Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WYNNE , OWEN ( 1652 -?), civil servant ,

was the second son of Hugh Gwyn (alias Hugh ap John Owen ) of Gwaenfynydd , Llechylched , Anglesey , who claimed descent from Hwfa ap Cynddelw , the 12th cent. lord of Llifon , and of Elin , daughter of Robert ap John ap William of Tre'rddolphin . He entered Jesus College , Oxford (matriculated 10 July ) in 1668 , and graduated B.A. in 1672 . At some subsequent date he qualified as a doctor of laws , and probably became an advocate of Doctors' Commons ( 10 Jan. 1694 ). He was confidential secretary to Sir Leoline Jenkins (q.v.) during the latter's tenure of the secretaryship of state ( 1680-5 ), and retained the office of undersecretary under Jenkins 's successors till c. 1690 ; in this capacity he served as secretary to the commissioners sent by James II to treat with William of Orange ( Nov. 1688 ). He is thus an early example of the permanent civil servant ; a contemporary account of his duties (which included custody of all papers and translations of those in Latin , French , Spanish , Italian , and Dutch ) is printed in F. M. G. Evans , The Principal Secretary of State ( 1923 ), 192, where his salary is given as £140 with board and lodging or £200 without. Among his other offices were those of warden of the Mint ( to 1690 ) and secretary to the commissioners for prizes ( Jan. 1693 ). He kept his North Wales acquaintances, especially Sir Robert Owen , of Porkington and Clenennau (see Owen , Sir John ), posted with the latest court news in James II 's day.

His eldest son, WILLIAM WYNNE ( 1693 - 1765 ), lawyer and author , followed him to Jesus College (matriculated 23 Jan. 1709 ), graduated B.A. 1712 , M.A. 1723 , entered Middle Temple in 1718 and was made a serjeant at law in 1736 . Inheriting from his father the private papers which Jenkins had bequeathed, he published in two volumes, in 1724 , The Life of Sir Leoline Jenkins . He d. on 16 May, 1765 , and was buried a week later in Westminster Abbey .


  • W. R. Williams , The history of the Great Sessions in Wales, 1542-1830 together with the lives of the Welsh judges, and annotated lists of the chamberlains and chancellors, attorney generals, and prothonotaries of the four circuits of Chester and Wales (Brecknock, 1899) , 140;
  • J. E. Griffith ; Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families (1914) , 111;
  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses ;
  • Evans , The Principal Secretary of State. A survey of the office from 1558 to 1680 (Manchester, 1923) , 155-6, 164, 192;
  • Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission , 6 th R. , app.;
  • N.L.W. Brogyntyn MSS. at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth , letters 1656, 1695 , and unscheduled letter 8 Jan. 1684 .


Emeritus Professor Arthur Herbert Dodd, M.A., (1891-1975), Bangor

Published date: 1959