Bryson, William (d. 1815), presbyterian minister, ministered from c.1765 to a congregation at Antrim connected with the presbytery of Antrim. Three of his sermons were published. He held that biblical doctrines are subject to human reason, and so may be considered a liberal in theology, but in politics he moved to the right: the United Irishman Thomas Russell (qv) found him to be ‘a fine man, great Godwin's man’ (Woods, 135) (November 1793), but in 1798 he was a loyalist. His wife was a daughter of his predecessor in Antrim, Alexander MacLaine. He died 6 May 1815 leaving three sons and two daughters. One son, William Alexander (BA, TCD, 1812), wrote a eulogy to British successes in the Napoleonic wars, published as An university prize poem on his majesty's entrance upon the fiftieth year of his reign (1809), and also Poems (1812); he died aged 28 in 1814, either from consumption or by drowning himself in Six Mile Water after failing to get a fellowship. William Bryson was described by James Bryson (qv) (1730?–1796) as a ‘kinsman’ and may have been a cousin.
Belfast News Letter, 12 May 1815; Witherow, Memorials, ii, 256–9; W. H. M., ‘The royal jubilee year’, Northern Whig, 17 June 1887; DNB; O'Donoghue; C. J. Woods (ed.), Journals and memoirs of Thomas Russell (1991), 135, 161