, the most eminent and learned of the nonconformist divines, was descended
, the most eminent and learned of the nonconformist divines, was descended of an ancient and reputable family in Wales. He was the second son of Henry Owen, first a schoolmaster at Stokenchurch, and afterwards vicar of Stadham in Oxfordshire (who was reputed a puritan), and was born at Stadham in 1616. He was sent to a school at Oxford, kept by Mr. Edward Sylvester, in All Saints’ parish; and in his twelfth year was admitted of Queen’s college, where Thomas, afterwards bishop Barlow, was his tutor. Here he took his degrees in arts, that of master in 1636, at which time Anthony Wood does not omit to inform us that he took the oaths of allegiance, &c. During his residence at college, he pursued his various studies with incredible diligence, allowing himself for several years, not above four hours’ sleep in a night; yet he did not neglect useful exercise, and for the sake of his health sometimes partook of the recreations usual among his fellows, such as leaping, throwing the bar, ringing of bells, &c. To this diligence in study he allows that he was prompted by an early ambition to raise himself to such eminence in church or state as might be practicable, without at this time feeling any extraordinary predilection for either. He confessed that he was of an aspiring mind, affected popular applause, and was desirous of honour and preferment, and he paid the age the compliment to think that superiority of learning was the readiest way to obtain these objects. He likewise goes so far as to allow that at this time he felt no concern for the honour of God, or for serving his country unless in subserviency to his own interest; but, whatever were his motives, it is certain that he became at college a very distinguished scholar.