OWEN, Thomas (c.1637-1708), of Cwmeog, Nevern, Pemb. and Gray's Inn
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Family and Education
b. c.1637, 1st s. of William Owen of Cwmeog by 1st w. da. of one Sheldon of Wenallt, Pemb. educ. G. Inn 1663, called 1665, ancient 1687. m. lic. 17 June 1665, aged about 28, Mary, da. of Richard Dagnall, brewer, of Westminster, wid. of Zachary Worth of Westminster, 3s.1
Commr. for assessment, Westminster 1666-74, 1679-80, 1690, Mdx. 1673-80, 1689-90; dep. lt. Pemb. 1689-bef. 1701; bencher, G. Inn 1692, treas. 1704-5; j.p. Pemb. Aug. 1688-d., Haverfordwest and Mdx. by 1701-d.
Owen’s father was an illegitimate son of the Henllys family. His part in the Civil War is not known. Owen entered Gray’s Inn at the unusually late age of 26, and was called to the bar after only two years at the instance of the reader, Thomas Flynt. He was defeated by William Wogan at Haverfordwest in February 1679, but won the seat in September. There is the possibility of confusion in the Journals with Arthur Owen II, but he was probably the moderately active ‘Mr Owen’ who served on nine committees, including those to consider the petition against ecclesiastical courts and the bill to unite Protestants. A letter from the London Quakers to their brethren in Haverfordwest described him as zealous in supporting measures to relieve dissenters, and recommended him for re-election, but in fact he was replaced in 1681 by Thomas Howard, probably because of his exertions at Westminster (where he was regarded as ‘a person of great worth’), on behalf of the country candidates Sir William Pulteney and Sir William Waller II. On this occasion he read an address which had been passed round the crowd and then presented it to the Members.2
Owen was probably a Whig collaborator under James II, and was proposed as court candidate for St Ives. When he was nominated to the Westminster assessment commission for the 12d. aid it was objected that ‘he was for toleration in King James’s time’ but the Whigs drew attention to ‘the great service he had done King William’ and his earlier efforts to ‘advance the tax’ in Westminster. He continued as an active Whig under William III. His will, dated 1 Jan. 1707, was proved on 30 Dec. 1708. He was the only member of the family to sit in Parliament.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar
- 1. Information from Major Francis Jones, Wales Herald; Pembroke Co. Lib., Francis Green mss, Owen of Kemeys ped.; PCC 59 Juxon, 98 Bruce, 292 Barrett; Trans. Cymm. Soc. (1943) 81, 101; LJ, xii. 265.
- 2. Pens. Bk. G. Inn, i. 450; ii. 1; D. R. Lacey, Dissent and Parl. Pols. 113, 431; Smith’s Prot. Intell. 15 Feb. 1681; A Faithful Account of ... the Election of Sir William Poultney and Sir William Waller (1681).
- 3. R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 3, p. 26.