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Brentford Families - Pearce & Mitchell

The master spreadsheet used as the backbone for this site has 40 references to the name Pearce. Two descendants of one branch of the family are Joanne Tansley & Trevor Mitchell: both descended from Richard Pearce born around 1792. But are the other High Street Pearces related? Taking the information from Joanne & Trevor and adding details from censuses and other sources it is possible to build up Pearce family units which shared the same location and / or occupation.

In June 2011 Peter Swain, a Pearce descendant from the main line starting with Richard Pearce born c 1792, provided some further details from his research into the family.

In January 2015 Keith Brown, another descendant, provided the following details: Elizabeth Pearce's people were Quakers. There are graves in the meeting house of Quakers at Isleworth one surname is EARL the others are WRAN and DOWSON. They were market gardeners at Isleworth.

In October 2016 the family of Walter Pearce, printer, was researched: he published postcards from the early 1900s as 'Walter Pearce & Co., St George's Press, The Butts, Brentford' and also printed books, for example Fred Turner's History and Antiquities of Brentford published in 1922. The front plate of this volume notes
Printed by the successors of the Norbury Press Walter Pearce & Co St Georges Press The Butts. It seems he is not related to the local Pearce families so has been given a separate page.

For a pictorial view of the Pearce family tree see ""> -Trevor's web site. [As at October 2016 this link does not work]

Below are some suggestions as to ways in which the units may be linked. To prove the links will require the purchase of certificates and, not surprisingly as it is a common surname, some of the Pearces appear to be unrelated.


Two Richard Pearces associated with the Royal Tar, no. 3

Richard Pearce (c 1792 - 1874): born Norwood; married Elizabeth CLIFFORD at Hanwell on 10 Nov 1817; Elizabeth Clifford was born c 1794 Chiswick, and she died between 1861/71 - there is a death in 1866 of an Elizabeth Pearce in Brentford, aged 70; Richard Pearce was a waterman at no. 3 High Street in 1841 (it is not clear whether no. 3 was a beer house at this stage); waterman and beer seller at no. 3 in 1851; beer shop keeper at no, 3 in 1861; still at the Royal Tar in 1871 'retired waterman'; a Richard Pearce death was registered in Brentford, April/June 1874 aged 80; children (thanks to Peter Swain for their names, birth and baptism dates/locations from

