OWEN, JEREMY (fl. 1704-1744), Presbyterian minister and writer

Name: Jeremy Owen
Parent: David John Owen
Gender: Male
Occupation: Presbyterian minister and writer
Area of activity: Literature and Writing; Religion
Author: Robert Thomas Jenkins

was a son of David John Owen of Bryn, Aber-nant, Carmarthenshire (1651? - 1710), and thus nephew of James Owen and of Charles Owen. The father, who lived at Pwllhwyaid, had been for many years teaching elder of Henllan Amgoed congregation before being ordained (c. 1705) as its pastor. Like his brother James, he was a ‘moderate’ Baxterian in doctrine and Presbyterian in his views on church polity. There was, however, a strong hyper-Calvinist and ‘congregationalist’ element at Henllan, led by Lewis Thomas of Bwlch-y-sais, another of the teaching elders. Repeated attempts by neighbouring ministers to compose their disputes (1707-9) ended in the expulsion of Lewis Thomas and his party, who founded a new congregation at Rhyd-y-ceisiaid.

On D. J. Owen's death (7 October 1710), his son Jeremy, a young man of considerable parts, was called (1711) to succeed him. The date of his birth is unknown; but he was educated at his uncle's Academy at Shrewsbury, where Thomas Perrott was his contemporary and friend. His uncle had imparted to him not only a sound classical scholarship but also the ‘moderate’ views associated with his name. Fresh troubles now broke out at Henllan, and another secession to Rhyd-y-ceisiaid ensued, led by Mathias Maurice and Henry Palmer. Undefined but self-confessed laxity of conduct on Jeremy Owen's part compelled him to resign his pastorate, c. 1715. He is found keeping school in London in 1718; in 1721-6 he was pastor at Petworth; in 1726-32 at Barnet; and in 1733-44 at Princes Risborough. He afterwards emigrated to America (T. Rees, Hist. of Prot. Noncon., 2nd ed., 294), and died there at an unknown date.

In the meantime, Mathias Maurice's published account (1727) of the Henllan disputes had provoked Jeremy Owen to a rejoinder, Golwg ar y Beiau sydd yn yr Hanes a Brintiwyd ynghylch Pedair i Bump Mlynedd i nawr, ym mherthynas i'r Rhwygiad a wnaethpwyd yn Eglwys Henllan yny Blynyddoedd 1707, 1708, 1709 (Carmarthen, 1732/3; reprint, University of Wales Press, 1950), a pamphlet written in the raciest of idiomatic Welsh and with merciless dialectical skill. Owen's other works are entered in Llyfryddiaeth y Cymry, under 1711 and 1713; but the ascription to him there of a funeral sermon on his uncle Charles Owen, 1746, and of another work in the same year, is incorrect (see Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru, iii, 360) — these were by JOSIAH OWEN (1711 - 1755), of Rochdale, who is in the D.N.B. He was certainly, on his own statement, one of the Bryn family — possibly a posthumous son of D. J. Owen (and therefore brother to Jeremy), possibly a son of EVAN JOHN OWEN, of Cyffig parish, who is conjectured (Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru, iii, 338) to have been a fourth of the sons of Bryn.

Author

Published date: 1959

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