Owen, Lewis (d.1555) (DNB00)

OWEN, LEWIS (d. 1555), Welsh administrator, was the son of Owen ap Hywel ap Llywelyn of Llwyn, Dolgellau. Under Henry VIII he became vice-chamberlain of North Wales and baron of the exchequer of Carnarvon, taking from the latter office his familiar title of ‘y Barwn Owen.’ He was sheriff of Merioneth for 1545–6 and 1554–5, and he represented the county in the parliaments of 1547, of the spring of 1553, and of 1554. He lived at Cwrt Plas yn dre, Dolgellau, which, until its recent removal to Newtown, was pointed out to tourists as ‘Owen Glyndwr's parliament-house.’ Owen met his death at the hands of ‘Gwylliaid Cochion Mawddwy,’ the red-haired brigands of the Mawddwy district. Empowered by a commission to extirpate the band, he and John Wynn ap Maredudd of Gwydir one Christmas-eve seized over eighty of them, and in due time had them executed. The rest swore revenge, and on 11 Oct. 1555 waylaid him near Mallwyd as he was returning from the Montgomeryshire assizes. His retinue fled, leaving only his son-in-law, John Lloyd of Ceiswyn, to defend him, and he fell pierced with more than thirty wounds. The spot is still known as ‘Llidiart y Barwn,’ the Baron's Gate.

Owen married Margaret, daughter of Robert Puleston, rector of Gresford, and had seven sons—John Lewis of Cwrt Plas yn dre, Hugh of Cae'rberllan, Edward of Hengwrt, Gruffydd of Peniarth, Robert of Bronclydwr, Simon and Ellis—and four daughters: Elin, Elizabeth, Catrin, and Mary. His descendant, Hugh Owen (1639–1700) [q. v.], is separately noticed. Many important Merionethshire families, such as the Wynnes of Peniarth and the Vaughans of Nannau, trace their descent from him.

[Dwnn's Heraldic Visitations of Wales, ii. 236–7; Pennant's Tours in Wales, ii. 232–4; Kalendars of Gwynedd, 1873; Yorke's Royal Tribes of Wales, ed. Williams, 1887.]

J. E. L.