In a quiet corner of the churchyard at Taynton, Gloucestershire lie the remains of a man who in his day was of considerable wealth and importance. The tomb is now sorely neglected and overgrown with brambles and ivy (has been cleared), yet it is perhaps one of the most imposing in the churchyard and the only one enclosed by stout iron railings. It is a box tomb and on the top slab is inscribed the following epitaph:
Here lies the body of Sir John Owen, Bart, M.P and Lord Lieutenant of the County of Pembroke, who died in the 85th year of his age on the 6th of February 1861. Deeply and sincerely regretted. In God is my trust. Also Dame Mary his wife born 16th May 1798 died 15th of January 1874. And of Emma, their youngest daughter who died 21st may 1876 aged 38 years.
I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the last day upon earth and though after my skin worms destroy this body yet in my flesh shall I see God
To those who caused these monuments to be erected it was not intended that he should be forgotten for on the west wall inside the nave there is a also brass plaque to his memory:
To the Gory of God and in memory of Sir John Owen, Bart, MP of Orielton in the County of Pembroke who died 6th February 1861 aged 85 years. And of Mary Frances, his wife who died 13th January 1874 aged 76 years. And also of Emma, their youngest daughter who died 24th May 1876 aged 38 years.
John Tomb after having brambles and undergrowth cleared.
John Lord (Owen) was born in 1777 and was the son of Joseph Lord and Corbetta Owen who was the daughter of Lieutenant General Owen and granddaughter of Sir Arthur Owen. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford where he graduated BA in 1804 and was called to the Bar and entered Parliament in 1806 as member for Pembrokeshire. He continued to sit for that constituency until the general election in 1841 when he retired from that position but became MP for the Pembroke District of Boroughs which he represented to the day of his death in 1861. His fifty five years of service as an MP was one of the longest recorded at that time. He was also Lord Lieutenant of Pembrokeshire from 1824 to 1861. Tomb after having brambles and undergrowth cleared. The Owen’s were a very prominent family in Pembrokeshire with their lineage going back to the 12th century. In 1571 they came into the possession of the Orielton Estate in Castle Martin by the marriage of Sir Hugh Owen (Recorder of the town of Carmarthen) to Elizabeth Wirriot. His grandson Sir Hugh Owen (Born 1604) became the first Baronet of Orielton in 1641. For three centuries successive generations of Owen’s played a very prominent part in the history of that county.
Orielton House (Today used as a Field Study Centre) Right – Owen Coat of Arms created 1641.
From a Historical Note of 1833
“In this parish is Orielton, an ancient mansion supposed to have been originally built by one of the followers of Arnulph de Montgomery, called Oriel, from whom it derived its name, and now the property of Sir John Owen, Bart. In the reign of Henry II. it belonged to the family of the Wyrriotts, in whose possession it continued till the reign of Elizabeth, when it passed by marriage with the heiress of that family to Sir Hugh Owen, Bart., who, dying in 1809, left his large estates to his kinsman, John Lord, Esq., who, assuming the name of Owen, was created a baronet, and is now lord-lieutenant of the county. It has been greatly improved by the present proprietor, and is a handsome mansion, occupying an elevated situation, finely sheltered by thick woods, and ornamented with thriving plantations. ”
Owen Line of Baronial descent: 1 Sir Hugh Owen Ist Baronet of Orielton 1641 MP 1626 to 1660 2 Sir Hugh Owen 2nd Baronet MP for Pembroke 1676 to 1695 3 Sir Arthur Owen 3rd Baronet MP 1695 to 1727 4 Sir William Owen 4th Baronet Lord Lieut Pembrokeshire died 1781 5 Sir Hugh Owen 5th Baronet. Lord Lieut of Pembrokeshire MP 1770 to 1786 6 Sir Hugh Owen 6th Baronet MP for Pembrokeshire died 1809 7 Sir John Lord (Owen) 1st Baronet of the second creation. Died 1861 buried at Taynton.
The last of the direct male line of the Owens was Hugh Owen 6th who on the death of his father in 1786 became the 6th baronet at the tender age of 4 years. He died unmarried in 1809 when aged only 27 years leaving his extensive 11000 acre Orielton estate to John Lord the son of Joseph Lord and Corbetta Owen. John Lord legally changed his name to John Owen, assuming the Owen name and arms in 1809 and was created 1st Baronet Owen of Orielton co. Pembroke on January 12th 1813 . He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Pembrokeshire and also Governor of Milford Haven. His long term of office as Member of Parliament was a somewhat stormy and controversial one.
