Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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OWEN , JEREMY ( fl. 1704-1744 ), Presbyterian minister and writer ;

was a son of David John Owen of Bryn , Aber-nant, Carms. ( 1651? - 1710 ), and thus nephew of James Owen (q.v.) and of Charles Owen (q.v.) . The father, who lived at Pwllhwyaid , had been for many years teaching elder of Henllan Amgoed congregation before being ordained ( c. 1705 ) as its pastor . Like his brother James , he was a ‘moderate’ Baxterian in doctrine and Presbyterian in his views on church polity. There was, however, a strong hyper-Calvinist and ‘congregationalist’ element at Henllan , led by Lewis Thomas of Bwlch-y-sais , another of the teaching elders . Repeated attempts by neighbouring ministers to compose their disputes ( 1707-9 ) ended in the expulsion of Lewis Thomas and his party, who founded a new congregation at Rhyd-y-ceisiaid .

On D. J. Owen 's death ( 7 Oct. 1710 ), his son Jeremy , a young man of considerable parts, was called ( 1711 ) to succeed him. The date of his birth is unknown; but he was educated at his uncle's Academy at Shrewsbury , where Thomas Perrott (q.v.) was his contemporary and friend. His uncle had imparted to him not only a sound classical scholarship but also the ‘moderate’ views associated with his name. Fresh troubles now broke out at Henllan , and another secession to Rhyd-y-ceisiaid ensued, led by Mathias Maurice (q.v.) and Henry Palmer (q.v.) . Undefined but self-confessed laxity of conduct on Jeremy Owen 's part compelled him to resign his pastorate, c. 1715 . He is found keeping school in London in 1718 ; in 1721-6 he was pastor at Petworth ; in 1726-32 at Barnet ; and in 1733-44 at Princes Risborough . He afterwards emigrated to America ( T. Rees , Hist. of Prot. Noncon. , 2nd ed., 294), and d. there at an unknown date.

In the meantime, Mathias Maurice 's published account ( 1727 ) of the Henllan disputes had provoked Jeremy Owen to a rejoinder, Golwg ar y Beiau sydd yn yr Hanes a Brintiwyd ynghylch Pedair i Bump Mlynedd i nawr, ym mherthynas i'r Rhwygiad a wnaethpwyd yn Eglwys Henllan yny Blynyddoedd 1707, 1708, 1709 ( Carmarthen , 1732/3 ; reprint, University of Wales Press , 1950 ), a pamphlet written in the raciest of idiomatic Welsh and with merciless dialectical skill. Owen 's other works are entered in Llyfryddiaeth y Cymry , under 1711 and 1713 ; but the ascription to him there of a funeral sermon on his uncle Charles Owen , 1746 , and of another work in the same year, is incorrect (see H. Egl. Ann. , iii, 360) — these were by JOSIAH OWEN ( 1711 - 1755 ), of Rochdale , who is in the D.N.B. He was certainly, on his own statement, one of the Bryn family — possibly a posthumous son of D. J. Owen (and therefore brother to Jeremy ), possibly a son of EVAN OWEN , of Cyffig parish, who is conjectured ( H. Egl. Ann. , iii, 338) to have been a fourth of the sons of Bryn .

Sources:

  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iii, 338-40, 357-60;
  • Owen Jones in Y Traethodydd , 1887 , 128-40, 400-12 (with copious excerpts from Jeremy Owen's writings);
  • D. M. Lewis in Y Cofiadur , 1925 , 22-49;
  • T. Richards in A History of Carmarthenshire , ii ( 1939 ), 165-70;
  • NLW MS 10329.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959