Thomas Pearce (British Army officer)

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Thomas Pearce, P.C. (~1670  – 1739), was an English army officer, a privy councillor and a member of parliament.[1] During the War of the Spanish Succession he was deputy commander-in-chief in Portugal later serving in Gibraltar. He was appointed to Ireland in 1715 spending his last five years in Dublin where he died in 1739, General of his Majesty's Forces in Ireland.


Third and youngest son of Edward Pearce (1620  – 1683) of Parson's Green Fulham and his wife Mary (1635  – 1728), daughter of Dudley Carleton and his second wife Lucy Croft.[1] Thomas was baptised 1 March 1669/1670 at St Mary-in-the-Marsh Norwich near his father's Whitlingham estate.

Pearce married Mary daughter of William Hewes of Wrexham and his wife Sarah daughter of Thomas Wayte, governor of Beeston Castle, Cheshire. They had three sons and two daughters, daughter Ann married her first cousin, noted Irish architect Edward Lovett Pearce.

Pearce had good political links through close family in London and Dublin.

Major General Pearce's Regiment of Dragoons at disbanding 29 April 1713. includes brother and son


Represented Ludgershall, a parliamentary borough in Wiltshire, from 1703 to 1713[1] and the city of Limerick from 1727[2] until his death.[1]



Deputy commander-in-chief Portugal 1711  – 1713[1]

Whitehall, 17 February 1713
Major General Pearce who commanded Her Majesty's Forces in Portugal, is returned hither; he has had the honour to kiss Her Majesty's Hand and was very graciously received.[3]


Hampton-Court, 26 August 1717
It is His Majesty's Pleasure, that all the Officers belonging to the Regiments of Foot now at Gibraltar, do immediately repair to their respective Posts, upon Pain of His Majesty's highest Displeasure, and particularly those of Major-General Pearce's Regiment, except such as have Leave from His Majesty to the contrary.[4]


Military Governor of the castle and turbulent city of Limerick 1715  – [1]

1727 is back in Ireland at

Limerick 7 February 1727
This Day we received an account from Dublin, that the Court of King's Bench has allowed an information to be filed against our Governor, for assuming the Power and Office of Mayor of this City; which news has caused inexpressible Joy among his Majesty's faithful Subjects here.

Dublin 14 February 1727
Yesterday our Artillery were all carefully viewed by the Gunners; and such as were any way defective were taken Care of; but only one cannon was found unfit for Service. Last Saturday the Court of King's Bench ordered Informations to be filed against James Robinson, Robert Twigg, John Vincent, and John Higgins, of Limerick, Aldermen, for exercising the Offices of Justices of the Peace in that City, not being duly elected. These four Aldermen took upon them the Offices of Justices since the Time Major General Pearce, Governor of the Garrison, first assumed the Civil Magistracy of that City. The Rules for Informations against the Sheriffs &c are suspended until those against the Governor and the aforesaid Aldermen are determined, which the Prosecutors, on Behalf of the King are resolved to Speed to Trial with all possible Expedition.[5]

Dublin, 21 August 1737
This day came on before their Excellencies the Lords Justices; and the Right Hon. the Privy Council, the Election for Magistrates to serve for the ensuing Year for the City of Limerick, and after a long Debate, for near 13 Hours, the Lords of the Council were pleased to approve of John Vincent, Esq; for Mayor, Arthur Blennerhasset, Esq., for Recorder. George Bose and Richard Chester, Gentlemen, for Sheriffs, who were certified to their Excellencies and Lordships as duly elected by the Hon. Lieutenant General Pearce, present Mayor of Limerick, under the Common Seal of the City.
The Debate was occasioned by the Petition of George Roche, Toxteth Roche, Richard Roche Clerk, Francis Roche, and Rchard Roche, Jun. and several other Brothers and Nephews of that Family who suggested that Military Force, and other undue Practices were made use of by the Mayor at the Election, to terrify the Voters.
But the allegations appear to be frivolous and groundless, and that the Persons returned by the General were elected by a great Majority, and were Men of undoubted and known Loyalty, and it appearing likewise that a certain Family had embezzled the Corporation Revenues, and had shared them amongst themselves for many Years past, the Right Hon. the Privy Council were pleased to reject the Petition and to approve of the aforesaid Persons to be Magistrates. This approbation will occasion an universal Joy in the Citizens, who for a long season have laboured under heavy Oppressions from the Tyrannical Government of a certain Family, till rescued by the present Mayor.[6]

Dublin, 9 October 1727
We hear from Limerick, that the Election for Members to serve in the ensuing Parliament for that City came on the 3rd Instant; The Candidates were the Hon. Lieut. General Pearce, Hen. Ingoldsby, Esq; and Geo Roche, Esq; all upon their single Interests; the two former, upon closing the Books, were declared duly elected. The Poll stood thus: For Mr Pearce 362, for Mr Ingoldsby 316, for Mr Roche 147.[7]

London 21 March 1728
Orders sent for Pearce's Foot to embark at Gibraltar for Great Britain [8]

Pearces Egerton's and Bisset's have arrived at Cork from Gibraltar where P's and E's have been for 15 years and B's upwards of 10[9]


on 19 March said to be appointed to command the forces on the Irish Establishment in the absence of Lord Shannon[10]

29 March 1737 His Majesty has been pleased to appoint Lieutenant General Thomas Pearce to be Governor of Londonderry and Culmore Port in Ireland.[11]

Regiments and ranks[edit]

