James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
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Oswald Williams Owen In the 1930’s Os and his family lived at Beechcroft, Beechgrove Road, Newcastle. The West End of Newcastle in which St. Mary the Virgin church stood was a poverty-stricken area of the city. In an article about his retirement [Newcastle Journal, 19 Jan. 1935] Os commented, somewhat acerbically:

Since 1918 Mr. Owen has seen considerable changes in the West End. "During my ministry the parish has become progressively poorer, and there has been an exodus of parishioners to the suburbs and the south," he told a Newcastle Journal representative last night “Still, I have had loyal support from those who remain, and our activities have included the building of a parish hall and the restoration of the interior and exterior of the church.

“Fewer people are going to church today – it is the same everywhere – but the duties in a parish like this are still very arduous. Moreover, I have been without a curate for the past five years – one result of the financial condition of the district.” (The photo, left, accompanied the article.)

These comments seem very downbeat coming from someone who was generally cheerful and positive but they may reflect Os’s mood at that time; not only was he suffering ill health – the reason for his retirement – but Edith’s brother, Rev. Patrick Andrew Clay, had died on 13 January, just days before the article was published.

Os continued to suffer ill health for four years and died on 29 May 1939 in Newcastle Hospital. His sister Mary and his brother Reginald drove up to Newcastle in her chauffeur-driven car to be at his funeral and memorial service. Reginald described in a letter to their brother Frank in Canada how he went up to Newcastle after Os’s death but that he had heard nothing from them since. He wrote: "They must be rather badly fixed but they are odd people who seem to resent proffered help". ABout six months after Os's death, in the 1939 Register Elizabeth was with her spinster sister, Jean, at 'Devonia', Rothbury Northumberland.

Edith was 69 when she died on 25 May 1944 at Strathclyde House, Carlisle, which was previously called the Border Home for the Incurables; her home address at this time was still "Beechcroft", Beeching Grove Road, Newcastle.