There is a touch of Alexandre Dumas’ D’Artagnan about Sir John Owen. He was born at Clenennau in 1600, into one of the most important estates in Caernarfonshire, into wealth and politics – his father had made his fortune as secretary to Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham. When civil war erupted in 1642 Owen proved himself a loyal servant of the king, and was singled out to command the foot regiment raised in north-west Wales, and then as governor of Reading, and later Conway, with responsibility for all the royal forces in north-west Wales. Involvement in civil war in 1649 and again in 1659 during the faltering Protectorate of Richard Cromwell, led to his imprisonment and trial for treason, which he twice narrowly escaped. At the age of 60 Sir John Owen retired to Clenennau to live quietly – and he is buried at Penmorfa.