Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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OWEN family of Cefn-hafodau and Glangynwydd in Llangurig , later of Glansevern in Berriw, Mont. This family, of South-Welsh origin (pedigree in Mont. Coll. , iii, 232), emerges into notice towards the middle of the 18th cent. , when it produced two successive generations of noteworthy men.

DAVID OWEN ( 1700 - 1777 ), who m. Frances Rogers of Cefn-y-berain ( Kerry ), had four sons, of whom three claim notice here:



1. OWEN OWEN ( 1723 - 1789 ), sheriff of Montgomery , 1766 , m. Anne , daughter and heiress of Charles Davies of Llifior ( Berriw ), and had three sons:

( a ) Sir ARTHUR DAVIS OWEN ( 1752? - 1816 ), sheriff of Montgomery , 1814 , a lawyer , took an active part in the public life of his shire ( deputy-lieutenant , chairman of the quarter sessions ), and was second in command of its Yeomanry Cavalry from 1803 till his death, childless, 18 Oct. 1816 . He lived at Glansevern , Cefn-hafodau having been sold.


( b ) DAVID OWEN He was bapt. 16 Sept. 1754 in Berriew church . The father was described as a ‘ gent. of Keel ’ and the family owned much property in the area. He attended his uncle's school at Warrington before going up to Trinity College , Cambridge where he was a Senior Wrangler in 1777 and won the principal Smith Prize in the same year. He gained his M.A. degree in 1780, and became a Fellow of his college. He took orders, but afterwards settled in New Brunswick , where he d., unmarried, on 10 Dec. 1829 .


( c ) WILLIAM OWEN ( 1758 - 1837 ), He. was bapt. 22 Aug. 1758 in Berriew church . He was educated at Warrington under his uncle Edward (2, below), went to Jesus College , Oxford , for a short period, and at Trinity College , Cambridge ( fifth Wrangler , 1782 , and Fellow ), was called to the Bar ( K.C. 1818 ); after the death of his brother, Sir Arthur , he inherited Glansevern and became a distinguished figure in the county, and chairman of quarter sessions . A Whig , he strongly supported the abolition of the ‘ Great Sessions of Wales ,’ and rallied his county to the support of the Reform Bill of 1832 . He d. 10 Nov. 1837 ; his widow, Anne Warburton Owen ( Mont. Worthies , 214), d. 1876 , left Glansevern to his great-grand-nephew, A. C. Humphreys , who thereupon changed his name to Humphreys-Owen (he is separately noticed). There are monuments to all three at Berriw .




3. WILLIAM OWEN (d. 1778 at Madras ) entered the Navy as a boy in 1750 , and was at Plassey ( 1757 ) and at the taking of Pondicherry ( 1760 ) while still a midshipman ; he became captain c. 1770 . He had two sons, who attained high rank in the navy :

( a ) admiral Sir EDWARD CAMPBELL RICH OWEN ( 1771 - 1849 ), who took part (as commander ) in the Walcheren expedition of 1809 , was knighted in 1815 , was vice-admiral on the East India Station , 1828-32 , and in the Mediterranean , 1841-5 , became admiral in 1846 , and d. 8 Oct. 1849 .


( b ) viceadmiral WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM OWEN ( 1773 - 1857 ), who was in the ‘First of June’ action of 1794 and at the Spithead mutiny of 1797 , after which he was commissioned. In the 1803-15 war he fought in many actions (he was prisoner of war 1808-10 ), but both then and afterwards, he was chiefly famed as a hydrographer ; his charts were of high repute. He carried out surveys in many parts of the world. In 1847 he was given flag rank , and in 1855 retired, as vice-admiral . He d. 3 Nov. 1857 , in New Brunswick , which had long been his ‘shore’ residence, as he had acquired the lands there which belonged to his cousin David (1 ( b ) above).

Bibliography:

  • Collections Historical and Archaeological relating to Montgomeryshire , iii, 232, 252-62, an account of the whole family by Edward Hamer ;
  • the two admirals and the schoolmaster appear in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , and (with several others of the family) in R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies , second ed., 1894 .
  • Alumni Cantabrigienses (1951) , 611, 614;
  • Berriew parish registers at N.L.W.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Author:

Dr Llewelyn Gwyn Chambers, Bangor