James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Recollections about Timothy

A recollection from a member of the Morgan-Owen family stated, It was said of Timothy Morgan-Owen and his brother Elias, that 'one was a devil and the other an angel'. Whilst it is true that Timothy Morgan-Owen's temper, both on the bench and in his capacity as Inspector of Schools, was feared throughout Wales, he had redeeming virtues. He was a humane man, and in common with the rest of the family, devoted to animals. At breakfast he generally sat with a cat on each shoulder. (On the subject of breakfast, I am told he always had a damson put in the marmalade so he could suck the stone all morning.) He saved various animals from a premature death. He even sought out flies caught in spiders' webs and tried to revive them. He hunted with the United, the Flint and the Denbigh, as well as with the pack of his friend Sir Baldwin Leighton of Loton Park near Shrewsbury but I am told that as an animal-love he never attended a kill.

I came across another recollection that included the two brothers. Saint Matthews School, Buckley, Flintshire, produced a booklet in 1949 to celebrate their centenary. It mentions both Elias Owen and his brother Timothy and gives us an insight into some of the work of the HMIs in those days:

Today, a visit of HMI to a school is generally welcomed by the teachers; but in those days 'Examination Day' was regarded as second only in importance to the Day of Judgment itself. Ten days' notice of HMI´s annual visit was received by the School Managers. A Board of Education publication called 'The Code' stated in precise terms what was to be taught in each class in the various subjects. For instance, Standards I and II were examined in Reading from one of two books which they had read and re-read during the year, while the higher standards were tested from one of three books - a Literary Reader, a Geographical and a History Reader. How well I remember the old 'Royal Readers'! Six volumes of them - one for each Standard. I also remember a Historical Reader which had been written by Timothy Morgan-Owen, one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors who used to inspect our Buckley Schools ……. We also had our Annual Scripture and Drawing Examinations. For the former our inspector was the Rev. Elias Owen, and for the latter a retired army officer— a different one each year-sent from the Science and Art Department, South Kensington. Annual Examinations by HMI were abolished in the early 'nineties [i.e. the 1890s].