James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
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Public Speaking

Timothy Morgan Owen enjoyed public speaking, notably on education and church matters. If local newspaper reports can be relied upon (see next page) his speeches were generally received with great enthusiasm. He spoke at Church Congresses and conferences and he took an active part in the maintenance of Church Schools and in the erection and restoration of churches. He was immensely proud to be Welsh (see this report of a typically provocative and nationalistic speech he made in 1878) and a staunch supporter of the Church of Wales during the prolonged disestablishment controversy. [Eventually, in 1914, Parliament passed the Act depriving the Anglican Church of its status as the State Church in Wales but it was a further six years before the dioceses of Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph and St David's ceased to be part of the province of Canterbury.]

Timothy was also a staunch supporter of the Conservative and Unionist Party. I was told that several times he was invited to stand for Parliament by its Central Office but, having paid for his sons' education, he claimed to have insufficient funds, money then being a prerequisite for a candidacy. In August 1878 he attended a London banquet in honour of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, then Earl of Beaconsfield, and the future Prime Minster, the Marquis of Salisbury, where he presented an address on behalf of the Conservative Association of Rhyl, congratulating their lordships on their “Glorious and historic deeds at the Congress of Berlin.” The North Wales Chronicle (28 Sept. 1878) stated, perhaps wrongly, that he had been selected to be the Conservative candidate for the Montgomeryshire boroughs; the article reported an ill-judged comment Timothy made at the Montgomeryshire Agricultural Society dinner in which he chastised the local Liberals for choosing an English, Anglican candidate to contest the local parliamentary seat held by Sir William Wynne; he was widely vilified for raising political issues at such a gathering.

On 21 October 1882 Timothy was invited by teachers, managers of voluntary schools, and members of school boards to explain the New Educational Code. The event at Rhyl Town Hall was followed by a banquet for Timothy and for his assistant, Mr Morris. (The speech, reported in the The Wrexham Advertiser & N Wales News, 28 Oct 1882, exemplifies the clarity of his oratory.)

Timothy was invited to speak at the tercentenary of his alma mater, TCD, in July 1892, an event attended by an impressive galaxy of talent including many distinguished academics; he seconded the resolution to invite graduates to contribute to the university's graduates' memorial.