Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Owen, Richard (1606-1683)

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1430533Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 42 — Owen, Richard (1606-1683)1895Bertha Porter

OWEN, RICHARD (1606–1683), royalist divine, was son of Cadwallader Owen (1562–1617), by Blanche, daughter of John Roberts, younger brother to Lewis Anwyl of Park, Merionethshire (Dwnn, Visitations of Wales, ii. 215). Cadwallader, who was also of Merioneth, matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford, on 24 Nov. 1581; graduated B.A. in 1583, M.A. in 1588, and B.D. in 1603; and was elected fellow of Oriel College in 1585. In 1597 he was acting as Sir Robert Harley's tutor at Oriel College. He was appointed to the rectory of Llanfechain in Montgomeryshire in 1601, made vicar of Llanbrynmair in the same county in 1608, and sinecure rector of the same place in 1610. He was buried at Llanfechain on 6 April 1617 (Parish Register). He is said to have been a great disputant, and to have gone by the name of ‘Sic doces.’ Wood says that he had ‘heard he was a writer,’ but knew nothing of his works.

Richard was born on 3 Oct. 1606 at Llanfechain, and baptised there on 7 Oct. following (par. reg.). He matriculated at Oxford on 28 June 1622, entering Oriel College as a servitor. On 30 March he was elected Dudley exhibitioner, and held the exhibition till 25 Oct. 1626. He was Bible clerk from 25 Oct. 1624 till 2 Feb. 1627, graduated B.A. on 19 Feb. 1624–5, was elected fellow of his college on 21 March 1627–8, and proceeded M.A. on 22 June 1630, and B.D. on 4 Dec. 1638. He became rector of Llanfechain in 1634, was instituted to the vicarage of Eltham in Kent on 10 Feb. 1636, and to the rectory of St. Swithin, London Stone, on 2 Sept. 1639. He resigned his fellowship at Oriel in 1638. In 1643 he was ejected from his livings on account of his adherence to the royalist cause. During his sequestration he resided at Eltham. He was on intimate terms with John Evelyn, at whose house (Sayes Court) he occasionally preached and administered the sacrament. On 13 Nov. 1656 he petitioned the council for liberty to preach; on 16 Dec. Dr. John Owen [q.v.], vice-chancellor of Oxford, and Joseph Caryl certified his fitness, and referred his case to the committee for the approbation of public preachers, and he was approved on 30 Dec. In the same year he was made a minister of North Cray in Kent, and he resigned Eltham in 1658. At the Restoration he retained North Cray, and by act of parliament was allowed to choose which of his former livings should be restored to him. He chose St. Swithin. He was created D.D. of Oxford on 1 Aug. 1660, and received the prebend of Reculverland at St. Paul's on 16 Aug. He died in January 1682-3, and was buried at Eltham on 27 Jan. He never wavered in his orthodoxy or his loyalty.

He had a numerous family. Nine sons and three daughters were buried in Eltham Church, and are commemorated on a marble monument erected by Owen in 1679. His first wife, Anne, the mother of ten of his children, died in March 1652-3; and on 6 Jan. 1654-5 he married Amy Kidwell, by whom he had at least two sons. She lived till March 1694. An amusing letter from her to John Evelyn in 1680, on the subjet of her 'trading for tulips,' is printed, with Evelyn's answer, in the 'Diary and Correspondence,' 1859 (i. 41-2). Edward Owen (1651-1678), the fourth son, was chosen fellow of Magdalen College, Oford, in 1674.

Owen is held by some to be responsible for the free transation and amplification in Latin of the 'Royal Apologie' (1648) by George Bate [q.v.], entitled 'Elenchus Motuum nuperorum in Anglia aimul ac juris regii ac parliamentarii brevis narratio,' London, 1650. By others the 'Royal Apologie' and he 'Elenchus' are both assigned to Bate himself. Owen is also stated to have translated into English many, if not all, of Juvenal's satires. but none seems to have been published. He published 'Paulus, Multiformis concio ad clerum,' London, 1666, a Latin sermon delivered at St. Alphege, London, on 8 May of the same year.

[Thomas's Diocese of St. Asaph, p. 757; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714; Shadwell's Reg. Orielense, pp. 173-4, 319; Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iv. cols. 84-5; Wood's Fasti (Bliss), i. cols. 414, 455, 502, ii. col. 240; Hasted's Hist. of Kent, i. 64, 159; Drake's Hundred pf Blackheath, pp. 202, 203, 209, 211, 212; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 205, 543; Evelyn's Diary, 1859, i. 258, 289, 297, 299, 300, 321-2, 346, iv. 41-3; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1656-7 pp. 158, 199, 1660-1 p. 405; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), ii. 431; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, pt. ii. pp. 53, 173; Bluxam's reg. of Magdalen coll. v. 285; Will in Somerset House P.C.C. 24 Drax; Welch's Alumni Westmon.' Llanfechain Parish Register per the Rev. David Jones.]

B. P.