grandson of Robert Owen of Dolserau, Dolgelley, who was an attorney in the Court of the Marches at Ludlow and a son of ‘baron’ Lewis Owen. In the Civil War he sided with Parliament. He sat on the North Wales Composition Committee in August 1649, was a militia commissioner for Merioneth from May 1651, was appointed for his county (October 1653) by Barebone's Parliament on the only county committee it set up, and acted in the same capacity under the Protectorate, for the assessment of county taxes (June 1657). The statement that Owen was a Fifth Monarchy man is not sufficiently attested. The restored ‘Rump’ put him (July 1659) on the committee for ‘ordering’ the militia in North Wales; he took an active part in suppressing the Booth rebellion, and was thanked by the Council of State in October 1659; as late as January 1660 he was placed by the ‘Rump’ on the county committee for the assessment of taxes. American Quaker sources make him governor of Beaumaris immediately before the Restoration (adding that John ap John, was there with him). In April 1660, Owen, with some of his late fellow-commissioners, was arrested, and imprisoned in Caernarvon gaol. In the same year he joined the Friends (and Dolserau, on the testimony of Rowland Ellis of Bryn Mawr, was regularly used for Quaker meetings); and in 1661 he and others were committed to Dolgelley gaol for refusing the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, but were released after fifteen months on making a declaration of fidelity. In 1674 (following the collapse of the 1672 Indulgence), Owen was again imprisoned at Dolgelley, this time for five and a half years. He emigrated in 1684 to Pennsylvania, with his wife (and kinswoman) Jane, daughter of the antiquary Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt, and all their children, except Robert, the eldest. They reached Philadelphia 17 September 1684, but Owen and his wife died in a few months (not, as is sometimes said, in 1697); for their children and descendants, see J. E. Griffith, Pedigrees, 201.
Robert Owen had been very closely associated with the regicide John Jones (1597? - 1660). A letter to Morgan Llwyd from John Jones in 1651 (N.L.W. MS. 11,440D, folio 43), partly printed in Gweithiau Morgan Llwyd, ii, 291-2, hints that Owen was lacking in ‘discretion and Christian prudence’, and that his severity was apt to drive people into hypocritical support of the regime — and further, that it would be well if he rendered his accounts of public money voluntarily, to counter rumours that it was ‘sticking to his fingers.’
Published date: 1959
Article Copyright: http://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/