Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Owen, Hugh (1639-1700)

OWEN, HUGH (1639–1700), of Bronclydwr, Merionethshire, nonconformist preacher, born in 1639, was the son of Humphrey Owen, the son of John Owen, the son of John Lewis Owen, member for Merioneth in the third parliament of Elizabeth, and son of Lewis Owen (d. 1555) [q. v.] Hugh was intended for the church, and entered Jesus College, Oxford, matriculating on 21 July 1660 (Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714); but the passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1662 and the ejection of such clergy as would not conform disturbed his plans, and, after a short residence in London, he returned to Bronclydwr to spend the rest of his days as a nonconformist preacher. There being no independent church in his district, he was ordained a teaching elder of the Wrexham church (Palmer, Older Nonconformity of Wrexham, p. 44), with authority to preach where he could in Wales. His preaching tours, which extended into the neighbouring counties of Carnarvon and Montgomery, often lasted for three months at a time, and laid the foundation of the later nonconformist churches of the district. On the issue of the declaration of indulgence in 1672 his house was licensed for independent preaching, and in a few years a church had been formed there, of which Owen retained the oversight until his death. During the reign of James II he was for a short time confined in Powis Castle, but on the whole he was not subjected to much persecution. Owen bore a high character for temperance of life, generosity to the poor, and charity towards those who differed from him. He died on 15 March 1699–1700, in his sixty-first year, according to the inscription on his tombstone in Llanegryn churchyard. Of his children, John (d. 27 June 1700) succeeded him as minister at Bronclydwr; one daughter married Edward Kenrick of Wrexham (who succeeded his brother-in-law at Bronclydwr), and another William Farmer of Whitley, Shropshire.

[Calamy's Nonconf. Mem. ed. Palmer, 1775, ii. 615–18; Rees's Protestant Nonconformity in Wales, 2nd edit. pp. 181, 188, 281–5; Traethodydd, 1852, pp. 290–7; Palmer's Older Nonconformity of Wrexham, pp. 55, 56.]

J. E. L.