Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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OWEN , JOHN ( 1854 - 1926 ), bishop ,

son of Griffith Owen and Ann his wife; b. at Ysgubor Wen , Llanengan, Caerns. , 24 Aug. 1854 . Educated at Botwnnog grammar school , he won in 1872 , a mathematical scholarship at Jesus College , Oxford , and after obtaining second class honours in both classical and mathematical moderations, was placed in the second class in the final mathematical school in 1876 . He proceeded to the degree of B.A. in 1876 and M.A. in 1879 . After three years’ teaching at Appleby grammar school he returned to Wales , in 1879 , as Welsh professor and classical lecturer at S. David's College , Lampeter . In the same year he was ordained deacon by bishop Basil Jones (q.v.) , and received priest's orders in 1880 . He spent six years at Lampeter before succeeding A. G. Edwards (q.v.) as warden of Llandovery College . When his predecessor became bishop of S. Asaph in 1889 , he appointed John Owen as dean ; but in 1892 the dean returned to Lampeter as principal . In 1897 he was appointed bishop of S. David's , and he held the see till his death in London , 4 Nov. 1926 .

John Owen was a thorough Welshman , in language and sympathy. He was a vigorous controversialist but this did not impair his esteem of his opponents nor theirs of him. He was deeply interested in the Welsh educational system and its development , and one of his last public acts (apart from his church work) was to act as chairman of the departmental committee which published, in 1927 , the report on Welsh in Education and Life . He was also closely associated with the national eisteddfod and the Welsh Council of the League of Nations Union .

He m., 1882 , Amelia , daughter of J. Longstaff of Appleby , who survived him, and by her he had four sons and six daughters. He was buried at Abergwili , and there is an effigy of him in the Lady Chapel at S. David's Cathedral .


  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1927 ;
  • Who was who? , 1916-28 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • personal information.


Thomas Iorwerth Ellis, M.A., (1899-1970), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959