Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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OWEN , LEWIS (‘ Baron Owen ’; d. 1555 ), judge .

Son of Owen ap Hywel ap Llywelyn , of Llwyn , Dolgelley . Under Henry VIII he was appointed deputy-chamberlain of North Wales and baron (i.e. judge) of the exchequer at Caernarvon ; he was sheriff of Merioneth in 1545-6 and 1554-5 , and Member of Parliament for the shire in 1547 , 1553 , and 1554 ; he lived at Cwrt Plas-yn-dre , Dolgelley . As sheriff , he undertook to extirpate the ‘ Red Bandits of Mawddwy ,’ and in revenge was killed , 12 Oct. 1555 , on the spot still known as ‘ Llidiart-y-barwn ,’ near Mallwyd, Mer.

Owen was twice m., and from his first marriage issued an unusually large number of the later gentle families of Merionethshire who appear in the present work; see J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees , 363. From the eldest son, JOHN OWEN of Llwyn , came the Bronclydwr family (see Hugh Owen , 1639 - 1700 ). The second son, HUGH LEWIS OWEN of Cae'rberllan , Dolgelley , a lawyer , would appear to have been the ancestor of the Tan-y-gadair family (see Henry Owen , 1716 - 1795 ), but the pedigrees are inconclusive on this point. The third son, EDWARD OWEN of Hengwrt ( Griffith , op. cit. 201), was the grandfather of the antiquary Robert Vaughan and the ancestor of the later Hengwrt and Nannau families . The fourth son, GRIFFITH OWEN , of Tal-y-bont , Llanegryn , married the heiress of Peniarth ( Griffith , op. cit., 323); some hold that his eldest son, Lewis , was identical with the Lewis Owen who is the subject of the next article — if so (but the evidence is shaky), the ‘spy’ would be the grand-father of the famous Dissenter Hugh Owen of Bronclydwr , for Susan , daughter of Lewis Owen of Tal-y-bont , was Hugh Owen 's mother; it will be noticed that the Bronclydwr and Tal-y-bont families, each descended from baronOwen , had intermarried. Another of Griffith Owen 's sons was Henry , father of the Independent divine John Owen ( 1616 - 1683 ) . The fifth of baronOwen 's sons was ROBERT OWEN of Dolserau ( Dolgelley ) — see Griffith , op. cit., 363 — grandfather of the Quaker Robert Owen (d. 1685 ) , and great-grandfather of the Quaker Griffith Owen .


  • History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher, and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fadog , vi, 409-10, 464;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (1914) .


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959