Bryson, Samuel Maziere (1776–1853), apothecary and Celticist, was born 9 March 1776, probably at Holywood, Co. Down, youngest of 21 sons of James Bryson (qv) (1730?–1796), presbyterian minister. After studying medicine at Edinburgh, he qualified as a licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons, opened a chemist's shop in Belfast, and in May 1806 obtained a licentiate of the Apothecaries of Ireland, enabling him to become a full-time apothecary with a surgery at 50 High St. Bryson became a member of the Belfast Medical Society (1822) and did much to rejuvenate it. He seems also to have served as assistant surgeon to the 32nd Regiment. As early as 1803 Bryson was collecting and transcribing Irish manuscripts, the activity for which he is best remembered. He became the leading authority on Ulster place-names, contributing to W. H. Drummond's (qv) The Giant's Causeway (1811) and James Stuart's Historical memoirs of the city of Armagh (1819). His manuscripts are now part of the MacAdam collection at Belfast City Library. Bryson married (October 1805) Alice Stanfield; they had at least four children. Two sons, Joseph Wallace (1807–55) and Samuel (1810–58), qualified in medicine and practised in partnership with him at 98 High St. until his retirement in 1848. He died 28 February 1853 at his house, ‘Cluan’, in the developing suburb of Ballymacarrett on the east bank of the Lagan. Bryson St. there was named after him. He was buried in the Bryson family plot at Holywood.
Belfast News Letter, 4 Mar. 1853; F. J. Bigger, ‘Memoir of Samuel Bryson’, Arthur Deane (ed.), Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society centenary volume (1924), 66–7; Roger Blaney, Presbyterians and the Irish language (1996), 47–56, 224, n. 103