Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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OWEN , ROBERT ( Eryron Gwyllt Walia ; 1803 - 1870 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister, and poet ;

b. 3 April 1803 at Ffridd-bala-deulyn , near Tal-y-sarn, Caerns. , son of Griffith Owen , a native of Waun-fawr , and Anne his wife, daughter of the house of Ffridd and sister of the preachers , Robert Roberts of Clynnog and John Roberts of Llangwm (qq.v.). Shortly after he was born his parents moved to Caernarvon , where he was brought up. He attended the school kept by Evan Richardson (q.v.) , where he received a better education than was customary in those days, and was later apprenticed to a house-painter ; he continued to work as a painter until he retired some five years before his death. While he was still a boy at Caernarvon he experienced the emotions of the Beddgelert revival ( 1817-8 ) and John Elias made a profound impression on his mind. About the same time he began to take an interest in literature ; he sought the company of the local poets and was given instruction and encouragement by the master poet , Dewi Wyn (q.v.) . Towards the end of April 1824 , when he was 21, he went to London . He became a member of the chapel at Jewin Crescent where he came into prominence as a teacher at the Sunday school and later as its superintendent . In 1832 he m. Ellen Owen , whose sister was the wife of the eminent actuary , Griffith Davies (q.v.) . He was ordained at the Holywell Association in 1859 . He appears to have been celebrated for his addresses. He was also notable for his intimate knowledge of the Bible , for his ability to apply that knowledge, and for his interest in Puritan theology . He wrote a considerable amount of poetry , mainly of a religious nature, in both the classical and the ‘free’ forms. For some time he refused to join the Gwyneddigion Society because of its ‘irreligious’ atmosphere; but in 1833 he was its official poet . The same reason kept him from attending eisteddfodau, although he occasionally competed in them. One of his literary friends was Thomas Edwards ( Caerfallwch , q.v.) . He d. 22 Aug. 1870 .


  • G. Parry , Cofiant a chasgliad o weithiau barddonol y Parch. Robert Owen, (Eryron Gwyllt Walia), Llundain (Manchester, 1880) (Manchester, 1880 ).


Professor John Ellis Caerwyn Williams, M.A., B.D., (1912-99), Bangor / Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959