Symud i'r prif gynnwys

OWEN JONES OF NORTHOP By GEORGE LLOYD The name of Owen Jones should be placed on the roll of the worthy men of Flint- shire. The writer here endeavours to give some account of a business man of noble aim who should be honoured in the annals of the County for having benefited numer- ous deserving persons in the cause of education, relief of the poor and the apprenticing of boys to a trade throughout the last three hundred years. We have no information regarding his birth except the traditional story that he was a foundling discovered in the tower of Northop Church, warmly clad and in a blanket attached to a bell rope, presumably the curfew bell. His discovery must have caused the incumbent and church wardens great consternation at that time as they would become the responsible persons for the bringing up of the child at the expense of the parish. It appears that the child was placed under the care of humble and good foster parents of the name of Jones who would be paid by the parish overseers for adoption. No doubt he was baptized in the church with the name of Owen Jones but no record can be found in the Registers which date from 1590/91 and it is thus presumed that his baptism took place before that date. In his early days he was given the nickname of "Owen Rhaff" (Welsh for rope) in allusion to the story handed down, that as a child, he was found attached to the bell rope. We have no knowledge of his foster parents who must have long predeceased him, but in his will he refers to two sisters, Mary Jones and Jonett Waters (widow) and a brother Richard Jones. These persons are presumably the children of his foster parents with whom he was brought up. His early education in the village must have been of a limited character, for the old Free School was not opened until 1609, and it appears that he was apprenticed to a butcher. There is no evidence that he was ever married, but it might be that he outlived a wife and had no family. He no doubt had royalist sympathies during the Civil War for he was a devout churchman. His executors were also royalists and even in his will of 1658, two years before the ending of the Commonwealth, he left bequests to the Church. His name does not appear amongst the citizens of Chester in 1643 giving contri- butions to the Mayor for the defence of the city, neither does his name appear in the interrogatories of 1645 relating to the number in the family of householders and billeted soldiers together with the amounts of corn, meal, etc. in each household. We can only assume from the absence of his name in these documents that he had already gone to live in Boughton. It appears that as a young man he found employment in Chester as a butcher and through diligence he eventually became a successful business man in good standing in the city. He was an earnest churchman, for in 1627 it is recorded that he was appointed a parochial officer of St. Peter's Church at The Cross, as one who played a conspicuous