  • Richard Pearce (1818 - 1895): born 2 Mar 1818 and baptised 22 Mar at St Mary Ealing; indentured to his father, also Richard, as an apprentice Waterman & Lighterman on 10 July 1834, when he would have been 16 years old; married Elizabeth EARLE (c 1820 Brentford) in Norwood in 1839: the marriage certificate provided by Joanne Tansley names Richard's father as Richard Pearce, waterman and it is assumed he is the son of the above RP; Richard Pearce junior was a waterman at Burgess Wharf, Brentford in 1841; lighterman just off the High Street in 1851; lighterman at 13 Caroline Place Old Brentford in 1861; Trevor Mitchell writes 'Did you realise that Richard Pearce pulled off a remarkable double. In the 1871 census he is off Tower Bridge onboard the 'Mary', and at the same time at home in Caroline Place with Elizabeth!'; in 1881 he was possibly the Master on the 'Mary Ann' at North Aylesford in Kent (his birth place was simply recorded as ' London Middlesex'; he was living with his daughter & son in law (BROOKS) at 4 Lateward Road in 1891; children (all born in Brentford) include:
    • George Clifford Pearce (c 1839 - 1895): at home in 1851; married Ann Maria LITTLEBOY (c 1841 Brentford) in Brentford, 1862; beerhouse keeper at no. 307 High Street in 1871, lighterman at 307 in 1881, beerhouse keeper at 307 in 1891; he died 1 December 1895 and probate was granted to Annie Maria Pearce, widow, effects £1333 19s 6d; his wife was running the Alexandra Inn at this address in 1901; children (all born in Brentford) included:
      • George Pearce (c 1863) married Elizabeth TREADWAY at St Paul Old Brentford in 1884 at the age of 21; he was a lighterman of 307 High Street and his father was George Clifford Pearce, also a lighterman; later in life he was elected as a BUDC councillor - see Janet McNamara's biography
      • Elizabeth Pearce (c 1865) married Henry HOGG, a lighterman of 18 Grosevenor Road, Brentford, at St Paul, Old Brentford; Elizabeth was 20, her address 307 High Street, father George Clifford Pearce, lighterman; George Pearce and Annie Pearce witnessed the marriage
      • John Pearce (c 1866): lighterman, married Jane MARTIN at St Paul Old Brentford on Christmas Day in 1887 his address 307 High Street, his father's home; in Netley Road in 1891 & 1901; two children survived to 1901, John & Jane
      • Richard Pearce (c 1868): master waterman and lighterman on the 'Alexandra' (NB the same name as his parents' beerhouse) in Kent in 1891
      • Annie Pearce (1870)
      • William Pearce (c 1872): married Charlotte GREGG at St James, St Pancras in 1890, giving his age as 20; he was a waterman, son of George Clifford Pearce, waterman and he and his bride were living at 26 George Street St Pancras; he returned to Brentford and was a waterman and lighterman, Half Acre in 1901, with wife Charlotte and two children aged 9 and 3
      • Alfred Pearce (c 1873): a mate on the 'Alexandra' in Kent, with his brother Richard, in 1891; he married Mary Ann LEE at St James Fulham in 1893 at the age of 19, occupation waterman, address 307 High Street and father George Clifford Pearce; the 1901 census shows Alfred Pearce, 'waterman on river', aged 27, living at 10 Albany Road, Brentford with his wife Mary Ann & children; this could be the Alfred Pearce who was 'a lighterman who worked as a foreman in the Brentford Dock and was a known entertainer' (Q60); see (Q61) for a photo of Alfred Pearce the entertainer; his son Alfred George Clifford Pearce (1896 - 1917) is commemorated on the WW1 Memorial which stood outside St Lawrence church
      • Ada Pearce (c 1878) at 19 married William Arthur BEACH at St Paul Old Brentford in 1897; her address 307 High Street, her father George Clifford Pearce lighterman deceased; William Arthur BEACH was a factory manager and his address of Strawberry Villa, Old Brentford confirms he is part of the Beach family famous for its jam; his father was Thomas William Beach
      • Henry Pearce (1880) at 21 married Margaret Ann TAYLOR at St Paul, Old Brentford in 1901; Henry was a lighterman of 307 High Street, son of George Clifford Pearce lighterman deceased, his wife was of 46 Grosvenor Road; Henry HOGG, James Henry BROOKS and Florence HOGG were witnesses
      • Thomas Pearce (c 1882): waterman in 1901, living with his widowed mother at no. 307; married Ada Maria HAWKINS of 41 Grosvenor Road, in 1910 at St Paul, Old Brentford; Thomas was 27, a lighterman of 39 Grosvenor Road, son of George Clifford Pearce lighterman, deceased and Albert Henry Pearce and Alice SULLIVAN were witnesses
      • Albert Pearce (c 1885) married Elizabeth Ann KERSLAKE in 1908 at St Paul, Old Brentford; Albert was a lighterman of 307 High Street, son of George Clifford Pearce, lighterman deceased; his wife was of 43 High Street, daughter of William James Kerslak, farrier, who witnessed the marriage with George Pearce
    • Richard Pearce (1841): at home in 1851; a Richard Pearce, 26, lighterman (son of Richard Pearce lighterman) married Ellen BARRETT at St George, Old Brentford in 1867, bride and groom both of Old Brentford; the witnesses were Elizabeth Pearce and William BROOKS
    • John Thomas Pearce (1844-1846) (added by Peter Swain)
