OWEN, Sir Robert (1658-98), of Parc, Llanfrothan, Merion. and Clenennau, Caern.
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Family and Education
b. 16 Nov. 1658, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of William Owen of Clenennau and Porkington, Salop by Katherine, da. and h. of Lewis Anwyl of Parc. educ. Oriel, Oxf. 1674; I. Temple 1677. m. settlement 27 Oct. 1683, Margaret (d. 1727), da. and coh. of Owen Wynne of Glyn, Merion., 7s. (3 d.v.p.) 1da. suc. fa. 1678; kntd. 16 July 1678.1
Mayor, Oswestry 1686; sheriff, Merion. Jan.–Nov. 1688; ?ld. lt. Salop Mar.–?Nov. 1688; freeman, Caernarvon by 1692.2
The Owens were already established in Caernarvonshire before the Member’s great-grandfather John (d. 1612), a younger son, acquired the Clenennau estate by marriage. The family had been strongly Royalist in the Civil War, and Sir Robert himself was among the staunchest of Tories. Although he was opposed to the repeal of the Penal Laws and Test Act, and was pricked as sheriff in January 1688 supposedly in order to prevent him standing for the projected Parliament, he was informed only two months later of his nomination to the lord lieutenancy of Shropshire, and in November volunteered to raise 500 men on the King’s behalf to resist the Prince of Orange’s invasion. In the Convention he voted against the transfer of the crown. He was subsequently restored to the Merioneth commission of the peace, but an optimistic application for the constableship of Harlech Castle, which he claimed had been held by his ancestors ‘from time immemorial’ evoked no response.3
Returned again unopposed for Caernarvon Boroughs in 1690, Owen was listed in the following December among Lord Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) supporters, probably in connexion with the projected Commons’ attack upon his ministerial position, though in April 1691 Robert Harley* classed Owen as ‘d[oubtful]’. He was, however, an inactive Member, and on 14 Mar. 1694 was ordered into custody after failing to answer a call of the House. He was not released until 2 Apr. Forecast as likely to oppose the Court in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, he refused the Association, for which he was put off the bench, and voted on 25 Nov. against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. Owen died on 30 Mar. 1698, and was buried at Selattyn, near Oswestry. His grandson Francis was the next representative of the family to be returned to Parliament, for Helston in 1774.4