Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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REES , DAVID ( 1801 - 1869 ), Congregational minister, and editor ; b. 14 Nov. 1801 at Gellilwyd , Tre-lech, Carms. , [the son of a family in comfortable circumstances]. The greater part of his education was received at home and in the Sunday school . He spent some years on his father's farm , but, feeling an inclination towards the ministry, went to a school at Haverfordwest in 1822 . He began to preach in 1823 and spent a short time in the Carmarthen grammar school before going to the preparatory school at Newtown, Mont. , from which he was received to the Gwynedd Academy in that town in 1825 . He was ordained at Capel Als , Llanelly , 5 and 6 July 1829 . He soon came into prominence as preacher and lecturer . He was a born leader, of strong and uncompromising convictions and actuated by unflinching principles. He was a good citizen and served Llanelly and his country well; he was a member of the Board of Guardians and the Board of Health , etc. He founded four new Congregational churches at Llanelly . He was also one of the pillars of his denomination. As he was by nature a politician and a social reformer , his selection as the first editor of Y Diwygiwr , 1835 , was an event of significance in the history of Welsh Congregationalism . He supported the party which believed in the voluntary system of elementary education and maintained that the cost of education should not be a charge on the State. Apart from his work as a church minister his chief contribution to the thought and life of his period was his editing of Y Diwygiwr for thirty years ( 1835-65 ). He took little heed of the verbal cleverness or the satirical taunts of his opponent, David Owen ( Brutus , q.v.) , in Yr Haul . Brutus attacked and made light of the influence of Nonconformity but David Rees defended its foundations and its principles. Through the medium of Y Diwygiwr he succeeded in bringing into being a new outlook on radical Nonconformity. He retired from the editorship of Y Diwygiwr in 1865 and from the ministry in 1868 . He d. 31 March 1869 .

Bibliography:

  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iii, 470-92;
  • Cofiant David Rees , 1871 , 1871 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Welsh Political and Educational Leaders in the Victorian Era , 1908 ;
  • National Library of Wales Manuscript 9271;
  • David Rees, Llanelli Detholion o'i waith , Cardiff, 1950 , 1950 ;
  • [ John Innes , Old Llanelly , Cardiff, 1902 ].

Author:

Rev. John Dyfnallt Owen, M.A., (1873-1956), Aberystwyth