OWEN, Sir GORONWY (1881 - 1963), politician

Name: Goronwy Owen

Date of birth: 1881

Date of death: 1963

Spouse: Margaret Gladwyn Owen (née Jones)

Parent: Margaret Owen (née Sylvanus Williams)

Parent: Abraham Owen

Gender: Male

Occupation: politician

Area of activity: Politics, Government and Political Movements

Author: John Graham Jones

Born 22 June 1881 at Pen-llwyn, Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire, the youngest son of Abraham Owen and his wife Margaret (née Sylvanus Williams). He was educated at Ardwyn School, Aberystwyth, and the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. He graduated M.A. He earned his living as a schoolmaster and lecturer primarily in London for several years before World War I. In 1914 he was one of the founder members of the London Welsh Battalion. Owen served in the army in France during the war, he was mentioned twice in despatches and was awarded the D.S.O. in 1916, attaining the rank of major and later brigade major. In 1919 he was called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn but it was apparent that his main interest lay in the world of finance, commerce and politics. He became a member of the London Stock Exchange, the director of several companies and a member of many commercial and trading organisations.

Goronwy Owen stood as the Liberal candidate for the South Derbyshire division in 1922, and was mentioned as a likely candidate for the University of Wales constituency. Elected for Caernarfonshire in 1923, he continued to represent the constituency in parliament until 1945. He became a member of David Lloyd George’s family group of M.P.’s who opposed the formation of the national government in 1931. Between 1926 and 1931 he served as Liberal Party whip, and during September and October 1931 he held the position of Comptroller of the Household and acted as Liberal Party Chief Whip. He was defeated by Goronwy Roberts (Lab.) in the general election of 1945, and decided not to contest a parliamentary election thereafter.

Owen served as Deputy Lieutenant for Caernarfonshire in 1936, and was a member of the county council for many years. He succeeded D. Lloyd George as an alderman of the council in May 1945. He was especially interested in the county’s needs and problems, and was ever ready to devote his time to attempts to solve them. He chaired the Agricultural Wages Committee for Anglesey and Caernarfonshire and later for Montgomeryshire and Merionethshire. He was also chairman of the Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Association in Anglesey and Caernarfonshire. He acted, too, as his county’s Army Welfare Officer. Owen was vice-chairman, 1954-55, and chairman, 1955-56, of the Gwynedd Police Authority, and the High Sheriff of Caernarfonshire in 1950-51. He was chosen J.P. for the county. He wrote a large number of articles in English and Welsh journals. He received the freedom of the Borough of Conway in 1943 and was knighted in 1944.

Owen married in 1925 Margaret Gladwyn, the widow of Owen Jones, Glanbeuno, Caernarfonshire (it was he who erected the monument to Lloyd George in the Castle Square, Caernarfon) and the daughter of David Jones, coal merchant of Denbigh. She was a sister to Edna, the wife of Gwilym Lloyd-George (see LLOYD GEORGE FAMILY). Goronwy Owen died 26 September 1963.