  • 1689 Ensign[1]

Coldstream Guards[edit]

  • 1692 Captain[1]

Foot Guards[edit]

  • 1702 Major
  • 1703 Colonel of Foot[1]

Pearce's Foot[edit]

Pearce's Horse[edit]

1732-1739 colonel, 5th Regiment of Horse later the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards[12]

Based in Dublin from July 1734[13]

General officer[edit]

  • 1707 Brigadier General[1]
  • 1710 Major General[1]
  • 1727 Lieutenant General[14]

Dublin, 17 May 1738.
Yesterday Col. Hamilton's Regiment of Dragoons, and Brigadier Dormer's, Col. Cornwallis's and Col. Bragg's Regiments of Foot, were reviewed in the Deer-Park by Lieutenant General Thomas Pearce, and all went through their Exercises with the greatest Dexterity and Exactness.[15]

Dublin, 2 September 1738
On Tuesday last the Right Honourable Lieutenant General Thomas Pearce reviewed in his Majesty's Phoenix Park, Brigadier Legonier's Regiment of Horse, and Colonels Wentworth, Handasyde, and Paget's Regiments of Foot, which are on Duty in our Barracks. They performed all their Exercises and Firings with the utmost Exactness and Dexterity, to the entire Satisfaction of the General, and a numerous Company of Spectators of all Ranks.[16]

Dublin, January 1739
Letters from Dublin mention,
that on Tuesday last died suddenly at his house at Stephen's Green, the Right Hon. Thomas Pearce, Esq; Lieutenant-General of his Majesty's Land Forces in that Kingdom, Colonel of a Regiment of Horse, and Member of Parliament and Governor of the City of Limerick.[17]

Dublin, 23 Jan. 1739
The Right honourable Lieutenant-General Thomas Pearce, Esq; General of his Majesty's Forces in Ireland, was carried to Christ-Church last Saturday, and interred with great Military Honour and Solemnity. The Pall-Bearers were the Right Hon. the Lord Viscount Molesworth; the Right Hon. the Lord Tullamore; the Hon. General Napier; the Hon. General Parker; Colonel Butler, Adjutant-General; and the Right Hon. the Lord Sempill.
On Saturday Night last, past Ten of the Clock, the Corpse of the Right Hon. the Lieutenant General Thomas Pearce was taken out of the Vault in Christ-Church, where it was deposited, and carried in an Hearse, accompanied by a Mourning Coach, to Donneybrooke Church where it was interred.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l D W Hayton, Pearce, Thomas, History of Parliament Online, accessed 24 December 2012
  2. ^ News, Evening Journal, Wednesday, 10 January 1728; Issue 34
  3. ^ Whitehall "No. 5096". The London Gazette. 21 February 1713. p. 1. 
  4. ^ Whitehall "No. 5567". The London Gazette. 27 August 1717. p. 2. 
  5. ^ News Daily Journal, Saturday, 25 February 1727; Issue 1909
  6. ^ News Daily Journal, Friday, 1 September 1727; Issue 2070
  7. ^ News Daily Journal, Wednesday, 18 October 1727; Issue 2110
  8. ^ News .Flying Post or The Post Master (London, England), 19 March 1728 – 21 March 1728; Issue 5482.
  9. ^ News . Daily Post (London, England), Friday, 17 May 1728; Issue 2700
  10. ^ Country Journal or The Craftsman (London, England), Saturday, 19 March 1737; Issue 559.
  11. ^ Lieutenant-General Thomas Pearce made Governor of London derry, and Culmore Port, Ireland, in the Room of the late Lieutenant General Owen Wynne.
    News Weekly Miscellany Friday, 1 April 1737; Issue CCXXIII
  12. ^ "Thomas Pearce, Esq., Lieutenant-General of his Majesty's Forces, also a Member of the Irish Parliament, is made Colonel of the Regiment of Horse, consisting of six Troops, lately commanded by Lieutenant-General Wynne. And
    Col. John Cope, Member of Parliament for Liskeard in Cornwall, is appointed Colonel of the Regiment of Foot in Ireland, late Lieutenant-General Pearce's."
    News London Evening Post, 17 October 1732 – 19 October 1732; Issue 762
  13. ^ Daily Courant (London, England), Wednesday, 10 July 1734; Issue 5699.
  14. ^ War Office "No. 6572". The London Gazette. 15 Apr 1727. p. 3. 
  15. ^ News Weekly Miscellany, Friday, 9 June 1738; Issue CCLXXXV
  16. ^ News Daily Gazetteer (London Edition) Saturday, 9 September 1738; Issue 994
  17. ^ News London Evening Post, 20 January 1739 – 23 January 1739; Issue 1746.
  18. ^ News London Evening Post, 30 January 1739 – 1 February 1739; Issue 1750
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Robert Bruce
John Richmond Webb
Member of Parliament for Ludgershall
With: John Richmond Webb
Succeeded by
Robert Ferne
John Richmond Webb
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
William Foord
George Roche
Member of Parliament for Limerick City
With: Henry Ingoldsby 1727–1731
Charles Smyth 1731–1741
Succeeded by
William Wilson
Charles Smyth
Military offices
Preceded by
The Lord Fairfax of Cameron
Colonel of Pearce's Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Sir John Cope
Preceded by
Owen Wynne
Colonel of Pearce's Regiment of Horse
Succeeded by
The Lord Tyrawley
Governor of Londonderry
Succeeded by
Phineas Bowles