James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
click on small picture for an enlargment

The Montgomeryshire Constabulary

By 1840, James had decided on a major career change.

oath Montgomeryshire constable Since policing by parish constables had often been found unsatisfactory, the County Police Act was passed in 1839 giving county authorities the opportunity to establish constabularies. The Montgomeryshire Quarter Sessions set up a committee to investigate the state of crime in the county and to look into the cost of such a venture. Following the publication of its findings on 24 May 1840 it was decided that there was a pressing need for a county constabulary; the Montgomeryshire County Constabulary was to become one of the first professional police forces to be set up in Wales and James Owen was the second of the initial batch of twelve police constables to be sworn in at Welshpool on 24 August that year (see document).

He would have been paid between 18/- and £1 per week and would have been issued with a great coat (£1-16s-6d), a drip coat, exclusive of buttons (£1-11s-6d), two pairs of trousers (14/-) a cape (5/9d), a badge (8d), a pair of boots (11/6d), a pair of shoes (9/-), a hat (11/6d) - in 1860 the hats were replaced by helmets - a pair of handcuffs (5/6d), a cutlass, a belt and a scarf.
(From A history of the Montgomeryshire Constabulary : 1840-1948. by W.C. Maddox)

According to an obituary of Elias in the Montgomeryshire Collections, vol xxxi, James and his family moved briefly to Montgomery soon after Elias's bith in 1833 but when the County Constabulary commenced active duties on 14 September 1840 James was assigned to Llanidloes. It had been intended to allocate a Superintendent and two county constables to the town but this was reduced to just two constables and, in the event, the initial allocation became just one, James Owen.