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OWEN, HENRY (1716–1795), divine and scholar, was son of William Owen, a gentleman of good estate, whose house was situated at the foot of Cader Idris, near Dolgelly, Merionethshire, where the son was born in 1716. He was educated at Ruthin school, Denbigh, and entered Jesus College, Oxford, on 10 April 1736. He graduated B.A. 1739, M.A. 1743, M.B. 1746, and M.D. 1753. In 1746 he was ordained deacon and priest, and was appointed to a curacy in Gloucestershire, where he at the same time practised medicine for three years; ‘but neither his feelings nor his health would suffer him to continue that profession.’ He subsequently became chaplain to Sir Matthew Featherstonhaugh, to whom he dedicated, in 1755, ‘The Intent and Propriety of the Scripture Miracles,’ and by whom he was presented in 1752 to the vicarage of Terling in Essex. Contemporaneously he acted as curate to Sir Ralph Thoresby, rector of Stoke Newington (cf. Parish Reg. August 1757 to April 1760). In April 1760 he resigned Terling in Essex on being presented to the rectory of St. Olave, Hart Street, London. Shortly after he became chaplain to Dr. Shute Barrington, then bishop of Llandaff, to whom he dedicated many of his works, and from whom he received, in 1775, the vicarage of Edmonton, Middlesex, which he held by a special dispensation with the rectory of St. Olave's. He was Boyle lecturer from 1769 to 1771, and published his sermons, which again dealt with the scripture miracles. In April 1794 he resigned St. Olave's in favour of his son.

Owen's reputation for learning is amply attested by contemporaries. Bowyer acknowledged his indebtedness to Owen in his edition of the New Testament, and left him 100l. in his will and such of his Hebrew books as he cared to take. Nichols dedicated to Owen ‘Bowyer's Greek Testament,’ 1783, 4to, and Owen helped to complete many of Bowyer's works. Owen died at Edmonton on 14 Oct. 1795. He married, on 30 Sept. 1760, Mary, daughter of Dr. Butts, bishop of Norwich, who survived him, dying at Bromley College on 18 June 1804. By her he had a son, Henry Butts Owen, and five daughters. The son was elected, in 1791, afternoon lecturer of All Hallows, Barking.

Owen's chief works, not already noticed, were: 1. ‘Harmonica Trigonometrica; or a short Treatise of Trigonometry,’ 1748, 8vo (anonymous). 2. ‘Observations on the Four Gospels; tending chiefly to ascertain the time of their Publication, and to illustrate the form and manner of their Composition,’ 1764, 8vo. 3. ‘Directions for young Students in Divinity, with regard to those Attainments which are necessary to qualify them for Holy Orders,’ 1st edit. 1766, 2nd edit. 1773 8vo and 1773 12mo, 3rd edit. 1782, 4th edit. 1790, 5th edit. 1809, all London. 4. ‘An Enquiry into the present State of the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament,’ 1769, 8vo. 5. ‘Critica Sacra; or a short Introduction to Hebrew Criticism,’ 1774, 8vo; a supplement, in answer to some remarks by Raphael Baruh, appeared in the following year. 6. ‘Collatio codicis Cottoniani Geneseos cum editione Romana a Joanne Ernesto Grabe jam olim facta nunc demum summa cura edita ab Henrico Owen, M.D.,’ &c., London, 1778 (Grabe's Collation of the Cotton MS., with the Codex Vaticanus; see Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, ii. 433, iv. 198, and a long review of it in Gent. Mag. 1778, p. 594). 7. ‘A brief Account, historical and critical, of the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament, to which is added a Dissertation on the comparative Excellency of the Hebrew and Samaritan Pentateuch,’ London, 1787, 8vo. 8. ‘The Modes of Quotation used by the Evangelical Writers, explained and vindicated,’ London, 1799, 4to, with a long and influential list of subscribers. 9. ‘Sixteen Sermons on various Subjects, by the Rev. Dr. Henry Owen,’ 2 vols. London, 1797; a posthumous publication by his son, for the benefit of two unprovided daughters.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. (1715–1886); Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, ii. 433, iii. 6, 81, 99, &c. (loc. cit.), Illustrations of Literary History, v. 613, 795, vi. 669, viii. 268; Gent. Mag. 1760 pp. 203, 489, 1776 p. 95, 1794 p. 670, 1795 pp. 884, 1111; information from the Rev. Canon Shelford, rector of Stoke Newington and prebendary of St. Paul's; Works in Brit. Mus.; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

W. A. S.