OWEN, Hugh (1604-by 1671), of Orielton, Pemb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press

Family and Education

b. 4 May 1604,1 1st s. of John Owen (d.1612) of Orielton and Dorothy, da. of Rowland Laugharne of St. Bride’s, Pemb.; bro. of Arthur I†. educ. L. Inn 1622. m. (1) Frances (d. aft. 1635), da. of (Sir) John Philips†, 1st bt. of Picton Castle, Pemb., 2s. d.v.p. 2da.; (2) by 1645, Catherine, da. of Evan Lloyd of Yale, Denb., wid. of John Lewis of Presaddfed, Anglesey, 2s. 1da.2 suc. grandfa. 1614; kntd. 10 Aug. 1641; cr. bt. 11 Aug. 1641.3 d. by 9 June 1671.

Offices Held

J.p. Pemb. 1629-43, 22 July-6 Sept. 1652, 1656-d., Anglesey 1637-43 (custos rot. 1642-3), 1649-53, 1656-d., Haverfordwest, Pemb. 1656-d.;4 commr. knighthood fines, Pemb. 1630,5 wreck inquiry 1631;6 mayor, Pembroke, Pemb. 1632-4, 1639-40,7 Haverfordwest 1656-7;8 sheriff, Pemb. 1633-4, 1653-4, 1663-4;9 commr. exacted fees, Pemb., Carm., Card. 1635,10 i.p.m. Sir John Wogan of Boulston, Pemb. 1637;11 common councilman, Haverfordwest by 1651-at least 1659;12 dep. lt. Pemb. by 1637-at least 1642, 1661;13 commr. subsidy, Anglesey 1641-2,14 Pemb. 1641-2, Poll Tax, Pemb. 1641, Irish aid 1642,15 assessment 1657, 1660-1, 1663-5, Anglesey 1650, 1660-1, 1663-5, Haverfordwest 1657, 1660-1, 1663-5,16 militia 1642, 1655, 1660,17 scandalous ministers, S. Wales 1654, accts. pertaining to the propagation and preaching of the Gospel 1654.18


Owen’s family claimed descent from Hwva ap Cunddelw, the twelfth-century founder of the first of the 15 noble tribes of north Wales.19 Owen’s great-grandfather, Owen ap Hugh, of Bodeon, Anglesey, sat for Newborough in 1545. The latter’s son, Hugh Owen, married an heiress in 1571 and thereby acquired a vast estate in southern Pembrokeshire consisting of five manors and more than 6,800 acres. Centred on the manor of Orielton, a couple of miles south-west of Pembroke,20 these lands passed, in 1614, directly to Owen rather than to his father, who had died aged 36 in 1612. Owen was a minor on his grandfather’s death, however, and since he held land in capite his wardship was subsequently sold, for £300. The principal purchasers were Sir Arthur Chichester, lord deputy of Ireland, and Sir James Perrot* of Haroldston. Owen’s mother Dorothy undoubtedly determined their selection, as Chichester was married to Dorothy’s mother Lettice, while Perrot was Lettice’s half-brother.21

In view of his youthfulness and kinship with Chichester, it seems likely that Owen accompanied his illustrious relative on a diplomatic mission to the Palatinate in May 1622. Interestingly, his entry to Lincoln’s Inn, on 23 Oct. 1622, occurred only after Chichester returned to England. Nothing else is known of Owen until he was elected to Parliament for Pembroke Boroughs in 1626. He was clearly a strong candidate for the seat, partly because of Orielton’s proximity to Pembroke but also because, as lessee of the former priory lands of Monkton, situated within Pembroke, he could affirm that he was no outsider. He may even have been able to argue that he represented the Devereux interest, which had traditionally controlled the borough’s seat, as Monkton was leased from the 3rd earl of Essex,22 to whom he was also distantly related.23 However, it remains unclear whether Essex’s half-brother, (Sir) Walter Devereux, who had held the seat in 1614 and 1624 and who now obtained election at Tamworth, gave up his previous hold over Pembroke Boroughs without a struggle. Devereux certainly showed no interest in the seat at the 1628 general election, as he was returned for Tamworth nine days before Pembroke’s voters went to the hustings.

Owen played no recorded part in either the 1626 or 1628 parliaments. Appointed to the Pembrokeshire bench in 1629, he subsequently served two consecutive terms as mayor of Pembroke (1632-4), during the second of which he occupied the county’s shrievalty. In March 1640, while in the midst of a third term as mayor, he was returned to the Short Parliament for Haverfordwest rather than Pembroke, a departure from his accustomed choice of seat which may have owed something to the Commons’ rule that no mayor should return himself. At the next general election, however, he was able to revert to his former borough. In August 1641 he was knighted, and the following day he purchased a baronetcy. A parliamentarian at the outbreak of the Civil War, he was later captured and changed sides, joining the king at Oxford and fleeing to Anglesey after the royalist war effort collapsed. Despite the sequestration of his estates, and his support for the 1648 Pembroke rebellion, he regained his local standing during the 1650s and was re-elected for Pembroke at the Restoration. A monumental inscription in Monkton church records his date of death as August 1670, but this is clearly incorrect as he drafted a brief will on 4 Sept. 1670. He was certainly dead by 9 June 1671, when probate was granted to his executors.24 His eldest son by his second wife, Hugh, inherited both his baronetcy and his electoral influence.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Calculated from WARD 7/49/211.
  • 2. Dwnn, Vis. Wales ed. S.R. Meyrick, i. 247; J.E. Griffith Peds. Anglesey and Caern. Fams. 58; LI Admiss. For evidence that his 1st w. was still living in 1635, see HEHL, EL7206.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 210; CB.
  • 4. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 11-15, 216-25, 242-6.
  • 5. E178/7154, f. 140c.
  • 6. SP16/182/82.
  • 7. ‘Mayors of Pembroke’, W. Wales Historical Soc. v. 121.
  • 8. Cal. of Recs. of Bor. of Haverfordwest 1597-1660 ed. B.G. Charles (Univ. Wales, Bd. of Celtic Studs. Hist. and Law ser. xxiv), 131, 151.
  • 9. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 266.
  • 10. C181/5, f. 31v.
  • 11. F. Green, ‘Wogans of Boulston’, Y Cymmrodor, xv. 126.
  • 12. He was still a councilman on 9 Dec. 1659 but seems to have been replaced by May 1660: Cal. Haverfordwest Bor. Recs. 96, 134, 171.
  • 13. HEHL, EL7443; SP29/42/70.
  • 14. NLW, Carreglwyd ms I/803; E179/219/23.
  • 15. SR, v. 91, 107, 158.
  • 16. Ibid. 141, 221, 223, 342, 344, 469, 471, 544, 546, 570; A. and O. ii. 481, 1087, 1384, 1448.
  • 17. LJ, v. 304; CSP Dom. 1655, p. 79; A. and O. ii. 1448.
  • 18. A. and O. ii. 976, 991.
  • 19. Mems. of the Ancient Fam. of Owen of Orielton comp. J.R. Phillips, 1.
  • 20. H. Owen, Old Pembroke Fams. 106-7; WARD 7/49/211; M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 291.
  • 21. WARD 9/162, f. 177; Oxford DNB, xi. 398. The significance of a third buyer, John Stroud of Westminster, is unclear.