    • Charles Pearce (1846 - ): baptised at St George, 5 April 1846 (born March 12), son of Richard (waterman) and Elizabeth of Old Brentford; married Priscilla SELLERS (c 1848/9, Brentford) at St Mary's, Spring Grove, 16 Feb 1868 (he a waterman, she a servant, both of Spring Grove); lived at Paradise Row in 1871 (waterman), 2 High Street near the Royal Tar, home of other Pearces, in 1881, 62 Distillery Road in 1891 and 37 Lateward Road in 1901 (lighterman); there are five deaths of Charles Pearces born 1845/7 in Brentford in the 1890s / early 1900s; children included:
      • Priscilla Pearce (1869- ): married Thomas John GREENROD at Kensington in 1889; the Greenrods were potters in Brentford
      • Samuel Pearce (c 1874/5): a Richard Samuel Pearce birth was registered in Brentford in July/Sep 1874; potter in 1891
      • Charles Clifford Pearce (1876 - 1877) birth and death registrations may be of another child of Charles senior
      • William George Pearce: baptised at St Paul Brentford in 1877, son of Charles & Priscilla Pearce; Charles was a waterman of Paradise Place, Old Brentford; William was a potter in 1891 and 1901
      • John Clifford Pearce (1880): recorded as 'Clifford' in 1891 & 1901; labourer in barge yard in 1901; married in Brentford in 1904
      • Robert Pearce (c 1883/4): recorded as 'Albert' in 1891; labourer in barge yard in 1901
      • Elizabeth Pearce (c 1886/7): at home in 1901
    • Elizabeth Pearce (c 1847 - ): married William BROOKS, a lighterman; lived at 21 Catherine Street, Bromley in 1871, returned to Brentford by 1881; William Brooks was running the Royal Tar in 1881 (In 2015 Keith Brown added details of their family to the Brooks family page; see also his notes above about the Pearce family
    • Sarah Pearce (1850-): born on 17th December 1850 and baptised at St. George’s Church, Old Brentford, on 17 January 1851; appears as 'Lucy' age 3 months in the 1851 census (name error by census enumerator?); married Samuel Jonathan WRIGHT in 1872 in All Saints, the Parish Church of Poplar (Peter Swain, who provided details about his great grandmother Sarah in June 2011 adds that the Poplar marriage location may be because her Father was a Waterman and Poplar was frequented by Dockers and Watermen, being near the East India Docks)
    • Priscilla Pearce (1854): married John MITCHELL in 1870, Poplar registration district; John was born in Marlow, Bucks c 1845; the couple settled in Bromley and were living there with Priscilla's elder sister, Elizabeth BROOKS, in 1871; both husbands were lightermen; by 1881 the Mitchells had returned to Brentford and were living at 2 Eaton Place; in 1891 at Retort Alley; John Mitchell was a lighterman in 1881 & 1891; children included:
      • Ellen Mitchell (c 1873): born in Bromley
      • George William Mitchell (c 1875): born in Bromley, married Sarah Jane Snelling; six children; died in an accident at the Brentford Gas Works in 1912
      • John Clifford Mitchell (1877): born in Bromley; Trevor Mitchell notes that John named his son John Clifford Mitchell, so the name Clifford, from JCM senior's maternal grandmother Elizabeth Clifford, was handed down the family; JCM senior married Elizabeth Snelling (so two Mitchell brothers married two Snelling sisters: see details of the Snelling family
      • Bertie Mitchell (1888): born in Brentford
    • Jane Pearce (c 1859): was living at the Royal Tar in 1881
  • Elizabeth Pearce (1819-): born 13 Dec 1819 and baptised 21 Jan 1820 at St Mary Ealing; married William BATTY at St Leonard, Shoreditch, London on 2 Jul 1838. Elizabeth’s father Richard was described as a victualler. Elizabeth and William had at least 7 children, obviously none of them were born in Brentford (thanks to Madeleine Cook for this information, November 2016)
  • Caroline Pearce (1822-): born 9 Apr and baptised 28 Apr 1822 at St Mary Ealing
  • George Pearce (1824-): born 2 Mar and baptised 28 Mar 1824 at St Mary Ealing
  • Ann Pearce (1826-): born 20 Jan and baptised 12 Feb 1826 at St Mary Ealing
  • Eliza Pearce (1828-): born 11 Apr and baptised 4 May 1828 at St Mary Ealing; not at home in 1841: Peter Swain adds 'there is an Eliza Pearce of approximately the right age as a resident pupil in Annandale House, Chiswick, in the 1841 Census'
  • Sophia Pearce (c 1831-): born ? (page damaged, date lost) 1831 and baptised 18 Dec 1831 at St George Old Brentford; not found in the 1851 census
  • Mary Ann Pearce (1834 - 1866): born 13 Jul and baptised 10 Aug 1834 at St George Old Brentford; married Edward MARRINER, a waterman, in Kensington in 1851; children include Elizabeth & Mary Ann Marriner, who appear in the 1871 censuses as nieces of Isaac & Priscilla BEESE (nee Pearce)
  • Martha Pearce (1836): born 20 Mar, baptised 28 Apr 1836 at St George Old Brentford
  • James Pearce (1838): born 7 Sep, baptised 30 Sep 1838 at St George Old Brentford; at home in 1851 and 1861 - a waterman
  • Priscilla Pearce (1840): born 13 Aug, baptised 6 Sep 1840 at St George Old Brentford; married Isaac BEESE in the Kensington registration district in 1864; by 1871 they had moved into the Royal Tar and Isaac was a 'beer seller' and a small note 'boiler...'; two nieces of Isaac were living at the Royal Tar in 1871: Elizabeth & Mary Ann Marriner, aged 14 & 11; children of Isaac & Priscilla included:
    • Priscilla Beese (c 1869)


