Posted: Fri 20th Oct 2017

Welsh novelist Daniel Owen born in Mold on 20th October 1836

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Oct 20th, 2017

Daniel Owen who was born in Mold on 20th October 1836 was a Welsh novelist who is commemorated in the town by a statue, the town square precinct and cultural centre are also named after him.

Described as the Welsh Dickens, he was regarded as one of the foremost Welsh-language novelists of the 19th century

Although not the first to write novels in Welsh, Owen is the earliest Welsh-language novelist whose works are still widely read.

He is credited with starting the tradition of novel-writing in the Welsh language and was an influence on many later fiction writers, such as Kate Roberts and T. Rowland Hughes.

Owen was the youngest of six children when he was a baby his father and two of his brothers died in an accident at the Argoed colliery, along with 28 other men, as a result, Owen was brought up in great poverty.

In 1851, at the age of 12, he began a five-year apprenticeship with local tailor Angel Jones, he ended up working with the tailor for 10 years.

During his time with Angel Jones, Owen began to write poetry and was greatly influenced by the tailor who was a prominent member of the Calvinistic Methodists in Mold.

He left the tailor’s at the age of 24 to study for the ministry at Bala College but did not complete his studies and returned to Mold after around two years.

On his return he worked as a tailor and draper between 1867 and 1876, becoming actively involved in the public life of the town and regularly preaching on Sundays.

In 1876 when he suffered a serious illness which prevented Owen from working and preaching he started to write literature beginning by publishing his sermons before moving on to short stories.

It was for his novels that Daniel Owen became renowned, publishing them first as series’ in the periodical Y Drysorfa and later as novels: Offrymau Neilltuaeth (1879), Y Dreflan (1881) and Rhys Lewis (1885).

With a focus on religious life, Owen’s novels are widely considered an accurate and empathetic portrayal of the tensions and movements of the period.

The strength of his character portrayal struck a chord with contemporaries and has given subsequent generations an insight into a period which continued to see drastic and significant change.

Daniel Owen continued to write into later life, publishing Enoc Huws (1891), Gwen Tomos (1894) and his final work, Straeon y Pentan shortly before his death in 1895.

A statue created by Goscombe John in his memory was unveiled in Mold in 1902.

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