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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/403

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Owen
Owen
397

ligieux de S. Denys, iii. 164, Collection des Documents Inédits). It would therefore seem that Owen's pretensions were not altogether groundless. Lettenhove thinks that he belonged to the family from which the house of Tudor sprang.

Owen went to France as a boy after his father's death, and was kindly received by Philip of Valois, who made him one of his pages. He continued in the service of John II, and fought under him at Poitiers on 19 Sept. 1356, but had the good fortune to escape from the battle. After the peace of Bretigny in 1360 he went to Lombardy, and there won much distinction as a soldier (Froissart, ix. 77, ed. Raynaud). On the renewal of the war with England Owen returned to France, and in 1369 Charles V conceived the idea of creating a diversion by a rebellion in Wales. With this purpose an armament was collected at Harfleur under the direction of Owen and a Welsh squire, whom Owen had won over, named John Win or Wynn. On putting to sea in December, they returned on account of bad weather (Froissart, vii. lxxxiv, n. 1, xcv, n. 2; Paris, Grandes Chroniques, vi. 320, 322). Two years afterwards, on 8 May 1372, the French king gave directions for the preparation of a fleet at Harfleur, and two days later Owen issued a proclamation, in which he asserted his hereditary rights as prince of Wales, and acknowledged his indebtedness to the French king for three hundred thousand francs for the cost of the expedition (Delisle, Mandements de Charles V, p. 457; Lettenhove's Notes to Froissart, viii. 435–6). It was intended that the French armament should co-operate with a fleet from Spain; but the non-arrival of the latter force caused a diversion of the expedition against the Channel Islands. The Guernsey legends fix the date of Owen's invasion on 5 Jan., and say that he landed on a Tuesday; but it is clear that it took place in the early summer, and perhaps Tuesday, 15 June, was the true date. Owen landed his troops at Vazon Bay, on the west coast of Guernsey, and, taking the natives by surprise, marched across the island, while his ships sailed round and landed another force near St. Peter Port. A fierce fight took place on the high ground above the port, at a spot now covered by the modern town. Despite the timely arrival of an English reinforcement from St. Sauveur le Vicomte, the men of Guernsey were routed with great loss, and forced to take refuge in Castle Cornet. Owen laid siege to the castle without success; but, according to the Guernsey legend, was, through the treachery of Bregard, a French monk of Vale Abbey, more successful at St. Sampson's and Vale Castle. One version of Froissart (viii. 301, ed. Luce) alleges that Owen also made a descent on Jersey. While Owen was still before Castle Cornet he was recalled by a message from the French king. On 23 June John Hastings, second earl of Pembroke [q. v.], had been defeated and taken prisoner by a French and Spanish fleet, and Owen was now ordered to go to Santander and arrange for a joint attack on La Rochelle.

After refitting at Harfleur, Owen sailed for Spain, and reached Santander on the morning of the very day when the Spanish fleet, under Don Ruy Diaz de Rojas, arrived with Pembroke and the other prisoners. (This was not later than 19 July; see Luce's notes ap. Froissart, vol. viii. p. xxx.) The news of their arrival was brought to Owen at his hostelry. As he came out he met Pembroke, whom he recognised and reproached with the robbery of his Welsh lands. One of the earl's squires promptly challenged Owen, who, however, refused to fight with a prisoner. Owen was favourably received by Henry of Trastamare, and Ruy Diaz de Rojas was ordered to join in an attack on La Rochelle (Froissart, viii. 64, ed. Luce); another account represents Owen as seeking aid for his Welsh expedition, and makes the Spaniards declare that they would go beyond the Straits of Morocco, or anywhere but Wales (Chron. des Quatre premiers Valois, p. 235; perhaps this incident really belongs to some other occasion). The combined fleet under Owen and Ruy Diaz de Rojas appeared before La Rochelle early in August 1372. While they were there engaged, Jean de Grailly, the Captal de Buch, surprised and defeated a French force at Soubise. Owen had disembarked, and now in his turn surprised the Captal de Buch as he lay before Soubise, and took him and Sir Thomas Percy [q. v.] prisoners. According to Froissart, Percy's captor was Owen's Welsh chaplain, David House; the man was a Welshman, but his true name was Honvel Flinc (Luce's notes to Froissart, viii. p. xxxviii). Next day (23 Aug.) Owen made an attack on the castle of Soubise, which was promptly surrendered by its defenders in return for a safe-conduct. Owen then went back to La Rochelle, where he was already in treaty with the townsmen, who on 8 Sept. rose against the English garrison and delivered the city to Owen. After an interval Owen went with his prisoner, the Captal de Buch, to Paris, where he arrived on 11 Dec. In the following spring (1373) he was serving under Bertrand du Guesclin, and was present at the battle of Chizé on 23 March. On 9 June he was retained with a hundred