Bryant family

Robert Bryant (1788-1856 [?retired 1857?]; e.m. 1814), converted in 1806, is thought to have been a grocer in Diss, before entering the Wesleyan ministry in 1814. He served a succession of Norfolk and Lincolnshire circuits. With a family of four sons and one daughter he established a Methodist dynasty which spanned five generations of ministers and local preachers.

His sons were all educated at Woodhouse Grove, enduring the rigorous regime of the school at that time. All four became active in their local churches. Two of them, Joshua and Joseph Bryant, became partners in a business at Alford. Joshua and Thomas Wesley Bryant both became local preachers.

Thomas Wesley Bryant (1824-1879) was twice married. By his first wife, Mary Palethorpe, he had three sons, two of whom entered the ministry. Robert William Bryant (e.m. 1877; died 1895) survived a serious illness early in life and on medical advice went to South Africa, where he was persuaded by the Rev. Owen Watkins to offer for the ministry. He was sent to establish a church at Bethlehem in the Orange Free State and was also chaplain of the garrison at Pietermaritzberg. Later he was in charge of an institute at Edendale, Natal for the training of native teachers and preachers. Back home in Britain after his wife's death in childbirth, he became a chaplain at the military barracks in Pembroke Dock.

His brother Joseph Bryant (1858-1944; e.m 1882) was born on 15 January 1858, was trained for the ministry at Handsworth College and spent his ministry in Australia as one of twelve ministers sent out at the request of the New South Wales Conference in 1882. He went as Australian representative to Tonga in 1917 and to the British Conference in 1922. After a year as Acting Master of Wesley College, he served as the Book Steward 1924-1941. The Australasian Minutes of 1932, the year of his ministerial jubilee, recorded that 'By his able and chaste pen, he has won a secure place in the literary world'. As a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and corresponding member of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society he wrote several books on the discovery, exploration and early history of Australia. His obituary speaks of his 'refined taste' and his 'rich and true sense of humour'. He died on 1 December 1944.

Thomas Wesley Bryant's second wife was Elizabeth Mary Riggall, granddaughter of William Riggall. They had seven children. Their eldest son Herbert Edward Bryant (1860-1940) was a local preacher in Lincolnshire and headmaster of Brigg Grammar School. His only son Hubert Francis Bryant (1912-2000) was a local preacher for over 50 years in the Ealing and Southend & Leigh circuits. Hubert's daughter-in-law and one of his granddaughters are currently local preachers.

  • Methodist Recorder, 3 August 2012

Entry written by: RB
Category: Person
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