Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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BREESE , JOHN ( 1789 - 1842 ), Independent minister .

Born at Llanbrynmair , Sept. 1789 . In his younger days he was almost entirely dependent on the Sunday school for his education. At the age of 20 he was admitted a full member of the church in the Old Chapel , then under the ministry of John Roberts ( 1767 - 1834 ) , and when he was 24 he was invited to start preaching . His friends helped him to go to a school in Shrewsbury , after which he was admitted to the Academy under George Lewis , which had just moved from Wrexham to Llanfyllin . While there his ability as a preacher attracted attention, and in 1817 he was called to be minister of the church in Edmund Street , Liverpool , shortly afterwards moving to the Tabernacle , Great Crosshall Street . Here he worked hard for seventeen years to develop the Welsh Independent connexion in the city, and on many occasions walked to and from Manchester to minister to the church at that place.

He became famous throughout the length and breadth of Wales as a preacher — so much so that, during this period, he and William Williams ( 1781 - 1840 ) were the preachers mostly in demand at preaching assemblies. In 1835 he moved to Carmarthen to take charge of the church in Lammas Street , but shortly afterwards his health began to fail and he d. 8 Aug. 1842 . He was buried in Lammas Street burial ground.

He was above all a doctrinal preacher , and his congregations sometimes had difficulty in following him, but so striking was his delivery that he rarely failed to captivate them. An article written by him can be found in the volume entitled Galwad Ddifrifol (A Serious Call), better known as ‘ Y Llyfr Glas ’ (The Blue Book), published by John Roberts of Llanbrynmair , advocating the ‘ New System .’ The antiquary Edward Breese was his son.


  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies (1894) , 12-3;
  • J. Dyfnallt Owen , Hanes Eglwys Heol Awst, Caerfyrddin (1926) , 53-60;
  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iii, 435-8.


Reverend Richard Griffith Owen, M.A., (1890-1973), Bangor

Published date: 1959