there remained substantial sums lying idle which could be lent. Out of this beginning, modern banking began and the Quakers, with their reputation of honesty and trustworthiness, were ideally placed to make a success of it.

In 1765, Sampson Lloyd the Second entered the banking business in partnership with John Taylor operating under the name of Taylor and Lloyd. There were four shares, the two founders each brought a son into the business, and such was the honesty of the parties that no legal deed was bought into place during the hundred years the bank remained a partnership. Both men were rich, Sampson Lloyd had developed the iron business and John Taylor was a button manufacturer, something which Birmingham was famous for. However, it was Sampson Lloyd who was the dominant figure in the bank and the detailed work of running the bank he left to his son, Sampson Lloyd the Third.

Sampson Lloyd's home in Birmingham was at what became known as Sparkbrook. He bought a fifty six acre property called simply 'Farm' which replaced the family seat in Wales at Dolobran. At the time 'Farm' was countryside on the edge of Birmingham and Charles moved into a large mansion surrounded by gardens landscaped to his own taste. The house at 'Farm', which is now in a relatively deprived area of Birmingham, has been recently restored and is open to the public.

The Bank prospered under the management of Sampson Lloyd the Third and his step brother Charles, later known as Charles Lloyd the Banker. Both had the same father and Charles, interestingly learnt his banking skills at the business of Freame, Barclay, Freame and Co., now Barclays Bank, Charles's sister having married Charles Barclay, one of the partners!

The Lloyds lived in Birmingham until the 1930's and Maryel was bought up in a fine house on Hagley Road, sadly now demolished for a large office block. She was the last remaining link with this particular generation of a large and distinguished family.

An early water powered furnace for smelting iron ore.


Copyright Eliot Walker – March 2003

Based on extracts from Fruitful Heritage by Ernest Allison

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