The surname of OWENS is of Welsh origin, but found in most counties in Ireland. Presumably some of the Owen families will descend from the settlers who came to Ireland from Wales. It appears, however, that the surname Owens, was taken instead of McKeown by Irish families of that name. It was certainly substituted for the Irish surname Hynes. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definate nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. A notable member of the name was Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) the English poet, born in Plas Wilmot, near Oswestry, Shropshire, where his father worked on the railway. He was educated at local schools and worked as a pupil teacher while preparing for the University of London. But money was too short for him to take up courses there. In 1913 he left England to teach English in Bordeaux at the Berlitz School of Languages. He enlisted in 1915, and suffered from trench fever and whilst in hospital began to write his poems. However, he was posted back to France where he won the MC, but was killed on the bank of the Oise-Sambre Canal, just a week before Armistice was signed. Only five of his poems were published while he was alive, but his work was collected in 1920, and published. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernards Burkes General Armory.
Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Holestonw, County Antrim, granted by Betham, Ulster, to James Owens
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