The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

Promoting the language, literature, arts and science of Wales

The Transactions

home > Transactions > Volume 29 - 2023 > GORONWY OWEN (1723–1769) AND FREEMASONRY


Goronwy Owen (1723–1769), the supreme Welsh poet of the eighteenth century, lived a very colourful life. Born into a poor but literate home at Rhos-fawr, Llanfair Mathafarn Eithaf to the west of Benllech on Anglesey on New Year’s Day 1723, he studied at Friars School, Bangor, and very briefly at Jesus College, Oxford. He worked as a schoolmaster and then became an Anglican priest serving in various parishes mostly in England before taking a perilous, three-month voyage to America in which his first wife and youngest child died. Once in America his fortunes changed. He married twice more, had four more children, and died in comfortable circumstances owning a tobacco and cotton plantation and slaves, although his constant problems caused by his heavy drinking continued to the end.

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