James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

The Denbighshire Free Press, 19 December 1885 reported the trial of William Barker, Lon fawr, Ruthin, who was found guilty of stealing a horse rug belonging to Elias. Either Maggie or Mary Owen gave evidence: "Miss M. Owen said that she and her sister were in Ruthin on December 8th, at nearly 8 p.m. with a pony trap, and had a horse cloth. They got out when near the Bee Hive, in Clwyd-street, and put the cloth (now produced) over the pony. They went to see what time it was at the Peers' Memorial, leaving the trap standing. They were away about two minutes, and when they came back, the rug was gone." Barker, who had a previous conviction, was sent to gaol for three months hard labour.

Elias remained at Efenechtyd for almost eleven years and while the family lived there, his children enjoyed considerable success. William represented Wales several times at football and qualified as a solicitor (Elias himself was fond of sport and "took a great delight in football and cricket", Bygones, 24 May 1899 & Arch. Camb. 1901, ser. 6, Vol I): Edwin graduated from Oxford and went into the Church and in 1888 Thomas Edward was just starting his studies at Durham with the intention of following a similar path.

yew trees Efenechtyd At about that time, their brother Elias was completing his course at Lampeter College, also intending to serve the Church and, like William, he had played football for Wales. Tragically, young Elias took his own life on 20 September 1888, an event which must have had a devastating effect on such a close-knit family. He hanged himself from one of the yew trees (pictured, right) in the churchyard when reportedly suffering from depression as a result of performing badly in his final exams but a descendant believes that his depression and suicide were caused by the discovery that his wife had been having an affair; she ran off with her lover but was left destitute, fell into abject poverty and died at the age of forty-one.

About six months later, the Charity Commission sent down an Assistant Commissioner, a barrister called David Lewis, to hold an inquiry into the endowed charities of the parish; Elias had to arrange accommodation for him at the "Black Moor Inn". It seems that of great interest was £35 deposited in Ruthin Bank for the poor of the parish and the names of several men, probably church wardens, were cited. This was part of a major inquiry into all such charities that Mr. Lewis was making in Denbighshire. The outcome of the inquiry is unknown but in August that year, the bishop offered Elias the living of Rhosesmor, near Flint. Presumably Elias turned it down [Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent 23 Aug.1989]