Pearse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Pearse is one of the oldest family names to come from the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from the baptismal name for the son of Peter. In the religious naming tradition surnames were bestowed in honor of religious figures or church officials. In Europe, the Christian Church was one of the most powerful influences on the formation of given names. Personal names derived from the names of saints, apostles, biblical figures, and missionaries are widespread in most European countries. In the Middle Ages, they became increasingly popular because people believed that the souls of the deceased continued to be involved in this world. They named their children after saints in the hope that the child would be blessed or protected by the saint.

Early Origins of the Pearse family

The surname Pearse was first found in Somerset where one of the first records of the family was listed with an early spelling of the name: Richard Perys, 1 Edward III (during the first year's reign of King Edward III.) The same rolls included Robert Peres; Ralph Peres; and Adam Peres. [1]

Some of the family were also found in Cornwall. "The barton house of Davidstowe, [in the parish of Davistow, Cornwall] which is now inhabited by labourers, and Trehane, now occupied by a farmer, were originally seats of the Pearse family, from whom, together with their estates, they passed in marriage to John Nicholls, Esq. Since that time Davidstowe has again returned to the Pearse family; and, together with the great tithes, is now the property of William Pearse, Esq.. whose residence is at Holwell." [2]

Early History of the Pearse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pearse research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1520, 1548, 1615, 1667, 1661, 1667, 1622, 1691, 1674, 1726, 1630, 1694, 1697, 1714, 1719, 1510, 1603, 1629, 1691, 1772, 1845, 1625, 1699, 1612, 1645, 1690 and are included under the topic Early Pearse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pearse Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Pearse has undergone many spelling variations, including Pearce, Pierce, Pierse, Pearse, Pears, Peerce, Peers, Peirse and many more.

Early Notables of the Pearse family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Peeris ( fl. 1520), English chronicler, clerk in holy orders and secretary to Henry Algernon Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland. Stephen Perse (1548-1615), was founder of the Perse Grammar School at Cambridge and Fellow of Cambridge College. Sir Edmund Peirce or Pierse (died 1667), of Greenwich, Kent and Holborn, Middlesex, was an English politician, Member of Parliament for Maidstone 1661 to 1667...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pearse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Pearse family to Ireland

Some of the Pearse family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 201 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Pearse migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Pearse were among those contributors:

Pearse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Anthony Pearse, who settled in St. Christopher in 1633

Canada Pearse migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pearse Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Pearse (Pearce), (b. 1820), aged 35, English servant, from Plymouth, Devon, England, UK departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, she survived the sinking [3]

Australia Pearse migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Pearse Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Richard Pearse, aged 38, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "William Prowse" [4]
  • Mr. Thomas Pearse, (b. 1819), aged 35, Cornish agricultural labourer departing from Soton on 24th June 1854 aboard the ship "Joshua" arriving in Geelong, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 28th September 1854 [5]
  • Mrs. Caroline Pearse, (b. 1827), aged 27, Cornish settler departing from Soton on 24th June 1854 aboard the ship "Joshua" arriving in Geelong, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 28th September 1854 [5]
  • Miss Ann E. Pearse, (b. 1849), aged 5, Cornish settler departing from Soton on 24th June 1854 aboard the ship "Joshua" arriving in Geelong, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 28th September 1854 [5]
  • William Pearse, aged 52, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Gilmore"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Pearse migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Pearse Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Pearse, British settler travelling from Portsmouth aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 24th October 1851 [6]
  • Mr. John Pearse, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th December 1851 [6]
  • Mrs. Mary Pearse, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th December 1851 [6]
  • Mr. T. Pearse, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Rock City" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 4th June 1855 [7]
  • Mr. C. Pearse, British settler travelling from Liverpool (Mersey) aboard the ship "Viscount Sandon" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand then Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in 1860 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Pearse (post 1700) +

  • Richard Pearse, American politician, U.S. Consul in Matamoros, 1832 [8]
  • George Pearse, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1908 [8]
  • Frederic M. P. Pearse, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey 5th District, 1932 [8]
  • Abraham Pearse, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Schenectady County, 1841 [8]
  • Samuel George Pearse (1897-1919), Australian soldier and recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • William Pearse (1881-1916), Irish nationalist, younger brother of Patrick Pearse
  • Richard Pearse (1877-1953), New Zealand farmer and inventor who may have beat the Wright Bros in flying a heavier-than-air machine in March 1903
  • Guy Pearse, Australian author, environmentalist, and Liberal Party whistle blower
  • Charles Pearse (1884-1953), South African cricketer
  • Barbara Pearse (b. 1948), British biological scientist
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Sidney C Pearse (b. 1922), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Andover, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [9]
  • Mr. John F F Pearse (b. 1903), English Electrical Artificer 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [9]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Reginald M Pearse, British Stoker Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [10]


  1. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/wreck_of_emigrant_ship_john_1855.pdf
  4. ^ South Australian Register Monday 21st August 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) William Prowse 1856. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/williamprowse1854.shtml
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 20) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  10. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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