Thomas Rees (Unitarian)

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Thomas Rees (1777 – 1 August 1864), Welsh Nonconformist divine, was a Unitarian minister and scholar.

Wales Country in northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

Nonconformist Protestant Christians in Wales and England who did not follow the established Church of England

In English church history, a Nonconformist was a Protestant who did not "conform" to the governance and usages of the established Church of England. Broad use of the term was precipitated after the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, when the Act of Uniformity 1662 re-established the opponents of reform within the Church of England. By the late 19th century the term specifically included the Reformed Christians, plus the Baptists and Methodists. The English Dissenters such as the Puritans who violated the Act of Uniformity 1559—typically by practising radical, sometimes separatist, dissent—were retrospectively labelled as Nonconformists.

Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement named for its belief that the God in Christianity is one person, as opposed to the Trinity which defines God as three persons in one being; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Unitarian Christians, therefore, believe that Jesus was inspired by God in his moral teachings, and he is a savior, but he was not a deity or God incarnate. Unitarianism does not constitute one single Christian denomination, but rather refers to a collection of both extant and extinct Christian groups, whether historically related to each other or not, which share a common theological concept of the oneness nature of God.


Rees was educated at the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen. He entered the Unitarian ministry in 1807 at the Newington Green Unitarian Church, London. He went to Southwark in 1813, earned the degree of LL.D. of Glasgow in 1819, and went to Stamford Street, Blackfriars, in 1823.

Newington Green Unitarian Church Church in London , United Kingdom

Newington Green Unitarian Church (NGUC) in north London is one of England's oldest Unitarian churches. It has had strong ties to political radicalism for over 300 years, and is London's oldest Nonconformist place of worship still in use. It was founded in 1708 by English Dissenters, a community of which had been gathering around Newington Green for at least half a century before that date. The church belongs to the umbrella organisation known as the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, and has had an upturn in its fortunes since the turn of the millennium.

Southwark District of Central London, England

Southwark is a district of Central London and is the north-west of the London Borough of Southwark. Centred 1 12 miles (2.4 km) east of Charing Cross, it fronts the River Thames and the City of London to the north. It was at the lowest bridging point of the Thames in Roman Britain, providing a crossing from Londinium, and for centuries had the only Thames bridge in the area, until a bridge was built upstream more than 10 miles (16 km) to the west. It was a 1295-enfranchised Borough in the county of Surrey, apparently created a burh in 886, containing various parishes by the high medieval period, lightly succombing to City attempts to constain its free trade and entertainment. Its entertainment district, in its heyday at the time of Shakespare's Globe Theatre has revived in the form of the Southbank which overspills imperceptibly into the ancient boundaries of Lambeth and commences at the post-1997 reinvention of the original theatre, Shakespeare's Globe, incorporating other smaller theatre spaces, an exhibition about Shakespeare's life and work and which neighbours Vinopolis and the London Dungeon. After the 18th century decline of Southwark's small wharves, the borough rapidly grew in population and saw the growth of great docks, printing/paper, railways, goods yards, small artesan and other often low-wage industries and Southwark was among many such inner districts to see slum clearance and replacement largely with social housing during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is now at an advanced stage of regeneration and has the City Hall offices of the Greater London Authority. At its heart is the area known as Borough, which has an eclectic covered and semi-covered market and numerous food and drink venues as well as the skyscraper The Shard. Another landmark is Southwark Cathedral, a priory then parish church created a cathedral in 1905, noted for its Merbecke Choir.

Blackfriars, London area of central London, England

Blackfriars is an area of central London, which lies in the south-west corner of the City of London.

He had great knowledge of the history of anti-trinitarian opinion, especially of the 16th century. He published papers, chiefly in the Monthly Repository between 1818 and 1822, on such subjects as Faustus Socinus and Francis David, including The Italian Reformation, Memoirs of the Socini. Financial troubles drove him to Spain in 1853, and he died in obscurity in Brighton.


Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity that rejects the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity—the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases or persons who are coeternal, coequal, and indivisibly united in one being, or essence. Certain religious groups that emerged during the Protestant Reformation have historically been known as antitrinitarian, but are not considered Protestant in popular discourse due to their nontrinitarian nature.

The Monthly Repository was a British monthly Unitarian periodical which ran between 1806 and 1838. In terms of editorial policy on theology, the Repository was largely concerned with rational dissent. Considered as a political journal, it was radical, supporting a platform of: abolition of monopolies ; abolition of slavery; repeal of "taxes on knowledge"; extension of suffrage; national education; reform of the Church of England; and changes to the Poor Laws.

Brighton Town on south coast of England

Brighton is a seaside resort on the south coast of England that is part of the city of Brighton and Hove, located 47 miles (76 km) south of London.


He was born in Gelligron, Glamorgan, the son of Josiah Rees; George Owen Rees was his nephew. He started in the bookselling business, but on the advice of Abraham Rees (no relation), he was educated for the ministry (1799–1801) at Carmarthen College. [1]

Glamorgan one of the thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Wales

Glamorgan, or sometimes Glamorganshire,, is one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales and a former administrative county of Wales. It was originally an early medieval petty kingdom of varying boundaries known as Glywysing until taken over by the Normans as a lordship. Glamorgan is latterly represented by the three preserved counties of Mid Glamorgan, South Glamorgan and West Glamorgan. The name also survives in that of Vale of Glamorgan, a county borough.

Josiah Rees was a Welsh Presbyterian minister.

George Owen Rees Welsh-Italian physician

George Owen Rees was a Welsh-Italian physician.

In 1807 Rees became afternoon preacher at Newington Green Chapel, London, of which he had sole charge from 1808 to 1813, when he moved to St. Thomas's Chapel, Southwark, which was closed in 1822. On 12 October 1823 a new chapel was opened in Stamford Street, Blackfriars, London, built from the proceeds of the sales of St. Thomas's Chapel and the chapel in Prince's Street, Westminster. Here Rees ministered till 1831, when he ceased to hold regular ministerial charge. [1]

Rees was a fellow of the Society of Arts, and received the degree of LL.D. in January 1819 from Glasgow University. He was a trustee of Dr. Williams's Foundation from 1809 to 1853, a member of the Presbyterian board from 1813, its secretary from 1825 to 1853, and some time secretary of the London Unitarian Society. [2]

. From 1828 to 1835 he was secretary to the London union of ministers of the "three denominations". His rejection in 1835 was resented by the unitarians, who claimed to represent the Presbyterians, from whom the secretary had until then been chosen. They seceded from the union, and obtained the separate privilege of presenting addresses to the throne. Rees in 1837 was appointed by government as principal receiver of the English regium donum , on the nomination of the three denominations. [1]

In 1853 Rees left England for Spain, being unable to meet charges in regard to trust funds; but ultimately he made full restitution. He died in obscurity at Brighton, on 1 August 1864. His wife, Elizabeth, died at Hythe on 20 August 1856. [1]


Rees made a collection of the literature of antitrinitarian opinion, especially during the 16th century. His intention, announced by 1833, of publishing a comprehensive work, was never fulfilled; the Antitrinitarian Biography by Robert Wallace appeared in 1850. [1]

For Rees's Cyclopædia he contributed articles on biography, various miscellaneous topics, and examined and described the plates.

Rees published, besides single sermons (1804–46): [1]

His historical papers included: [1]

Rees left in manuscript The Anti-papal Reformers of Italy in the Sixteenth Century, with a Glance at their Forerunners, the Sectaries of the Middle Ages, in six volumes; also a manuscript translation, with notes, of Orelli's Life of Lælius Socinus. His promised memoir of Abraham Rees never appeared.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Wikisource-logo.svg "Rees, Thomas (1777-1864)". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. The Monthly Repository of Theology and General Literature. Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper. 1819. pp. 337–. Retrieved 27 February 2018.


Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Rees, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica . 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 975.  Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Rees, Thomas (1777-1864)". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.