John Owen married Charlotte Phillips (Daughter of Rev John L. Phillips) in 1800 and they bore five children: His wife Charlotte died on 1st September 1829. Children of John and Charlotte: Charlotte died July 1852. Maria died 1836. Ellen died 1857. Eliza died 1862. Sir Hugh Owen. Born 1803. Died 1891 (Became 2nd Baronet of Orielton co Pembroke.) John Owen married again on 21st October 1830 to Mary Frances Stephenson who was 22 years his junior and they bore four children: Wife Dame Mary died 1874, buried at Taynton. Mary Owen. Born 1833 Died January 1892. William Owen (Lieut) Born Sept 1834. Killed in trenches June 1855 at Sebastopol aged 21 years during Crimea War. Arthur Born 1836. Emma Born 1838 Died 1876, buried at Taynton
The resources of the Orielton estate had been heavily drained by successive parliamentary elections which were not only bitterly contested locally but were often the subject of petitions in which irregularities were alleged. The influence of the Philippses of Picton castle became powerful in the latter part of the 18th cent., and the Orielton candidate was several times defeated. Matters reached a climax in the Reform agitation. In May 1831 Sir John Owen, first baronet of the new creation, was opposed in the county by Robert Fulke Greville (see under Greville, Francis Charles). Sir John was returned, but unseated on petition. In the following Oct. he was returned by an increased majority. The expense was enormous and embarrassed both parties. Sir John ceased to reside at Orielton for some years before the estate was split up and sold in 1857 to pay debts.
It seems that Sir John had hit hard times for in the Taynton census for 1851 and the Kelly’s Directory for Taynton of 1856 he and his family are recorded as living at Taynton House – renting it off Mrs Holder. It is not known when they moved there but according to the staff that they kept it seems that they managed to live there in style until John’s death in 1861. At the time of his death he represented Pembroke in Parliament and was Lord Lieutenant of Montgomeryshire.
1851 Census – Persons residing at Taynton House. John Owen
74 Baronet M.P. born Hembrook St Mary Mary Owen wife
52. born Bloomsbury Mary Owen daughter
18. born Monkton Emma Owen daughter
13. born Monkton Arthur Owen son
15 born Monkton Eliza Mears Grand Daughter
27. born Pembroke John Mears Grandson
22. born Buston Mary Twigg Servant
32. House Keeper Elizabeth Lewis. Servant
45. Cook Sarah Stephens. Servant Harriet Boughton
21.Servant Thomas Hopkins
Sir John Owen’s brother Edward Lord 1781 – 1859 Officer of Marines, Commandant, Pastoralist and Merchant. Although Sir John Owen lost the family inheritance through mismanagement of his estate and his costly political embroilments, his brother Edward Lord was highly successful. Edward travelled to Australia and helped establish Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in 1804 and built the first private house in Hobart Town. He began trading in livestock and wool eventually owning three ships, thousands of cattle and sheep and 35000 acres of land, he was regarded as the richest man in Van Diemen’s Land.
Mary Owen – Sir John Owen’s daughter. 1833 to 1892
Sir John Owen’s daughter Mary married Andrew George Onslow of Newent at Taynton church on 13th June 1861 when he was aged 30 years and she was 28 years. Andrew was a Captain in the 97th (Earl of Ulster’s) Regiment of Foot, he saw action in Bengal for which he was awarded a medal & clasp. His father was Richard Foley Onslow the wealthy owner of the extensive Starden’s Estate, Newent. Andrew eventually inherited the estate which consisted of about 1450 acres comprising several farms, woodland and cottages. On his death the estate was sold. Amongst the farms was the 156 acre Black House Farm, Newent which my grandfather Thomas Sherratt bought at the auction in 1910 for £2100.00.
NOTE. I cannot explain how Sir John Owen’s signature is on the marriage certificate when he died in February 1861 !
Sir John Owen’s mother Corbetta born 1750
What amiability and what grace Dwell in the expression of that face And Gainsborough’s genius was put forth To paint that form of matchless worth, His inspiration was displayed In painting such enchanting maid A beauty born at Orielton Fair mother of the Late Sir John
Corbetta’s marriage to the impoverished Joseph Lord seemed initially to be a less than satisfactory match, although their son John Lord Owen was to inherit the Orielton estate from his cousin Sir Hugh Owen 6th Baronet (1782-1809). Appropriately for the owner of a great estate John Lord Owen (1776-1861) was created a baronet in 1813 and assumed the name and arms of Owen in preference to those of Lord. He was, however, to be the ruin of his new state, and the expense of contesting early nineteenth century elections did irreparable damage to the family’s for-tune. Sir John Owen’s mother Corbetta born 1750