Other Pearces who ran pubs/beer houses

Sarah Pearce (c 1790) was the publican at the Red Lion at no. 197 in 1839, 1841 and 1845: gone by 1851. She was 50 in 1841 (ie aged 50 to 54 as ages were rounded down). Isaac Pearce was the publican of the Red Lion in 1826 and he left a PCC will in 1835, presumably Sarah was his widow. Sarah was not born in Middlesex.

Robert Pearce (c 1803/4): born Brentford, married Mary (possibly Mary Ann Clark from the naming of first son; a marriage took place of RP to MAC at St George Hanover Square, 9 Aug 1832; no indication that the couple were from Brentford however); licenced victualler & waterman who ran the Half Moon and Seven Stars at no. 25 until 1861; a Robert Pearce death was registered in Brentford in 1862; children included:

  • William Clark Pearce (c 1833/4): pupil teacher in 1851
  • Robert Pearce (c 1836/7)
  • Sarah Pearce (c 1838/9): at home in 1861
  • Mary Ann Amelia Pearce (c 1843/4): at home in 1861
  • Edwin John Pearce (c 1846/7)


Pearce who was a steam tug engine driver

The 1901 census entry for Albany Road shows a Joseph Pearce (c 1855/6, Boxmoor, Herts), a steam tug engine driver at no. 6, two doors away from Alfred Pearce, a waterman at no. 10. Joseph appears to be unrelated to Alfred. The 1901 census shows he had four children born in Brentford: Charles, Florence, Ada and Richard. His wife was Lucy (possibly Lucy Selina WOOD: there is a marriage reference shared by JP and LSW in Brentford in 1884).

