Zachary Pearce

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Zachary Pearce
Bishop of Rochester
Term ended1774
PredecessorJoseph Wilcocks
SuccessorJohn Thomas
Other postsBishop of Bangor, Dean of Westminster
Personal details
Born8 September 1690
Died29 June 1774
DenominationChurch of England
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

Zachary Pearce, sometimes known as Zachariah (8 September 1690 – 29 June 1774), was an English Bishop of Bangor and Bishop of Rochester. He was a controversialist and a notable early critical writer defending John Milton,[1] attacking Richard Bentley's 1732 edition of Paradise Lost the following year.


Pearce was born the son of Thomas or John Pearce, a distiller, in 1690 in the parish of St Giles, High Holborn. He first attended Great Ealing School.[2] and then Westminster School. He graduated BA from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1713/4 and MA in 1717.[3]

He was Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (1716–1720) [4] and chaplain to the Lord Chancellor, Thomas Parker, 1st Earl of Macclesfield. Parker became his patron, to whom Pearce dedicated an edition of the De oratore of Cicero. He became rector of Stapleford Abbots, Essex (1719–1722) and St Batholemew, Royal Exchange (1720–1724) He was vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, in 1726.[5] He was then Dean of Winchester in 1739, Bishop of Bangor in 1748, and Bishop of Rochester in 1756. In 1761 he turned down the position of bishop of London.[4] He was Dean of Westminster (1756–1768).

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1720.[6] Towards the end of Isaac Newton's life, Pearce assisted him on chronology[7]

There is a monument to Pearce in the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Bromley.[8] He had married Mary, daughter of Benjamin Adams, a distiller, of Holborn.


The Miracles of Jesus Vindicated (1729) was written against Thomas Woolston. A Reply to the Letter to Dr. Waterland was against Conyers Middleton, defending Daniel Waterland; Pearce engaged in this controversy as a former student of William Wake.[9]

Other works were:

  • Cicero, Dialogi tres de oratore (1716)
  • Longinus, De sublimitate commentarius (1724)
  • Cicero, De officiis libri tres (1745)

He also published sermons; he preached at the funeral of Sir Hans Sloane.[10]


  1. ^ Christopher Ricks, Milton's Grand Style, p. 9.
  2. ^ Hole, Robert (2004). "Pearce, Zachary (1690–1774)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  3. ^ "Pearce, Zachariah (PR710Z)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ a b Concise Dictionary of National Biography
  5. ^ St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square. Retrieved on 2012-06-15.
  6. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows 1660–2007". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  7. ^ Academy Thomas Anson New. Retrieved on 2012-06-15.
  8. ^ Bromley. (2003-06-22). Retrieved on 2012-06-15.
  9. ^ David B. Ruderman, Connecting the Covenants: Judaism and the Search for Christian Identity in Eighteenth-Century England, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007 ISBN 0812240162, p. 47.
  10. ^ Chelsea – (part 2 of 3) | British History Online. (2003-06-22). Retrieved on 2012-06-15.
  • Lives of Dr. Edward Pocock, the Celebrated Orientalist, by Dr. Twells; of Dr. Zachary Pearce, Bishop of Rochester, and of Dr. Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, by Themselves; and of the Rev. Philip Skelton, by Mr. Bundy (1818)
  • Royal Society Biography[dead link]
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Charles Naylor
Dean of Winchester
Succeeded by
Thomas Cheyney
Preceded by
Matthew Hutton
Bishop of Bangor
Succeeded by
John Egerton
Preceded by
Joseph Wilcocks
Bishop of Rochester
Succeeded by
John Thomas
Dean of Westminster