Mark Guy Pearse

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Mark Guy Pearse (3 January 1842 – 1 January 1930) was a Cornish Methodist preacher, lecturer and author who, during the last quarter of the 19th century and the first of the 20th, was a household name throughout Britain and beyond. Born at Camborne, Cornwall, from childhood he "drank in the traditions of Methodism", as his daughter put it.[1]

Ministerial career[edit]

Pearse was born in Camborne, Cornwall on 3 January 1842.

After a false start in medicine, he studied theology, and in 1863 entered the Wesleyan ministry. His first post on leaving Didsbury College was in Leeds and over the next twenty or so years, he was appointed by the Methodist Conference to ministries in Brixton Hill, Ipswich, Bedford, Highbury, Westminster, Launceston, and Bristol.

It was during a two-year ministry at Ipswich that he began to think of writing and from 1870 until his death, he published upwards of forty books and at least an equal number of booklets, tracts and articles, most of which had a worldwide circulation.

The best-selling Daniel Quorm and his Religious Notions was read by all levels of society. His decision in 1886 not to retire to his beloved Cornwall, but to accept the invitation of Hugh Price Hughes to join him in the West London Mission resulted in extensive tours abroad to publicise its aims and achievements, and to raise money. These tours brought him into contact with Cornish communities in North America, Australasia and South Africa.[2]

After retiring from the Mission in 1903, he continued to preach, lecture and write, spending more and more time in Cornwall towards the end of his days. Four months before his death in London on New Year's Day, 1930, he was made a bard of Gorseth Kernow (the Cornish Gorsedd), at Carn Brea, taking the name Pyscajor a Dus (Fisher of Men).[3]

Pearse married Mary Jane Cooper and they had four daughters (one of them the artist Frances Mabelle Unwin, 1869-1956) and two sons.

Devotional writings and tales[edit]

His writings include devotional works and semi-religious tales, especially of Cornish life. Some of the best known are:

  • Mister Horn and his friends; or, Givers and Giving
  • Daniel Quorm and his Religious Notions (1874–75), of which several hundred thousand copies were printed in many languages
  • Some Aspects of the Blessed Life (1887)
  • Elijah, the Man of God (1891)
  • The Gentleness of Jesus (1898)
  • The Story of a Roman Soldier (1899)
  • Christ's Cure for Care (1902)
  • West Country Songs (1902)
  • Bridgetstow (1907)
  • The Prophet's Raven (1908)
  • A Village Down West (1924)
  • The Ship where Christ was Captain (1926)


Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, the women's rights campaigner, was to describe him as "the strongest influence upon the first half of my life".[4]


  1. ^ Unwin, Mrs George, and Telford, John (1930) Mark Guy Pearse: Preacher, Author, Artist 1842-1930, London: Epworth Press/J. Alfred Sharp
  2. ^ Williams, Derek R. (1999) 'A right warm-hearted Cornish welcome: the Rev. Mark Guy Pearse in North America and South Africa, Old Cornwall, vol. 12, no. 5, Autumn 1999
  3. ^ Much of this text is a short extract from Williams, Derek R. (2000) 'Minister with a loyal love of his people', Western Morning News: Living Cornwall supplement, 21 November 2000
  4. ^ Harrison, Brian (2004) ‘Lawrence, Emmeline Pethick-, Lady Pethick-Lawrence (1867–1954)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006 accessed 17 Nov 2007
  • Cornubia's Son: a Life of Mark Guy Pearse is a biography of Pearse by Derek R. Williams, published by Francis Boutle Publishers (ISBN 978 1 903427 35 4), 390 pages.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.

External links[edit]