Pearces who were fruiterers

James Pearce (c 1802, Chiswick - 1862?): married Caroline (bn c 1802, Wandsworth - 1872?); possible marriage at Ealing in 1820 - Caroline Taunton; orange seller at no. 200 in 1851; he had retired to Hawthorn Villa, Ealing by 1861 and died before the next census (there is a death registration of a James Pearce in Brentford in Jan/March 1862); Caroline was recorded in 1871 as a widow at Havelock Villa Ealing (next door to Hawthorn Villa) and may have died in 1872 (death registration of a CP aged 71 in Brentford Reg Dist April/June); children included:
  • Caroline Pearce (c 1817/20)
  • Robert (? not clear in 1841) Pearce (c 1825/6)
  • Sarah Pearce (c 1827 Chiswick): at home in 1851
  • Emma Pearce (c 1829/30)
  • James Edward Pearce (ca 1830/1): not at home in 1841; born Brentford, father's assistant in 1851; running the fruiterer's business in 1871; married Sarah Russell BERRIE in Brentford, 1859; reference on the A2A web site of the conveyance of a messuage and 2 cottages (built by Wm. Carter) at "Three Households" Chalfont St. Giles. and 10p of land in 1863 to James Edward Pearce of New Brentford, Middx., orange merchant; had moved away by 1881; children born in New Brentford included:
    • Mary Mount Pearce (c 1860/1): married in St Giles, London, 1882
    • James Pearce (c 1862/3)
    • Florence Berrie Pearce (c 1863/4): married in Fulham in 1887
  • William Pearce (c 1837/8): born Brentford; brother to head in 1861
  • Louisa Pearce (c 1839/40): born Brentford, at home aged 21 in 1861
  • Amelia Pearce (1840/1): 6 months old in the 1841 census; aged '8' in 1851 so possibly not the Amelia whose birth was registered in 1841; a 'Mary Ann Amelia Pearce' birth was registered in Brentford in Jan/March 1844
  • Selina Pearce (c 1844/5): best match birth registration in Brentford was in Jan/March 1840; at home, aged 17, in 1861; at home aged 24 in 1871

Pearces born Chiswick

As well as the James Pearce above, a Richard Pearce born Chiswick also settled in Brentford.

Richard Pearce (ca 1838/9 - 1901+): possibly a waterman aged 27 in Chiswick in 1861 (his wife is 'Ann' whereas it is 'Mary' in later censuses - however a child Richard age 2 and the occupation fit); waterman aged 34, New North Road, 1871; waterman aged 49 in 1881 at 44 Distillery Road; lighterman (1891 aged 52) and pensioner (1901 aged 65) at 43 Pottery Road Brentford, wife Mary Ann (or 'Maria' - 1871) (1841/2 - 1901+) born Brentford; children included:

  • Richard Pearce (c 1860 - 1901+): waterman, at home in 1871 & 1901; may have been taken to court in 1883
  • John Pearce (c 1862 - 1881+): waterman in 1881; at home in 1871 & 1881
  • Edward Pearce (c 1867 - 1891+): labourer 1891; at home in 1871 & 1891 but not in 1881
  • Emily Pearce (c 1874 - 1891+): at home in 1881 & 1891
  • Albert Pearce (c 1878 - 1901+): general labourer 1901; at home 1881, 1891, 1901
  • Lillie (Lily 1881)Pearce (1880 - 1891+): at home in 1891
  • Samuel Pearce (c 1882 - 1901+): as Albert in 1901

Thomas Pearce, watchmaker from Cornwall

Thomas Pearce was born in Launceston, Cornwall around 1840 and settled in Brentford at no. 231 by the early 1870s. He worked with Thomas Honeybone, the watchmaker & jeweller who had lived at no. 231 since the late 1830s, and when Thomas Honeybone retired he took over the business.

Thomas Pearce was married Mary Ann and had at least two sons born in Brentford:

  • Edward Nathaniel Pearce (c 1872 - ): at home in 1881; he married Emma and in 1901 was a civil engineer living at 34 Boston Park Road, Brentford
  • Hugh George Pearce (1878 - ); at home in 1881 and 1891; in 1901 he was an engineer, boarding in Dawley Shropshire


Pearces who were confectioners

John Pearce born about 1814/5 in Ealing (as Old Brentford was part of Ealing parish he may have been born in Old Brentford) married Ann (from Gloucestershire) and was a confectioner at no. 237 in 1839, 1841 and 1851. He had moved away to Marylebone by 1861. Catherine Pearce, sister of John, born about 1813/4 was living with the family in 1851. The name varied between Pearse and Pearce. No children recorded in the censuses.


