James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
click on picture for enlargement

1860s & a New Gaol

At the time of the 1861 census James and Susannah were in residence at 9 Castle Street, Montgomery, with their son Elisha and their granddaughter Catherine Anne Roberts, daughter of their daughter, Isabel (aka Isabella).

Name Posn.
in family
Age Occupation Place of birth
OWEN James h m 54 police Officer MGY Llansanffraid
OWEN Susannah w m 54 MGY Llandisilio
OWEN Elisha Edwin s u 13 scholar Llanidloes
ROBERTS Catherine Ann gd u 6 scholar Llanidloes

Although this property was the residence of an innkeeper in 1871, these four people were the only residents in 1861 and not listed as boarders. Whatever the reason for their temporary residence in the county town, they were back in Llanidloes in 1871.

I have found no 1861 census entry for the other younger members of the family.

Llanidloes gaol In 1864 a new police station was built in the High Street, Llanidloes, (prior to that prisoners were held at the Round House, over the Short Bridge, and prior to that, I believe, in a ‘crib’ near the Market Hall). For a while the Owen family lived a few doors down from this police station.

Llanidloes people shared the national love of legend. Elderly residents of the town contributed to an article on twentieth century legends; it was said of the old magistrates’ court, “The yard and the holding cells are silent and empty now, though an aura of dread seems to remain.” The miscreants in James’s day must have occupied those cells with a sense of foreboding; as earlier examples have illustrated, the magistrates’ punishments for petty crimes were often severe.