Childhood, education, marriage
Thomas William Owen and his twin, Timothy, were born in Llanidloes (map 2) on Saturday, 29 July 1843. His own writings and those of his brother, Elias, provide an insight into their lives as children and there is information about Llanildoes, followed by early pictures, (here).
The North Wales Chronicle, 4 Nov 1865 reported: "JESUS COLLEGE: It gives us great pleasure to find that Mr. T.W. Owen, Llanllechid, son of Mr. James Owen, Llanidloes, was on the 24th ult., elected to a Scholarship at Jesus College, of the annual value of £80, tenable for five years. We understand that he received his education under Dr. Turner, at the Royal Institution School, Liverpool." Thomas matriculated at Jesus College Oxford on 25 October 1865 aged 22. He was a scholar between 1865 and 1870, graduating in Modern Mathematics (2nd class) in 1867 and in Mathematics and Physics (BA, 2nd class) in 1869. A Welsh newspaper in January 1870 announced that he was one of the top six Oxford honors graduates in mathematics. He obtained his MA in 1877. His brother Elias studied at nearby Culham some of the time he was there.
Thomas was ordained a priest in 1872 by the Bishop of Peterborough - he had been ordained a deacon in 1870 - and was curate of Blisworth, Northamptonshire, from 1870 to 1873 and of St. Barnabas, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, from 1873 to 1875. He then spent seventeen years as vicar of St. Nicholas, Leicester (left). He appears to have lived at 90 High Cross Street, Leicester, next door but one to the High Cross Brewery, until the vicarage was built in 1885. This was a working class area of terraced housing (right). High Cross Street is now called Highcross Street and number 90 is now a casino! Reports indicate that his brothers Elias and Elijah were popular within their rural communities. There is inadequate reportage of Thomas in his urban parish to help to define his character but, for example, a lecture he gave in 1878 was poorly attended.
On 29 October 1878 at Bangor Cathedral Thomas married Elizabeth Humphreys, the daughter of a seed merchant, Humphrey William Humphreys of High Street, Bangor. Often one of the clergymen in the Owen family conducted the marriage ceremony for other family members but in this case Rev. Edward Lewis Lloyd officiated at the ceremony. Elizabeth's father was a witness, as were three people unknown to me, I. Wynn Jones and Sarah and Elizabeth Edwards.