OWEN AP MEURIG, Lewis ab (by 1524-90), of Brondeg, nr. Newborough, Anglesey.
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Family and Education
b. by 1524, 6th s. of Owen ap Meurig of Bodeon, Llangadwaladr by his 2nd w. Ellen, da. of Robert ap Meredydd of Glynllifon, Caern. m. (1) Alice, da. of Dafydd ap Evan ap Matto, 1da.; (2) Ellen, da. of William ap William of Vaynol, Caern., 2s. 2da.
Under-steward to William Herbert†, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and to bp. of Bangor, Anglesey and Caern. c.1553; commr. goods of churches and fraternities, Anglesey 1553, defence 1569, musters 1574; j.p. from 1555, custos rot. temp. Mary, sheriff 1558-9; steward, lordship of Rhosfair c.1565; escheator, Anglesey 1568-9.
Until the emergence of Sir Hugh Owen in the closing years of the century, the Brondeg branch of the Bodeon family, vigorously led by Lewis Owen, tended to overshadow the parent stock. Owen otherwise had few useful connexions in the island, but he had links with two important Caernarvonshire houses—Glynllifon and Vaynol—and indirectly with the still more important Puleston and Griffith families.1
Typical of that generation of Gwynedd gentry, Owen was recurrently involved in litigation in Star Chamber and Exchequer over questions of encroachment in Anglesey townships. On one occasion he was also sued for misdemeanours at quarter sessions. His most serious conflict, however, occurred towards the end of his life when he pitted himself against Richard Bulkeley I and found his lands and goods seized and his wife ejected from her dwelling house, ‘to her great discomfort and the trouble and vexation of the old man’. The Privy Council, taking into account his public services and his zeal in ‘the advancement of true religion’, appealed on his behalf to the Earl of Pembroke as president of the council in the marches of Wales, but an undated reference to Bulkeley’s success against ‘that old viper Lewis ap Owen’ suggests that little came of this.2
His death in 1590 was lamented by Huw Pennant, a bard who qualified at the Caerwys eisteddfod of 1568. He was succeeded by his son William, to whom (according to the antiquary Henry Rowlands, with his inside knowledge of the local families) he left ‘most richly stocked possessions’. This is confirmed by taxation returns, which show Lewis Owen, from Henry VIII’s time, among the chief taxpayers in a hundred including families like the Griffiths and Bulkeleys of Porthamel and the Woods of Rhosmor; by 1586 he headed the list with £5, and his son William after him stood second of some 30 subsidy men of Menai.3
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Griffith, Peds. 58-9, 172, 190, 275; Star Chamber, ed. Edwards (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. i), 16; CPR, 1553, p. 419; 1560-3, p. 446; Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 56; Trans. Anglesey Antiq. Soc. 1946, p. 27.
- 2. Star Chamber, 18; Exchequer, ed. E. G. Jones (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. iv), 17; Trans. Anglesey Antiq. Soc. 1934, pp. 57-8; APC, xv. 375, 383-4; NLW, Cal. Wynn Pprs. 66.
- 3. NLW Peniarth, 71, f. 56; DWB, 401; Arch. Camb. 1846, p. 309; E179/219/3-18; CPR, 1566-9, p. 202.