James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

It is likely that ill health led Elias to reduce his workload and to retire as an HMI. The Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent (10 June 1892) reported that Elias was "seriously unwell" though it was not until January of the following year that he preached his last sermon at Efenechtyd (Ibid., 20 Jan 1893)). Whilst he may no longer have been an active HMI he maintained his involvement in education as this letter to The Times of August 1897 illustrates.

One further news item that appeared not long before Elias left Efynechtyd concerned the maen camp or "feat stone" which, in October 1891, was his contribution to an Ecclesiastical Art Exhibition during the Church of England Congress held at Rhyl. The 45kg maen camp "with which young men of olden times were in the habit of testing their strength on Sundays or holidays by throwing the stone over their heads backwards" [Bye-gones 7 Oct. 1891, p. 179] can still still be seen in Efynechtyd church.


When Elias left Efenechtyd in 1892 he also gave up his role as an HMI. The North Wales Chronicle, in his obituary, touches on the affection in which he was held:-

On resigning his appointment as Diocesan Inspector, he was presented with a beautifully illuminated address, with a photograph of St. Asaph cathedral at the head, a view of his little parish church at Efenechtyd at the foot, and his own portrait in the margin, by the clergy and school managers of the diocese. He was also presented with an address at the same time by the teachers and parents of children. Both addresses pay a touching tribute to the sincerity with which Mr. Owen carried out his work, and speak of the esteem in which he was held, and both were accompanied by a purse of gold. Mr Owen as an antiquary and author enjoyed an extensive and well-deserved reputation.

This was also reported in The Montgomeryshire Collections Vol xxxi. It was in 1893 that, "on behalf of some three hundred masters and mistresses of schools, and a large number of children in the diocese" of St. Asaph, a ceremony took, place "at Ruthin Castle through the courtesy of Colonel Cornwallis-West, Lord Lieutenant of Denbighshire, when The Rev. Elias Owen, .... was presented with two purses which contained cheques amounting to nearly ₤100 and with a beautifully illuminated address, the work of Mr. Fred Walmsley of Ruthin." [Bye-gones 17 May 1893, p. 83]