James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

The Anglesey connection

I should mention at this point that although the tree under consideration was drawn up by Olwyn Hedley, she wrote at one stage that she believed her family to be descended “not directly from Sir John Owen …. but from his younger brother Maurice.” (Maurice who was born at Fernhill, Whittington, Shropshire on 11 April 1610 and who inherited lands in Anglesey from his mother.)

James’s gravestone states "James Owen (Penrhos)" and, whilst the Penrhos with which he was directly associated is that in Montgomeryshire there is also Penrhos near Holyhead on the western side of Anglesey (map) near where the ancestors of this Owen tree originated; there is a distinguished family, the 'Owens of Penrhos'. The old Penrhos family, once a very powerful family, are believed to have stabilised their surname as Owen in the 16th century. ‘Penrhos’ has been used as a baptismal name or as a house name by several of James Owen's descendants and James’s eldest granddaughter, Margaret Jane Shelby, daughter of Sarah Ann Shelby (née Owen), believed that her Owen line came from the Owens of Penrhos in Anglesey. It may well be that Penrhos (‘pen’ means ‘head, end’ and ‘rhos’ means ‘moorland’) in Montgomeryshire derives its name from Penrhos in Anglesey. James’s son, Timothy, claimed to be a ‘connection of the house of Penrhos’.

Thus, members of our Owen family believed they had roots in Anglesey but whether this was as late as the 18th century or with earlier generations is not clear.