James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Baron Owen

There is a suggestion that James’s roots lie elsewhere. A pamphlet [The History of Baron Owen: With a Genealogy of his Ancestors and Descendants by Mair Bradwen, c1896] about Lewis Owen (aka Baron Owen), etc. states, “Among the several descendants of Baron Owen may also be mentioned … the Rev. Elias Owen, Llanyblodwel Rectory, Oswestry; W.P. Owen, Lawyer, Aberystwith”. (Rev. Elias Owen was one of James’s sons and a distinguished antiquarian in his own right. W.P. Owen was one of Elias's sons, William Pierce Owen.) Unfortunately I do not know the sources of Mair Bradwen's information, which makes verification difficult, but this would suggest an entirely different though equally interesting ancestral line. Baron Owen of Plas Yn Dref, Dolgelley, Monmouthshire, under Henry VIII became Vice-Chamberlain of North Wales, Baron of Exchequer at Carnarvon (hence his familiar title of 'y Barwn Owen'), Keeper of the Rolls for Merionethshire and High Sheriff of Merionethshire both in 1546 and in 1555. In his role as magistrate he waged a campaign against felons and outlaws who hid in the hills. Vengeful bandits (the Gwylliad Cochion Mawddwy) murdered him in the woods of Dinas Mawddwy in 1555 as he returned from Montgomeryshire assizes where a settlement had been made concerning the marriage of his eldest son to the daughter of the Lord of Mawddwy. In fact, Baron Owen was married twice and from the several children of his first marriage were descended some distinguished families and some distinguished individuals.

Olwen Hedley’s archives included several family trees, one showing that Margaret Puleston, the wife of Baron Lewis Owen, was descended from Joan, “The Fair Maid of Kent”. At the time (August 1965) Olwen clearly believed she was descended from Baron Lewis Owen and she quoted a report in The Times (April 23 1948) describing one of Joan’s traits which was passed on to her son, Richard II. Olwen commented that her own mother “had this fascinating ability as a child … Presumably it was an inheritance from her remote royal ancestress”. Some years ago the late John Morgan-Owen asked the College of Arms to investigate James Owen’s pedigree but, as far as I am aware, they failed to progress beyond James’s parentage.