Witnesses of the marriageThe witnesses of the marriage between Isabel Owen and John Roberts were Charles Griffith Jones and Samuel Owen, both of whom could have had a family connection with Isabel. Charles had married Martha Owen, whose father, John Owen, had been born in about 1792 in Llandrinio, a village neighbouring Llandysilio, which was the village where Isabel and her mother were born. Isabel's father, James Owen, was born in about 1806 in Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain and, more specifically he was of Penrhos and educated at Deythur (now Deuddwr), all less than 4 miles from Llandrinio. (map 1) Both John and James had a father called Thomas Owen which suggests that James and John might have been brothers. Isabel may well have been staying in Coleham with members of this Owen family at the time of her marriage; there were several such households to choose from, including those of John and Charles.
From the evidence of the 1851 England and Wales censuses the most likely Samuel Owen to have been a witness was Martha’s brother who was the same age as Isabel. If he was still working as a porter for a draper in Surrey, as he had been at the time of the 1851 census, and if he was indeed the other witness then he is unlikely to have undertaken the long journey to attend the ceremony without a powerful motive such as kinship.
Isabel and John had at least two children. Their daughter, Isabel Ellen Roberts was born on 25 November 1852 [Newtown 1852, 4th qt] in China Street, Llanidloes, the street running almost south from the market hall (map 2). Her birth certificate states that at the time John was living in Corris (map 5). Corris in Merionethshire is a village nestling in the narrow steep sided valley of the River Dulais where the Aberdulais Falls had long provided energy for mining from copper to tin but in the mid nineteenth century it was slate-quarrying that lured most people to the area and brought about the building of the Corris Railway which began transporting minerals in 1859.
A second daughter, Catherine Ann Roberts [Newtown 1854 4th qt], was born on 12 November 1854 in Great Oak Street Llanidloes. The mother’s name was given as ‘Isabel Roberts formerly Owens’ on both children’s birth certificates.