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Goronwy Owen was Master of the Grammar School at William & Mary from 1758-1760. Born in Anglesea, North Wales on January 13, 1722, Owen attended Jesus College, Oxford from 1742-1745. In 1745, Owen was made a curate and spent the next ten years as a school teacher and writing poetry. In order to make a better life for himself in America, Owen took the post as Master of the Grammar School on April, 7, 1758, and later married Mrs. Clayton, sister to Reverend Thomas Dawson, president of the College. Owen resigned his position as head of the Grammar School in 1760 after he and Jacob Rowe, professor of moral philosophy, were involved in a fight between the students at William & Mary and the young men of Williamsburg. In 1761, Owen was made rector of St. Andrew's Parrish in Brunswick County, Virginia, a position he served until his death in July 1769.

A Bicentennial Celebration for Goronwy Owen took place at William & Mary February 28-March 1, 1969. The celebration included poetry readings from Owen's works, Welsh music, an exhibit on Welsh and Goronwy Owem memorabilia, and installation of the Cymmrodorion plaque at the Earl Gregg Swem Library. The plaque is located on the third floor near the Marilyn L. Brown Board Room (formerly Friends Boardroom).

Material in the Special Collections Research Center


  • Owen, Goronwy, University Archives Faculty-Alumni File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.

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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.