Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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OWEN , JOHN ( 1564? - 1628? ), epigrammatist ;

son of Thomas Owen of Plas-du , Llanarmon, Caerns. , and nephew of Hugh Owen (see the article Owen of Plas-du ). Scholar of Winchester , 1577 , he matriculated at New College , Oxford , in 1582 , and became a jurist Fellow of the college in 1584 ; B.C.L. 1590 . Owen was schoolmaster at Trelleck, Mon. until, in 1595 , he became headmaster of Warwick school . Although his ten books of epigrams were published between 1606 and 1613 , nothing is known of his life after 1595 . He may have given up his post to live on patronage. But, as no other headmaster is known at Warwick until 1628? he may have taught there to his death in that year and Wood 's statement that he d. in 1622 may be doubted. His patrons included lady Arabella Stuart , the prince of Wales , and Robert Cecil .

His epigrams were best sellers in their day, the first collection of three books being reprinted within a month. Although they were put on the ‘ Index Expurgatorius ,’ their popularity was greater on the Continent than in Britain and they influenced particularly German writers of epigrams. They were translated into English , French , German , and Spanish .


  • Wood , Athenae Oxonienses (1813–20) , i, 400-01;
  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1940 , 130-43;
  • Myth Stories of Greece and Rome (London, Glasgow, 1941) , x, 1941, 65-73;
  • E. Urbanus , ‘Owenus u.d. deutschen Epigrammatiker,’ in Literarhistorische Forschungen , heft. xi, 1900.


John Henry Jones, Ph.D., Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959