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  • Writer's pictureRichard Edmunds

John Lennon – a Welsh National Hero?

JOHN Lennon's little-known family connection to Wales is revealed and fully detailed in my newly published book, Inside the Beatles Family Tree.

The book details Lennon's Welsh roots through his Victorian ancestors, John Millward, a solicitor’s clerk, of St Asaph, Flintshire, and Mary Elizabeth Morris, a farmer’s daughter, of Berth y Glyd, Llysfaen. Their daughter, Annie Millward, married merchant seaman George Stanley, in November 1906 in Liverpool, and the couple had five daughters, including Lennon’s mother, Julia, who also later wed a merchant seaman, Alfred Lennon, in 1938.

Berth y Glyd Farm, Llysfaen, Wales

Previous researchers into Lennon’s welsh roots had mis-identified John Millward as the son of a pub owner in Llantwit Major, South Wales. My research shows conclusively that he was in actual fact the son of Thomas Millward, head gardener to Sir John Hay Williams, High Sheriff of Flintshire, and that John was born in the stately surroundings of Dolben Hall, in the mid 1830s, whilst his father was employed in service there.

Dolben Hall Estate, Wales

Apprenticed as a solicitor’s clerk to the Williams family as a teenager, in his early twenties John Millward suffered a serious mis-hap during a hunting expedition, when the locking mechanism of his gun failed and the weapon discharged into his body at close range, leaving him near death, and forcing the amputation of his entire left arm. Whilst recuperating from this dreadful accident, in a guest house at Rhyl, he met the twenty-year-old Mary Morris, and love blossomed.

Mary had left her parent’s farm at Lysfaen shortly before, in disgrace, after giving birth to a child out of wedlock with a neighbour, who had subsequently refused to acknowledge her or the child. Eager to avoid further scandal, when she fell pregnant again to John, the unmarried couple crossed into England, giving birth to John Lennon’s grandmother, Annie Milward, in rented lodgings at the Bear and Billet Inn, Chester, in 1871. They set up home together, in Liverpool, shortly after.

Bear and Billet Inn, Chester

Unfortunately, the relationship between the couple did not last. John Millward ended his life living alone and in poverty, estranged from Mary and their daughters, freezing to death on the floor of a delipidated Liverpool bedsit, after suffering a stroke in his mid-fifties, his body lying undiscovered for several days.

Mary, died in her eighties, eight years before the birth of her rock star great-grandson. She was a powerful family matriarch, who refused to speak English, labelling it the ‘devil’s tongue', and insisted all her family regularly attend the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church, at Toxteth, Liverpool.

Perhaps the most exciting of my new new discoveries came through my research into Mary’s family roots. These reveals her great-great grandfather to be the Reverend Richard Farrington, of Llandwanda, Caernarvonshire, a noted author of several books on the ancient antiquities of Wales in the early 18th century.

John Lennon's ancestor, Reverend Richard Farringdon

Through him, I trace Lennon’s ancestry back a further five generations to Owain ap Hugh, an Elizabethan High Sherriff of Anglesey, and through Owain, another five generations back to Tudor ap Gruffud, killed at the Battle of Pwll in 1405, the brother of Welsh national hero, Owain Glyndŵr.

Owain Glyndŵr, Welsh National hero, ancestral uncle to John Lennon

These Welsh aristocratic roots also make John Lennon a direct descendant of Llewelyn the Great, ruler of Wales in the 13th century, and through Llewelyn’s spouse Joan, of King John of England, King Malcolm of Scotland, William the Conqueror, and, even of England's earliest national hero, King Alfred the Great.

Full details of John Lennon’s royal ancestry and his family link to Wales are contained in Inside the Beatles Family Tree, by Genealogist and Author, Richard A Edmunds, published by AR Heritage Publishing, and available to purchase now from

All profits from sales are donated to the National Foundation for Youth Music, in memory of John Lennon and George Harrison.

John Lennon, Julian Lennon, Yoko Ono and Kyoko Cox, visiting Tywyn, Wales, 1969.
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