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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/396

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Overton
Owain
390

Coventry and Lichfield. He is generally spoken of as bishop of Lichfield, but at that time Coventry was not only joined with Lichfield, but also took the first place in the title. He held the see for nearly thirty years, residing at Eccleshall Castle, the country seat of the bishops, the palace at Lichfield having been destroyed in the days of Henry VIII. He had the reputation of being ‘genial, hospitable, and kind to the poor,’ and it is added that ‘he kept his house in good repair, which married bishops were observed not to do.’ Bishop Overton is gibbeted by Martin Mar-Prelate as an ‘unlearned prelate,’ but this is hardly consistent with his known antecedents at Oxford. He was also accused of having made ‘seventy lewd and unlearned ministers for money’ in one day (Froude, Hist. of England, xii. 6). His episcopate was uneventful. A few ‘Acts of Overton’ are found in the diocesan registers; and there was a famous dispute between the bishop and two candidates for the chancellorship of the diocese, Messrs. Beacon and Zachary Babington, which was finally settled by an appeal to Whitgift, who then held the neighbouring bishopric of Worcester. It is supposed that it was in reference to this dispute that Overton preached his sermon ‘Against Discord,’ which is the only sermon of his extant in print. He held a visitation of his cathedral at Lichfield in 1600, and his charge on the occasion was published under the title of ‘Oratio doctissima et gravissima habita in Domo Capitulari Lichfield ad Præbendarios et reliquum Clerum in Visitatione Ecclesiæ suæ Cathedralis congregatum, an. 1600.’ In 1603 he not only wrote his own epitaph, but actually had it put up in Eccleshall Church. It was as follows:

Hoc sibi spe in Xto resurgendi posuit Wilhelmus Overton, Convent. et Lichfield Episcopus, 1603.

He died on 9 April 1609, and was buried beside both his wives in Eccleshall Church, where a tomb was erected to his memory with his effigies in his episcopal habits. Overton was twice married: first, to Margaret, the eldest daughter of William Barlow, bishop of Chichester. The lady's mother successfully carried out her resolve to marry all her five daughters to bishops. Overton's second wife was Mary, daughter of Edward Bradstock by Elizabeth Scrimshaw, a descendant of Sir John Talbot.

[Manuscript in possession of the writer; Elizabethan Oxford; Reprints of Rare Tracts by C. Plummer (Oxf. Hist. Soc.); Diocesan History of Lichfield (S.P.C.K.); Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, i. 209, 231; Cal. State Papers, Dom. passim; Lodge's Illustrations, 1791, iii. 7n.; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 49, 84; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. of the University of Oxford; Mar-Prelate Tracts; Foster's Alumni Oxon.]

J. H. O.

OWAIN ap EDWIN (d. 1104), Welsh chieftain, was the son of Edwin ap Gronw ap Einon ap Owen ap Hywel Dda and Iwerydd, daughter of Cynfyn ap Gwerstan. His father held Counsillt (near Flint) from Robert of Rhuddlan at the time of the Domesday survey, and was probably the most important Welshman at this time in Tegeingl. To this position Owain probably succeeded about 1090. In 1098 he gave assistance to his suzerain, Earl Hugh of Chester, and to Earl Hugh of Shrewsbury in their joint invasion of Anglesey, and thereby acquired the name of ‘Owain Fradwr’ (i.e. the Traitor). On the flight of Gruffydd ap Cynan and Cadwgan ap Bleddyn in the same year the invaders set him up as ruler over Gwynedd; but a revolt of the Welsh brought the two leaders back from Ireland in 1099, and Owain's rule came to an end. He died in 1104, after a long illness. His sons, Llywarch, Gronw, Rhiddid, Meilyr, and Ieuaf, were men of importance in Tegeingl, and some of them founded families of note in the district. His daughter Angharad was the wife of Gruffydd ap Cynan [q. v.]

[Annales Cambriæ; Brut y Tywysogion, Oxford edit.; Brut y Saeson, in the Myvyrian Archaiology.]

J. E. L.

OWAIN ap CADWGAN (d. 1116), prince of Powys, was the son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn [see Cadwgan, d. 1112]. He spent a part of his childhood at the court of Muircheartach, king of Dublin and of Munster, whither he was sent for protection during the ‘invasion of the two earls’ (1098), but he no doubt returned to Wales when his father became lord of Ceredigion and part of Powys. In 1106 he murdered Meurig and Griffri, sons of Trahaiarn ap Caradog, a deed which early betrayed the violence of his disposition. In 1110 he committed an outrage which had serious consequences. Gerald of Windsor, the castellan of Pembroke, was building himself a home at Cenarth Bychan (unidentified, but possibly Carew; Laws, Little England beyond Wales, p. 105), and had already taken thither his wife Nest (daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr) and her children. Owain paid a visit to Nest, who was his second cousin, and, becoming violently enamoured of her, organised a night attack upon the half-built fortress and carried her off. Cadwgan vainly endeavoured to ward off the vengeance certain to follow such a deed by inducing Owain to restore his cap-