Sir John Edward Lloyd, historian and the first editor of the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, was born on 5 May 1861 in Liverpool. He was the son of Edward Lloyd, J.P. and Mary Lloyd who were originally from Montgomeryshire.
He attended Aberystwyth University and Lincoln College, Oxford where he gained in 1883 a first class honours in the primary exam in Latin and Greek, and in 1885 another first class in history.
In 1885 he returned to Aberystwyth to lecture in Welsh and History and in 1892 he moved to Bangor as a registrar and an assistant to Principal Reichel. In 1899 he became a history lecturer at the University College of North Wales.
He wrote for many academic periodicals on the subject of Welsh history, but it was for his work published in 1911 that he became famous, A History of Wales to the Edwardian Conquest. Because of it he gained a D.Litt in Oxford in 1918, from the Universities of Wales in 1922 and Manchester in 1941. Amongst his later published work, Owen Glendower (1931), is the most important. In 1930 he became a Fellow of the British Academy, and to them he gave the lecture The Welsh Chronicles, which was published by the Oxford press in 1930. He was for many years one of the most prominent figures at the National Eisteddfod, and one of the pillars of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg. He was a Congregationalist, and enjoyed expounding the Independent polity in church government. In 1934 he was elected president of the Congregational Union of Wales. He died 20 June 1947.