Price, Owen (DNB00)

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PRICE, OWEN (d. 1671), schoolmaster and author, was a native of Montgomeryshire, of humble birth. He was appointed a scholar of Jesus College, Oxford, by the parliamentary visitors on 12 Oct. 1648, and matriculated on 12 March following. Four years later he became master of a public school in Wales, ‘where he took pains,’ says Wood, ‘to imbue his pupils with presbyterian principles.’ Returning to Oxford in 1655, he graduated B.A. and M.A. by accumulation from Christ Church on 6 May 1656. In 1657 he became headmaster of Magdalen College School, but was ejected at the Restoration. On 21 June 1658, in making an application to Henry Scobell, secretary of Cromwell's council, for the mastership of Westminster, Price boasts that during the eight years he had been schoolmaster, he had produced ‘more godley men and preachers (some whereof have passed the approvers) than some (that keepe greater noise than I doe) have with their XX years' labour’—an oblique stroke at Dr. Busby, whom he hoped to oust ({sc|Barber}}, Busby, p. 74; Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, bk. xiii. p. 502). After his ejection from Magdalen, Price ‘taught school with great success in Devonshire, and afterwards at Besills-Lee (Besselsleigh), near Abingdon’ (Wood). He died at Oxford, ‘in his house near to Magdalen College,’ on 25 Nov. 1671, and was buried in the church of St. Peter-in-the-East. Wood calls him ‘a noted professor in the art of pedagogy,’ and speaks of his ‘acknowledged skill in teaching.’

Price published:

  1. ‘The Vocal Organ; or a new Art of teaching Orthography by observing the Instruments of Pronunciation, and the difference between Words of like Sound, whereby any outlandish or meer Englishman, Woman, and Child, may speedily attaine to the exact Spelling, Reading, or Pronouncing of any Word in the English Tongue, without the Advantage of its Fountains, the Greeke and Latine,’ 1665, 8vo, Oxford.
  2. ‘English Orthography: teaching (1) the Letters of every sort of Print; (2) all Syllables made of Letters; (3) Short Rules, by way of Question and Answer, for Spelling, Reading, Pronunciation, using the Great Letters and their Points; (4) Examples of all Words of like Sound,’ &c., 1670, 8vo.

Price married a daughter of John Blagrave of Merton. His son Thomas, successively a chorister and clerk at Magdalen College (B.A. 1692 and M.A. 1695), apparently became prebendary of St. Paul's in 1707 (Le Neve, ii. 390); he is credited with ‘Pietas in obitum Augustæ et Reginæ Mariæ,’ in Latin verse, Oxford, 1695.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 942; Bloxam's Magdalen Register, i. 119, ii. 83, 171, iii. 177–81; Burrows's Reg. of the Parl. Visitors, p. 504; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Williams's Biogr. Dict. of eminent Welshmen.]

G. Le G. N.