Thomas Brearey was born on 5th March 1777 in Hanging Heaton near Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. He worked in cotton mills as a slubber, and lived to a ripe old age.

The Dewsbury Reporter included an article on him:

On Thursday Week were interred at Leeds, the remains of Thomas Brearey… had he lived three days longer, would have been 102 years old.

When young he remembered going with his father to hear the Reverend John Wesley who, on that occasion, preached in a barn in the neighbourhood. Thomas was wont to call him “the bonny little man”. He became a member of the Methodist Society when in his ‘teens’ and therefore was upwards of 80 years a member.

He had an excellent memory – remembered may of the old preachers – was little of a poet and well versed in the denominational hymn book.

He never forgot a sad calamity which took pace in May 1796 in Nelson Street. The Reverend Francis Thorseby, who had been suspended by the Conference, took an upper room to officiate in. He was holding a lovefeast, the room was crowded, and the floor gave way and precipitated the people through the second floor to the ground, in which was a deep sawpit, where sixteen women, a man and a boy were suffocated. Thomas Brearey saw the bodies taken out and laid side by side. Thirty others, including Thoresby, were sadly bruised, some of whom died…

A few years ago [Thomas] was knocked by a butcher’s cart and taken to the Infirmary, being so much hurt from this accident he never fully recovered.

[Thomas attended a later celebration] on the occasion of the marriage of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Thomas Brearey then received a smoking cap from the Mayor, being the oldest man there or in the town.

He had to keep close quarters during the past severe weather, and was thought likely to survive its severity. He had lately become subject to bronchitis, but only a week ago it became more severe. He was sensible to the last and calmly passed away.

Dewsbury Reporter: Saturday 15 March 1879

A long and varied life, lived to its fullest!

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