Rees, Thomas (1815-1885) (DNB00)


REES, THOMAS (1815–1885), independent minister, son of Thomas Rees and Hannah, daughter of Dafydd William, was born at Pen Pontbren in the parish of Llan Fynydd, Carmarthenshire, on 13 Dec. 1815. He was brought up with Dafydd William, and helped him in his work as a basket-maker. Joining the independent church at Capel Isaac, he began to preach in March 1832. In 1835 he found employment in the works at Aberdare; but, after a serious illness, he set up instead a small school. He was then invited to take charge of the independent church at Craig y Bargod, where he was ordained 15 Sept. 1836. He became successively minister of Ebenezer, Aberdare (August 1840); Siloa, Llanelly (March 1842); Cendl, Monmouthshire (June 1849); and Ebenezer, Swansea (April 1862). In 1862 Marietta College, Ohio, conferred upon him the degree of D.D., and in 1884 he was elected chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales, a position he did not live to fill. He died on 29 April 1885, and was buried at Sketty, near Swansea. On 25 Aug. 1838 he married Jane Williams of Pant Ffawyddog, Bedwellty, who died in 1876.

Though highly esteemed as a preacher, Rees was more widely known by his writings. He published a Welsh translation of Barnes's ‘Commentary on the New Testament,’ an annotated edition of the Bible (1876), ‘Miscellaneous Papers on Subjects relating to Wales’ (1867), a Welsh history (in conjunction with Dr. John Thomas) of the independent churches of Wales (Dolgelly, 1871–5), and an English ‘History of Protestant Nonconformity in Wales’ (1861; 2nd edit. 1883). The latter work embodies much original research, and is written, though from the puritan standpoint, with studied moderation.

[Cofiant y Parch. T. Rees, D.D., by Dr. John Thomas, Dolgelly, 1888.]

J. E. L.