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OWEN, JACOB (1778–1870), architect, was born on 28 July 1778 in North Wales. After being educated at Monmouth, he was apprenticed to William Underhill, an engineer, who was occupied on canal works in Staffordshire. In 1804 he was appointed clerk of the works to the royal engineer department at Portsmouth, and in 1832 was transferred to the Irish board of works in Dublin as principal engineer and architect, which appointment he held until 1856. His executed works were almost exclusively those connected with his public appointment. In 1848 he erected the criminal lunatic asylum at Dundrum, near Dublin (see 16th Report of the Board of Public Work, Ireland, 1848, p. 16), and in 1850 Mountjoy Prison, Dublin. He made many additions to the Four Courts and Queen's Inns in Dublin, and erected model schools and other government buildings in Ireland.

He died at Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffordshire, on 26 Oct. 1870, and was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery, Dublin.

He married the daughter of his master, William Underhill, and by her had seventeen children. Of his sons, Jeremiah Owen became metallurgist to the admiralty and store receiver at Woolwich dockyard; Thomas Ellis Owen (d. 1862), architect at Portsmouth, was surveyor for the South Hampshire district, and was instrumental in the development of Southsea as a watering-place (he designed in 1842–3 the French Protestant Church at St. Martin's-le-Grand, which was taken down in 1888 for the extension of the general post office, and in 1851 the church of St. Jude's, Southsea); Joseph Butterworth Owen (1809–1872) held successively the livings of Walsall Wood (1835–7), St. Mary Bilston, Staffordshire (1835–54), St. John's Chapel, Bedford Row (1854–7), and St. Jude's, Chelsea (1858–72); and James Higgins Owen (Dublin, B.A. 1844, M.A. 1852) succeeded his father as architect to the Irish board of works, and died on 9 April 1891. Owen's fourth daughter, Elizabeth Helen, married Sir Charles Lanyon [q. v.] of Belfast, and was the mother of Colonel Sir William Owen Lanyon [q. v.]

[Dict. of Architecture; Wheatley and Cunningham's London Past and Present, ii. 78; information from C. A. Owen, esq. of Dublin, and F. A. Owen, esq. of London and Walsall.]

B. P.