REES, JOHN SEYMOUR (1887 - 1963), minister (Congl.) and author

Name: John Seymour Rees
Date of birth: 1887
Date of death: 1963
Spouse: Annie Rees (née Owen)
Parent: Magdalen Rees (née Evans)
Parent: John Rees
Gender: Male
Occupation: minister (Congl.) and author
Area of activity: Literature and Writing; Religion
Author: Mary Auronwy James

Son of John Rees and Magdalen (née Evans) his wife, Glasgow House, Aberaeron, baptised on 22 July 1887. He was educated at Aberaeron; Pencader; The Old College School, Carmarthen (c. 1909-10); and Brecon Academy (1911-15), attending a degree course under its auspices in the colleges of the University of Wales at Aberystwyth (1911) and Cardiff (1912). He was minister at Ebeneser, Cefncoedycymer (1915-22), where he was ordained; Hermon, Treorci (1923-27) and Soar, Seven Sisters (1927-45), before being appointed secretary of the Cardiff Council of Christians and Jews (1945-63). He was a very popular preacher but declined an invitation to become pastor of a church in New York, U.S.A., c. 1922, and in Radnor Walk, London, in 1926. He gave his valedictory address to South Glamorgan Association in 1943 and gave many radio talks c. 1932 onwards.

He was known initially as a short-story writer. He won three crowns and 16 chairs in local and regional eisteddfodau, and first prize at the National Eisteddfod 28 times, mostly for essays and biographies, but the urge to include every detail stifled his literary skills, as in his essay on the history of the Welsh Language Society in 1952. He contributed to the periodical press for over 50 years; see Glyn L. Jones, A bibliography of Cardiganshire 1600-1964 and the Supplement for a list of his articles in the Dysgedydd, Cymru, Genhinen, Ymofynnydd, etc. Other published work includes a one-act play, Y Canfasiwr, in Y Ford Gron, 5, no. 1, under the pseudonym J.C.M. Evans; and The history of Ynysgau Church, Merthyr Tydfil (c. 1958). He was a meticulous historian and about 50 volumes which were impeccably typed and neatly bound by him are preserved at the National Library of Wales (NLW MSS 18628-18865 ; NLW MS 18866E correspondence). They contain collections of hymns, biographies of hymnwriters, poets, preachers (and Congregational ministers of South Glamorgan to 1939, in particular); and stories, history and notable figures of the Aeron valley, especially of Neuaddlwyd Academy. He also compiled indexes to Y Beirniad and the biographical dictionary of Josiah T. Jones (1867).

He married, January 1924, Annie Owen, Dyffryn, Rhydlewis, Cardiganshire, who also gave valuable service to the church, and they had one son. He died 17 June 1963.


Published date: 2001

Article Copyright:

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.

Find out more on our sponsorship page.