Born 3 July 1877 at Blaen-yr-yrfa, Tal-y-sarn, Nantlle Valley, Caernarfonshire, one of the eight children of Hugh Owen and his wife Mary. When Owain was young, the family moved to Bryn-y-coed in the same district. At twelve years of age the lad went to work to Gloddfa Glai quarry and to ‘Cornwall’ later. When he was aged fifteen he took to journalism and became a member of the editorial staff of Y Genedl Gymreig and Yr Herald Cymraeg a'r Genedl after they amalgamated. He retired in 1936 but continued to contribute to the Welsh and English press. He was an able journalist and a careful reporter. As he had literary and musical talent his articles on important national festivals were brilliant contributions in the journalistic press. He conducted singing festivals in Wales and England. He trained many musicians and adjudicated music in more than 550 eisteddfodau; he had copies of these programmes. He was a discerning book-collector and maintained that his library was even more extensive than that of Bob Owen . He had a small choir, ‘Côr y Delyn Aur’, which won many prizes in eisteddfodau. He was one of the founders of ‘Clwb Awen a Chân’ in Caernarfon and was its secretary. He took a keen interest in Urdd Gobaith Cymru in Caernarfon from the movement's early years, and it was he who took charge of its processions through the town on special occasions. He was an ardent supporter of the temperance cause as expounded by the Rechabites and Good Templars. He published a number of biographies: Fanny Jones (1907), Ieuan Twrog (1909), J.O. Jones (Ap Ffarmwr) (1912), T.E. Ellis (1916), Anthropos a Chlwb Awen a Chân (1946), Bywyd, gwaith ac arabedd Anthropos (1953), articles in Y Drysorfa and Y Drysorfa, Cerddoriaeth yng Nghymru (1946), and the standard work Hanes y Ddrama yng Nghymru 1850-1943 (1948) which is a shortened version of the essay that won him the prize in the national eisteddfod at Bangor in 1943. His first important prize in the national eisteddfod was for an essay entitled ‘Gweithiau ac athrylith Llew Llwyfo’ awarded at Colwyn Bay in 1910. R. Williams Parry won the chair for his ode ‘Yr Haf’ in the same eisteddfod. A procession was organised, lead by the Nantlle band, to welcome both home from that eisteddfod.
He married (1) Claudia Roberts, 12 June 1916; one daughter was born to them. His wife died 29 November 1918. He married (2) in 1921 Enid May Jones from Port Dinorwic. He died at his home Bryn-y-coed, 10 Pretoria Avenue, Caernarfon, on 8 January 1956 and left a widow and a son and daughter. He was cremated in Birkenhead.
Published date: 2001
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