James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
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Timothy corresponded with the distinguished historian W.E.H. Lecky who had been a student at Trinity College then a lecturer there and finally the university’s Unionist MP. Some of these letters in the University archives give a further insight into Timothy's character. The ‘Pedigree of Her Majesty’ is mentioned in one of these letters and also in an equally indignant though less personal letter on the subject to The Standard, a national newspaper; he was a staunch royalist and a stickler for accuracy.

Timothy’s contributions in many areas, notably education and religion, both locally and nationally, are a matter of record. His public service, his social standing and his support for the Conservative and Unionist Party made him a likely candidate for an honour but his willingness to express his unbending, strongly held but often controversial views, such as those in this letter to Lecky, probably counted against him. His opinion of the Boers was shared by many in Britain, particularly those in the military, but the mood of the country and of many MPs had been gradually changing. (Part of the historical background to remarks in the letters are explained here.) He wrote a far more conciliatory, letter to Lecky later that year. Timothy was clearly very bitter at being passed over for an “honour” However he did have the distinction of being presented at Court by the Duke of Devonshire at the last levee held by King Edward VII and also attended the first levee held by King George V.

Timothy Morgan Owen & family These last two letters were written when Timothy was living at the lovely, regency house called Maes Fron, Trewen, near Welshpool, now a Grade II listed building. It was recently described as a good example of a compact and largely intact early nineteenth-century gentleman's residence with unusual gazebo and grotto in the garden, in a fine south facing situation. At the time of the 1901 Census (31 March), the household at Maes Fron included his wife, Emma, daughter, Nesta, two houseguests, four resident staff, including a page boy, and his son, Hugh, then a student at Oxford.

There were those who suggested that Timothy was a self-publicist who may even have written his own 'news items' for the press. A series of cynical and mainly anonymous letters appeared in the Wrexham Advertiser, etc; the first, on 17 August 1878, began, "Who is Mr T. Morgan Owen?". The criticisms were that he appeared far too often in local papers, in various guises and with questionable views, that such reports sometimes ignored other speakers and other aspects of an event and that the approbation of his audiences was exaggerated with excessive use of "(applause)", "(hear, hear)" and "(cheers)".