Frederick Richard Pearson Inquest

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Newspaper report re the deaths and burials of the Rev Frederick Richard Pearson MA and his wife Lucy, July 1903.

The following transcription is taken from the Warrington Guardian, published Wednesday, July 22, 1903.


A gloom was cast over the parish of St James', Latchford, on Sunday, by the death of Mrs. Pearson, wife of the much respected vicar, the Rev. F. R. Pearson, but on Monday the parish was thrown still more deeply into mourning by the suicide, under sentimental circumstances, of the Vicar himself. Mrs. Pearson had for the last few years been in a delicate state of health. She was a native of Manchester, and when living at Sewerby, Bridlington, Yorkshire, where her husband was the vicar, she was advised by her medical attendant to go to live as near Manchester as possible, the doctor thinking her native air might probably restore her to her former strength. Thereupon Mr. Pearson exchanged livings with the Rev. F. E. Powell, who left Warrington in October last, while Mr. Pearson was inducted to St. James' by the Ven. Archdeacon Barber, of Chester, o n November 8th. The change of air apparently did not have the desired effect, and after causing her husband much anxiety, we regret to say that she passed away on Sunday morning. Feelings of profound regret and sorrow were plainly visible among the congregations which assembled at St. James' on Sunday. The eight o'clock celebration of Holy Communion was conducted by the Rev. W. Bracecamp, vicar of St. Paul's, the morning service (10.30) was taken by the Rev. H. A. Lester, of the Training College, and in the evening the Rev. C. A. M. Evans, curate of Stockton Heath, preached. After the morning and evening services the Dead March in "Saul" was played on the organ, the assembled parishioners standing in the meantime. The greatest sympathy was felt for the Vicar, for it was well known that a more affectionate and loving couple it would be almost impossible to find. The terrible blow which Mr. Pearson sustained can best be imagined. The separation distressed him so greatly that the crisis came on Monday morning at about nine o'clock, when the news that he had shot himself caused a sensation throughout the town. Mrs. Pearson's sister (Mrs. Ann Harrison) was staying at the Vicarage. She was greatly alarmed at hearing the report of a firearm, and rushing upstairs she discovered the Vicar, who was fully dressed, lying on the bed with a revolver in his hand. She immediately sent for Dr. Collins, who lives close to, but almost instantly Dr. R. B. Pearson, of London, brother of the Vicar, came in. He had been to Bank Quay Station to arrange for the removal of Mrs. Pearson's remains to Fleetwood for interment. Upon going upstairs he found his brother at the point of death, with a bullet wound in the right temple. The revolver was empty, for there had only been one bullet in it.


Upon the bed close by the deceased gentleman was found a message, in the following terms, written by himself on the back of a large ecclesiastical card:–"I cannot live without my darling. I have tried for 24 hours. I miss her loving ways too much. This is not the act of a coward, but of a broken heart to whom life is a blank. With her I could live; for her I could work all day and all night. Those who know us most will be least surprised at this, for one of us could not live without the other. Please lay me beside her, and find from her mother and others how intense was her love for me. She loved me more than all the things in the world. This was her expression, and those who know us know how we did love and will pray that God will forgive me one sin, for it is a sin, and allow me to meet her. Even if He does not I cannot live in the world without her. Mr. Graham or his mother or anyone who knows us will give corroboration of this."


The above statement was read at the inquest held on Monday night, when Dr. Reginald Pearson was the only witness called. He told the jury that as his brother felt depressed on Sunday night he gave him a tonic before going to bed. The deceased had a good night's rest and the next morning on rising at six o'clock seemed in good spirits and in his usual health.
Inspector Taylor, who has had charge of the case, produced the revolver.
The jury returned a verdict of suicide during temporary insanity, and expressed their deepest sympathy with the bereaved relatives, as also did the Deputy Coroner (Mr. F. A. Jones).


The deceased gentleman, who was 47 years of age, was the son of the late Rev. Jas. Pearson, M.A., F.R.A.S., at one time vicar of Fleetwood. He was educated at Rossall, and Merton College, Oxford, and was ordained in 1880. His first curacy was at the Church of the Ascensiom, Broughton, Manchester. Subsequently he was appointed to the curacy of St. Frideswide's, Oxford, and then he went to Holy Trinity, Southport. In 1884 he was appointed vicar of Fleetwood, and was afterwards for ten years Rector of St. Alban's, Manchester. Prior to coming to Warrington he was for four years Cicar of Sewerby, where, as in each of the other places named, he won the love and esteem of all his parishioners by his urbanity, tact, and goodness. Mr. Pearson called himself a distinctly High Churchman, but with liberal opinions. He was most genial, and had a happy knack of making himself agreeable to all. His burly figure–for he stood about six feet in height and was probably 18 stone in weight–and cheery disposition were quite familiar in the town, and he was frequently to be seen going about with his wife who was wheeled in a bath chair. Deceased was a prominent Freemason, and was for a long time a member of the Traveller's Lodge in Manchester. He was Past Provincial Chaplain for East Lancashire.
Mr. and Mrs. Pearson leave no children. The unhappy end is to be deeply deplored, and it will be some time before the parish recovers from the shock it has sustained.


