James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
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Elijah's churches in Anglesey

According to Crockfords Elijah was a curate at Llanfaes, Penmon (1875-1881) (left), then in charge of Llandegfan (1881) [as evidenced by the 1881 census] and finally of Beaumaris w Llandegfan. However The North Wales Chronicle (24 Feb 1894), states: "In 1875, he was appointed curate of Llanfaes and Penmon, which office he held up to 1888" (date of his last entries in the Parish Register: 20 March 1888). Lastly he occupied the living of Llangoed with Llaniestyn and Llanfihangel Din Sylwy.

The confusion with regard to Llandegfan will have arisen as a result of a major controversy in 1881, in which Elijah was innocently embroiled. As a result of complaints the previous year, the main one being that the rector contravened the law by holding only one service at Llandegfan each Sunday, the Bishop of Bangor had informed the rector of Llandegfan, Rev. J Williams-Meyrick (also vicar of Beaumaris), that unless he appointed a curate by a certain date, the Bishop would do so; in due course, the Bishop had appointed Elijah who was licensed on 4 March 1881. The rector, preferring his own appointee and protesting strongly, took the service on Sunday, 7 March, which was attended by a large congregation (expecting some conflict), including Elijah and one of the Bishop's secretaries. At the end of the service, Elijah presented his license from the Bishop and announced that he would be holding a service at 6 p.m., which was promptly negated by the rector who then locked and padlocked the door and the gate to the churchyard, refusing to give up the keys to a church warden. Shortly before the time of the evening service, church wardens, on the instructions of two diocesan registrars, broke in, enabling Elijah to preach to another large congregation and without further incident. The affair was reported nation-wide but here is a report from the North Wales Chronicle.

The following week another report in the North Wales Chronicle summarised again these events and added that the rector had appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and had yet again changed the locks to Llandegfan Church. He had also obtained summonses for misdemeanour against a blacksmith (he was probably involved in the forcing and replacing of locks), one of the Bishop's secretaries, two church wardens and the parish clerk. It was not until 12 July that the Archbishop gave his judgement, which was to dismiss the rector's appeal. [Bristol Mercury and Daily Post] (Both reports can be seen here.)