Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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OWEN , OWEN GRIFFITH ( Alafon ; 1847 - 1916 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister and poet ;

b. 8 Nov. 1847 at Pant Glas , Eifionydd , where his father kept the inn . He had little early education and as a child he worked for a time on a farm . When about 12 years old he went to live with an aunt in the Carmel district of Caernarvonshire and worked in the Dorothea quarry , Tal-y-sarn . He was afterwards a clerk in the Braich quarry , Upper Llandwrog . He began to write verse at an early age and had won some eisteddfod prizes while he was working in the quarry . When he was about 29 he decided to enter the Calvinistic Methodist ministry ; he went to the Clynnog preparatory school , to Bala C.M. College and, for two or three terms, to Edinburgh University , leaving without taking his degree. He was called to the pastorate of the church in Ysgoldy, Caerns. , in 1883 ; this was his only pastoral charge and he remained there until the end; he was ordained in 1885 . He was not a popular preacher , but he was a model pastor of a country church, a gentle and kindly man with a host of friends, not only amongst men, women, and children, but also amongst wild creatures, birds in particular. As a poet he was more than once within a little of winning the national chair and crown, but his best work is to be found in his englynion and in his shorter lyrics. In his prose, which is usually good, he shows something of his quiet humour. In 1904 he edited a selection from the writings of W. R. Jones ( Goleufryn , q.v.) , and edited Y Drysorfa from 1913 until his death. He published two books, a volume of verse, Cathlau Bore a Nawn ( 1912 ), and a little book of essays, Ceinion y Gynghanedd ( 1915 ). He was unmarried. He d. 8 Feb. 1916 , and was buried at Bryn'rodyn , near Groeslon, Caerns.

His brother, WILLIAM OWEN (‘ Llifon ’; 1857 - 25 Sept. 1922 ) was a Baptist minister , a poet , and a notable eisteddfodic conductor (on him, see Y Geninen , 1923 , 109).

Sources:

  • R. H. Watkins , Cofiant a Gweithiau y Parch. O. G. Owen (Alafon) , Dolgellau, 1926 ;
  • personal knowledge.

Author:

Edward Morgan Humphreys, O.B.E., M.A., (1882-1955), Caernarfon

Published date: 1959