At about nine o'clock on Tuesday evening the bodies were removed from the Vicarage to the church. Rain was falling heavily at the time, but there was a large attendance of the public, the road near the house being lined with spectators. The coffin containing the remains of the Vicar was first carried into church and placed in the chancel, and shortly afterwards Mrs. Pearson's coffin was placed near that of her husband. There were only a few privileged persons allowed to enter the sacred building.
This morning, at eight o'clock, a solemn communion service, the Rev. A. N. Taylor, a former curate of the parish, being the celebrant, was held in the church, which was filled with a devout and sympathetic congregation, prior to the removal of the bodies by train to Fleetwood, where, at the Parish Church, the funeral will take place this afternoon.

The above report was reproduced in the next edition of the Warrington Guardian, published on Saturday, July 25, 1903. However, this was followed by a report of the interment. The following transcription is for this latest addition. Unfortunately, some parts were too faint to read, so were supplemented by transcription from an almost identical report published in the Fleetwood Express the same day.


Fleetwood was in mourning on Wednesday. The deceased clergyman's father, the Rev. Jas. Pearson, was vicar of Fleetwood from 1871 to 1885, and he died in 1886, being buried in a brick vault in the Fleetwood Cemetery. Here also, in 1898, the remains of Mrs. James Pearson were buried, and it was in the same vault that the interment took place on Wednesday. The two coffins arrived at Fleetwood railway station at about 12.20 on Wednesday, and they were carried along the platform to the station entrance–where two hearses were in readiness–by a number of local gentlemen, who kindly acted as bearers. The chief mourners, who arrived by the same train, were Dr. Spencer Pearson, of London, the deceased clergyman's brother; The Rev. Birch Jones and Mrs. Jones of North Wales, brother-in-law and sister; Mr. Guy Hughes, Mr. G. J. Frost, the Rev. W. W. firth, vicar of Patricroft; the Rev. J. W. Orton, vicar of St. Stephen's Oldham (formerly a curate at Fleetwood); Dr. Collins of Warrington; Mr. Alderman Wade, mayor of Halifax; the Rev. J. C. Holden and Mrs. Holden of Cossall; the Rev. J. Blow and Mrs. Blow of Lincolnshire; Messrs Hy. Kershaw, J. J. Graham, and R. E. Branthwaite representing the Travellers Lodge of Freemasons, No. 1293 (of Manchester). Amongst the local mourners were Councillors W. Bennett and G. M. Humphrey; Messrs. J. H. Kean (Clerk to the Fleetwood School Board), J. F. Marginson, R. W. Bonny, J. Park, B. Furze, S. Fletcher, J. H. Nicholson, W. Ashton, Dickinson, Pratt, J. Clarkson, W. Gornall, L Hudson, P Williams, and J. Carter.
The funeral cortege went from the station to the Parish Church by way of Queens-terrace, Kent-street, and North Albert-street. On arrival at the church the first portion of the burial service was conducted by the Vicar (Rev. E. J. Reeve), assisted by the Rev. J. H. Goggin, rector of Rufford. The procession was afterwards reformed, and went by way of East-street, West-street, and Poulton-road to the Cemetery, where the concluding portion of the ceremony was conducted by the Rev. J. H. Goggin. The remains of Mr. Pearson were first placed in the vault, the burial service being repeated in connection with the interment of Mrs. Pearson, which took place immediately afterwards. A number of beautiful wreaths were sent from St. James' Church Choir, the organist, secretary and choristers of St. James' Church; the members of St. James' Mothers' Meeting; the clergy, wardens and officials of Holy Trinity Church, Southport; Mr. and Mrs. H. N. Houghton, Mr. and Mrs. Fred W. Head (Grantham), Mrs. and Miss Chester, R. W. Ashcroft, Alice Burgess, C. Sawkins Burgess, and J. Redhead. The coffins were made alike of polished oak with brass fittings, and on the lid of each was a raised cross of lighter coloured oak. The inscriptions were:–"Jesus Mercy. Fredk. Richard Pearson, Priest. Born May 20, 1856; died July 20, 1903." "Jesus Mercy. Lucy Pearson. Born 12th September, 1866; died July 19, 1903."
The funeral arrangements at Warrington were made by Messrs. Maggin Bros., of Warrington, whilst at Fleetwood the arrangements were superintended by Mr Forrest, of the excrs. of the late Mr. Harrison.

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