Lloyd, Charles Dalton Clifford (1844–91), resident magistrate and public servant, was born 13 January 1844 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, eldest son among four sons and two daughters of Col. Robert Clifford Lloyd (1809–63) of the 68th Regiment (Durham Light Infantry) and his wife Annie (d. 1908), daughter of Capt. George Savage of the 13th Light Dragoons. The Lloyd family, from Denbigh, north Wales, had been in Ireland since the 1680s; Charles's grandfather Bartholomew Lloyd (qv) and his uncle Humphrey Lloyd (qv) were both provosts of TCD. He was educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and joined (1862) the police force in British Burma, where he rose to be inspector general of registration. In 1872 he returned to Britain and entered Lincoln's Inn (3 July). He was called to the bar in Trinity term 1875, having been appointed (16 February 1874) a resident magistrate in Ireland, thus becoming one of the few RMs with legal qualifications.
For the first six years he was stationed in Belfast, operating in the petty sessions districts of Co. Down. In actual or imminent public disorder he was resourceful and capable of directing large forces of constabulary; he took a wide view of the powers and responsibilities of an RM, and would tell those who questioned his actions that they could take him to court if he acted illegally. In the agrarian and political crisis of 1879–82 Dublin Castle understandably valued an RM who would act decisively without prompting, and without asking for further powers. He was sent to Longford at the beginning of 1881 to take control in a local crisis, and from there to Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, on 12 May. Within twelve days, having obtained the Castle's approval, he disabled the local Land League branches by arresting en bloc the Kilmallock and Kilfinane committees under the Protection of Person and Property Act. The Kilmallock chairman, Fr Eugene Sheehy (qv), thus became the first priest to be imprisoned during the land war. During the growing disorders of late 1881 Lloyd became a favourite target of hostile rhetoric and his life was threatened, but W. E. Forster (qv), the chief secretary, came to place increasing reliance on him. Towards the end of 1881 Forster devised, in consultation with Lloyd and Lord Spencer (qv), a scheme for regional control of executive powers. In late December Lloyd was one of five (later six) ‘special RMs’ appointed, initially for six months, each directing police, troops, and RMs in a ‘division’ extending into several counties. His own division consisted of Limerick, Clare, and Galway.
Lloyd's Irish career reached its zenith in early 1882. By this time, throughout Ireland, the army commonly provided the main part of forces assembled for potential riot situations. Lloyd took this a step further: almost at once on becoming a special RM, he overcame the reluctance of the military authorities to disperse troops, and obtained the loan of selected soldiers for use in very small posts or on personal protection duties, freeing the police for patrolling. He also took an initiative in rationing the use of the security forces in protecting ejectments and evictions. However, Lloyd paid too little regard to public perception of his actions. To prevent intimidation of new tenants, he stopped the Land League from housing evicted tenants nearby; his opponents naturally represented this as a gratuitous blow to the dispossessed. In a well publicised episode, the county inspector of Clare (without his knowledge) issued instructions for Lloyd's police escorts, undertaking to indemnify constables who shot persons erroneously suspected of being about to attack him. From such material Lloyd's Irish and British critics built up a dictatorial image, and the legacy of his assertive manner was still felt in Limerick and Clare years later. Nonetheless Forster, while recognising that ‘with all his vigour Mr Lloyd is a little too impulsive, too much up and down’ (Florence Arnold-Forster's Irish journal, 382), left office with no regrets at having appointed him and the other special RMs.
Lloyd, however, had begun to think that it would be better both for himself and for the government if he left Ireland. In May 1882, and again five months later, he requested employment elsewhere. He did not succeed in allaying discontent among the constabulary in Limerick (5 August 1882), and in the latter part of 1882 the focus of executive attention shifted to secret societies and away from his forte, public order. By the middle of 1883 he seemed to have lost some of his grip and drive; and when later that year the special RMs were reorganised as ‘divisional magistrates’ more closely linked to the constabulary system, his appointment – like those of H. A. Blake (qv) and Col. W. F. Forbes (1836–99) – was not continued. Retaining the status of an ordinary RM, he was given extended leave. He spent most of the next year in attempted reform of the police and prisons system in Egypt, where his renewed zeal and activity ran counter to the entrenched interests of local authorities, and ultimately evoked a threat of resignation from the Egyptian minister Nubar Pasha (1825–99).
Lloyd's service in Egypt ended on 31 August 1884. He hoped for a colonial governorship, but none of the cabinet was at that time prepared to employ him outside Ireland. In view of his past service, Spencer wanted to help, but had no opening for Lloyd other than his existing post as an RM. His assignment in that capacity to Derry in early 1885 inevitably appeared as a demotion. This was unsatisfactory for all parties, and Lloyd resigned before the end of the year to take up a position as lieutenant-governor and colonial secretary in Mauritius. He was perhaps the least suitable colleague that could have been found for the controversial governor, Sir John Pope Hennessy (qv). Their personal and political differences (Hennessy later became anti-Parnellite nationalist MP for Kilkenny North, 1890–91) were irreconcilable, and in August 1886 Lloyd was transferred to the Seychelles, but never took up the post. He resigned from the colonial service in 1887. Between employments he wrote a memoir of his Irish service, published posthumously as Ireland under the Land League (1892). On 15 September 1889 he was appointed consul for Kurdistan, where his work on behalf of the Armenian population was approved by the British ambassador at Constantinople (Istanbul). He died of pneumonia at Erzurum on 7 January 1891.
Lloyd married (30 April 1867), in Burma, Isabel Henrietta, only daughter of Capt. Henry Sabine Browne of the Rifle Brigade. She survived him; they had no children. His youngest brother, Wilford Neville Lloyd (1855–1935) of the Royal Horse Artillery, served (December 1881–1882) as a temporary RM in Lloyd's division, having been decorated and mentioned in dispatches for active service in Africa.
Lloyd's early success as an RM came from his nerve, resourcefulness, and readiness to act on his own initiative and responsibility. However, these – combined with his appetite for confrontation and some lack of tact in dealing with colleagues and subordinates, let alone opponents – also led to controversy and ultimate damage to his career. His outspokenness is exemplified by his describing the RIC as ‘an army of occupation on which is imposed the performance of certain civil duties’ (Ireland under the Land League, 51). He was ready to dispute with the Treasury about his entitlements, with the Castle's law officers about the handling of cases, and with his superiors about general policy; and from 1883 onwards he tended to put his own case in letters to newspapers, another practice that set him apart from the average public servant. Forster and Spencer, nonetheless, retained a high regard for his character and abilities, and his memoir remains a valuable source for the period.