Born 2 March 1710, at Glynllwydrew, Blaen Glyn Nedd, Glamorganshire, son of Rees Edward Lewis, and a grandson to the incumbent of the parish of Penderyn. His father left the Established Church and brought up his son as a Nonconformist. He was educated at the Blaen-gwrach school kept by Henry Davies (1696? - 1766), the minister, and in schools conducted by Joseph Simmons, Swansea, Rees Price, Tyn-ton, near Bridgend, and at the Maesgwyn Academy. He was received into church membership at Blaen-gwrach and began to preach there. He was persuaded by Edmund Jones and by his old schoolmaster, Vavasor Griffiths, to take charge of the small church at Tŷ Mawr, Llanbryn-mair. He worked assiduously there without, however, being ordained, from 1734 until 1738; he was ordained at Blaen-gwrach on 13 April 1738. The ‘Old Chapel’, Llanbryn-mair, was built in 1739. He moved to Maesyronnen, Rads., in 1745, but returned to Llanbryn-mair in 1748 as though re-annointed for his work. He built up a strong church at Llanbryn-mair and succoured the young branches of the ‘Old Chapel’ church. He journeyed to the north-western parts of Wales to preach and suffered much persecution. It was Lewis Rees who opened the way for Howel Harris to go to North Wales on his first visit. In 1759 he moved to Tirdonkin, Llangyfelach, Glam., to spend the remainder of his days, impelled, as before, by his urge to evangelize. A short time before his death he preached at a preaching festival at Carmarthen with his son, Dr. Abraham Rees. He died 21 March 1800.
Lewis Rees was one of the greatest preachers of his time — tolerant of spirit and liberalminded. In his personality were united the wise judgement of the older Independents and the warm glow of the leaders of the Welsh Methodist revival. The minutes of the Congregational Board show that he received grants almost every year from 1742 until 1781, a proof of his greatness and of his spiritual influence in religious circles in Wales and England.
Published date: 1959
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