REES, WILLIAM JENKINS (1772 - 1855), cleric and antiquary

Name: William Jenkins Rees
Date of birth: 1772
Date of death: 1855
Parent: Rice Rees
Gender: Male
Occupation: cleric and antiquary
Area of activity: History and Culture; Religion
Author: Selwyn Jones

Born 10 January 1772 at Llandovery; for his family, see the article Rees of Tonn. He went to Carmarthen grammar school (1789) and afterwards (12 April 1791) to Wadham College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1795. He was ordained in 1796 and held the curacies of Stoke Edith and West Hide, Herefordshire until 1806, when he was given the living of Cascob, Radnorshire. From 1806 he was also vicar of Heyop, near Knighton, and in 1820 became prebendary of Christ College, Brecon. He was elected F.S.A. in 1840. When his father died (1826) he inherited some property, but continued to live at Cascob, where he died of paralysis, 18 January 1855. A more industrious man would be difficult to find. There is a long list of his books in the Cardiff Catalogue, but that gives a faint indication of his industry. A better idea of his output may be obtained by looking at the great collection of his letters ('Tonn MSS.') in the Cardiff City Library. He was one of the most zealous of the band of literary clergymen (such as John Jenkins and Thomas Price) who were reviving the eisteddfod and helping to resurrect the Cymmrodorion Society - for this see Helen Ramage in Cymm., 1951, ch. v. He was also on the editorial board of the Welsh MSS. Society whose books were printed by his nephew William Rees (1808 - 1873). It was for this Society that he completed his nephew Rice Rees's edition of Liber Landavensis, 1840, and edited The Lives of the Cambro-British Saints, 1853. Unfortunately, his scholarship was not commensurate with his zeal, and these two books were sharply criticized by later scholars - see J. E. Lloyd's references to them in his article on Rees in the D.N.B.


Published date: 1959

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