Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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OWEN , MATTHEW ( 1631 - 1679 ), poet , of Llangar , in Edeirnion, Mer.

Matthew Owen was christened 10 April 1631 , son of the first wife of John Owen , who in his turn was son of a John Owen , traditionally stated to have been the son of Owen John , rector of Llangar from 1586 till his death in 1592 . He composed a number of songs in the manner of Huw Morys — englynion , cywyddau , and at least one elegiac awdl . Several of his songs reveal that he lived for some time at Oxford , but his name does not appear in Foster or in Wood . His Carol o Gyngor was published in Oxford in 1658 , and fifteen facsimile copies were reproduced in 1897 under the editorship of Richard Ellis . Poems by Owen are found in Carolau a dyrïau duwiol ( 1729 ed., 114), and in Blodeu-Gerdd Cymru (150, 288, 382). The last of these can be dated 1656 from internal evidence. Many other poems, mainly religious and patriotic, by this author, are found in manuscripts in N.L.W. These include his ‘ Conversation with the fox, at Oxford ,’ and a pleasing song entitled ‘ Conversation with the moon, at Oxford ’; in the latter the moon is bidden to address the people of Merioneth , and to contradict the false story that the poet is dead. He wrote an elegiac awdl to Sir John Owen , of Clenennau (d. 1666 ) , and a poem to Richard Hughes , vicar of Gwytherin (a living which he held from 1660-74 ). In a late manuscript of the latter ( N.L.W. MS. 668 ), the poet is called ‘ Mathew Goch , alias Owen .’ Matthew Owen was a keen Anglican , and turned in the same circle as Huw Morys and Edward Morris . He was a competent composer of englynion , and one englyn of his, viz. ‘ Aneddfawr santaidd noddfa… ’ can be seen above the church porch at Tal-y-llyn , and on other churches in Merioneth and Denbs. , including Llanfachreth and Llansilin . There are also two englyn of his in Cefn Coch MSS. 210, 274. The poet was m. (date and place unknown) to an Elizabeth , and a daughter of theirs, Lowri , was christened 16 Sept. 1678 . His dwelling-place was Tyn-llwyn-isaf . According to Llangar parish registers in N.L.W. , he was buried there 24 Dec. 1679, ‘aged 48’.

Sources:

  • Printed sources above-mentioned, and many manuscripts in N.L.W.;
  • R. Williams Parry , Beirdd Meirion detholiad o'u gwaith ar gyfer plant ysgol , Blaenau Ffestiniog, 1932 , 1932 ;
  • full account of his poetry in The National Library of Wales Journal , Winter 1952 , 277-82;
  • information from Llangar parish registers by Mr Evan Roberts of Llandderfel.

Author:

David Myrddin Lloyd, M.A., (1909-81), Aberystwyth / Scotland

Published date: 1959