William Lloyd

William Lloyd was born in Bristol between 1608 and 1611. His father was probably Thomas Lloyd, an important brewer who had married Elizabeth Gibbes in Christ Church Bristol on 14 Apr 1605.

No record of William’s baptism exists so it is circumstantial and speculative about his parents but the marriages and activities of William and his children indicate a close relationship with this Lloyd family. These activities centre around the early mercantile activity in 17th century Bristol, the Sugar trade from Nevis and Barbados and early settlement in New England.

William Lloyd’s will of 1675 identifies his children and this gives a number of clues about his life. Firstly he is described as a Mariner and this could explain why he is largely absent, despite his relative wealth, from the extensive Bristol archives of the time. Nonetheless the will shows that he held land in Newport, Rhode Island as well as property in Redcliffe in Bristol. His wife’s name is given as Alice, but once again there is no record of a marriage to be found in the various surviving Bristol Parish registers.

His eldest daughter is named as Sarah Smiton, who is living in Rhode Island and she is bequeathed the property in Newport in William’s will. Her husband William Smiton had died in 1671 and his will exists in the United States.

Another daughter Mary married Thomas Butler, mariner, and William seems particularly concerned for the only surviving daughter of this marriage Martha Butler. It is this Martha, as a Quaker, who went on to marry Thomas Harford in 1688 and whose will of 1739 identifies her as the mother of Alice Harford, the wife of Robert Amberson Marten. Indeed Robert Amberson Marten names his eldest son William Loyd Marten baptized 2 Apr 1725, St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol.

A further daughter Joanne was married to Captain Robert Dapwell – a name that turns up in Nevis, Barbados and also in Baltimore, where he wrote his will and probably died in 1680

One son Richard Lloyd was married to Deborah Ellis. She is identifiable as the daughter of Thomas Ellis a well documented mariner and sugar trader, with extensive interests at one time in the island of Nevis. Thomas Ellis founded the sugar refinery in Whitson Court Bristol, but also significantly was the leading light of the Church of Christ in Bristol. This was an early Baptist church in Bristol whose extensive records from 1640 to 1687 have survived.

This is therefore an early hint of the non conformism that was going to dominate the thoughts and beliefs of the Marten family.

William Lloyd was thus a well established and relatively wealthy man, an accomplished sea farer and someone who had spent a fair time overseas. Indeed some of his children may well have been born abroad.

Circumstantially this mirrors the kind of activities of many of the mercantile families such as the Gibbes. Henry Gibbes the father of Elizabeth Gibbes was mayor of Bristol in 1634. Henry’s son Philip became an important plantation owner in Barbados. His daughter Mary married Richard Nethaway, another brewer, and she too was an important mover in the Church of Christ.

Some of the children of Thomas Lloyd and Elizabeth Gibbes, his wife, are directly identifiable, again with no baptisms and their careers are also instructive in the class and parallel careers of Bristol at this time.

Their eldest daughter and putative elder sister of William Lloyd would appear to be Elizabeth who married Richard Bond. She died in Virginia in 1657, mentioning Gibbes relatives in her will. The Bristol Archives would indicate that there was probably a son Thomas and a son Henry, who may have been involved in their father’s brewing and wine business, before relatively early deaths. Thomas’s youngest son though was John Lloyd, who himself went on to become Mayor of Bristol in 1678 and receive a knighthood. Sir John Lloyd is quite well recorded, being described in one text as a pompous Welshman, but there was no doubt that he was a successful Bristol businessman largely described as a vintner, but also a royalist.

Sir John’s children were able to inherit the mansion of Ridgeway, just outside Bristol, but it is recorded that his third son James had to leave home to find his fortune and he went first to Rhode Island, aged 18. This perhaps provides the strongest clue that Sir John Lloyd and William Lloyd were brothers. William Smiton, William Lloyd’s son-in-law, was a close friend with a Francis Brinley and mentions him as such in his will of 1671. After a few years in Rhode Island, possibly in the Smiton household James married Grizell Sylvester niece of Francis Brinley and moved to Boston, where he and his descendants became important early colonial figures, holding property in New York State.

William Lloyd lived to about the age of 70. It seems likely he would hold differing views to Sir John Lloyd, who was evidently a Tory. William was clearly widely travelled, but chose not to settle either in the West Indies or New England. He undoubtedly came into contact with the slave trade in early colonial Nevis and Barbados. We know, however, that he chose the harsh climate of New England to obtain property perhaps as a possible place to settle. This was a choice  over the sunnier climes of the West Indies, where many  similar sea captains sought their fortune as plantation owners. This may shed light on his religious viewpoint, his attitude to religious tolerance and even to the economics of slavery. Nonetheless, in the end he came back to Bristol and spent his later years there. He was buried on 6 Jan 1676.