Margaret Steuart Pollard

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Margaret Steuart Pollard, (Peggy), (1 March 1903 - 6 November 1996) was a scholar of Sanskrit, a poet and self-styled bard of the Cornish language. She was a member of Ferguson's Gang, a secret society of supporters of the National Trust.

She was born Margaret Gladstone, grand-niece of the Liberal prime minister William Gladstone, and from 1920 attended Newnham College, Cambridge, where she was the first woman to gain first class honours in Oriental Languages. She married Captain Frank Pollard, an expert on Cornish history and they lived in Truro, Cornwall. By 1938 she had become a bard, and a member of the Cornish Gorsedd. She was an enthusiastic supporter of campaigns to defend the landscape, language and traditions of Cornwall and rural England. She formed Ferguson's gang (under the mockney pseudonym Bill Stickers).[1] On one occasion she donated £100 to the National Trust, wearing a full mask to preserve her anonymity.

In 1947 she published Cornwall described as ‘humorous, perceptive, and intelligent’.[2] She completed a PhD in 1952, specializing in Sanskrit, Pali and Old Church Slavonic. Then in 1951 she converted to Roman Catholicism, and with the financial assistance of The Guild of Our Lady of the Portal, an anonymous group she formed similar to Ferguson's Gang, built a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Our Lady of the Portal and St Piran on the site of a medieval chapel in Truro.

Her husband died in 1968; however, she remained an active poet and translator. She had given away much of her inherited wealth, and lived in one up,one down old tin miners cottage in Truro. She remained a romantic figure, dressed in a long skirt and a scarf wrapped around her head.

A biography of Peggy Pollard is included in Ferguson's Gang - The Maidens behind the Masks.[1]


  1. ^ a b Hutton-North, Anna (2013). Ferguson's Gang - The Maidens behind the Masks. Lulu Inc. ISBN 978-1-291-48453-3. 
  2. ^ Jenkin, Ann Trevenen (7 December 1996). "Obituary: Margaret Pollard". The Independent. Retrieved 15 October 2010.