Thomas Pearce, gas / baskets

Thomas Layton Pearce (c 1805/6 born Brentford: gas porter in 1851, Eatons Buildings, Brentford; wife Eliza; in 1861 he was living in Running Horse Yard, widowed with three children at home, a labourer at the gas works; this census shows his middle name as Layton; children (all born Brentford) included:
  • Richard Pearce (c 1834)
  • Henry Pearce (c 1836): basket maker in 1851
  • Eliza Pearce (c 1838): basket maker in 1851; marriage of an Eliza Pearce age 29 (daughter of Thomas Pearce, labourer) to Robert GOODWIN, labourer, both of Old Brentford at St George's in 1866 may be relevant
  • William Pearce (c 1840): basket maker in 1851
  • Mary Pearce (c 1844): basket maker in 1851 (at the age of 7); at home in 1861
  • Charles Pearce (c 1846): at home in 1861
  • James Pearce (c 1848)
  • George Pearce (c 1850): at home in 1861

Richard Pearce, on trial at the Old Bailey 1883

Trevor Mitchell sent details of the trial of yet another Richard Pearce from Brentford, who was charged with 'Feloniously throwing (his wife) Kate Pearce into a canal, with intent to murder her'.

The trial took place in 1883, when Richard Pearce was 23. To see the trial transcipt access the Old Bailey Online web site (a link is included in Web Links) and search using surname 'Pearce', Given Name 'Richard' and '1883' in the 'Time Period' From and To.

The full trial text shows the couple had three children and that Kate Pearce had been adopted by Robert BEE as a child. The 1871 census shows a Kate WRIGHT living with Robert Bee and his family: Robert Bee was a newsagent who lived at Garden Cottages, near Albany Place in 1871. Kate was described as Robert's wife's sister and she was 8 at the time.

Robert Bee's wife was recorded as Elizabeth in 1871, she was 30. A Robert BEE and Elizabeth Susan DUDLEY share the same marriage reference in the West London Registration District in 1868 and this seems likely to be the record of their marriage.

Robert's wife Elizabeth and Kate were both of St Luke, London according to the 1871 census. Having a different surname leaves the relationship between Elizabeth Dudley and Kate Wright unclear - a loose end.

Returning to the alleged offender, a search for the marriage between Richard Pearce and Kate using FreeBMD showed several local marriages in the period 1878 - 1883 of Richard Pearces. The one that looks most likely to be that of the couple took place in the April/June quarter of 1881 in Brentford Registration District: Richard William Pearce and Kate Elizabeth Wright share the same marriage reference.


The 1881 census took place on the 3rd April 1881 so would Kate and Richard have already married by the census? Unlikely but not impossible, A married Kate Pearce, aged 21 and born in London, was visiting Blane (or Blanche?) Harley in Mount Pleasant, Brentford at the time of the census, with her twin daughters aged 10 months, Blane (or Blanche?) and Sarah Pearce. This could be a very recently married Kate, or Kate assuming her married name in anticipation perhaps.

I have not found the birth registrations of her twin daughters in Brentford - another loose end.

If Kate was not married by April 3rd, then the best match in Brentford for a Kate Wright in the 1881 census is a 15 year old servant who lived with the Smith family on Hamilton Road.

As to Richard Pearce: a 19 year old Richard Pearce born simply 'Middlesex' - as was the rest of the household - was a servant at the Marquis of Granby in 1881. However the alleged wife thrower could have been working on the canal or river by 1881 and may have been recorded inaccurately or missed. Searches for the tug 'Eleanor' (where he was working at the time of the alleged offence) did not find him (and did you stay overnight on a tug? I'm not sure).

What happened after the trial? Richard Pearce was found 'not guilty' but the marriage may have broken down. I have not been able to trace either Richard or Kate Pearce in the 1891 census.

Robert Bee, Kate's adoptive father, had two adopted daughters aged 9 living with him in 1891: Pauline and Nellie Bee, born Brentford. Were these daughters of Kate & Richard that he had taken in? I have not been able to trace the birth registrations of the two girls in Brentford - another loose end.

In 1901 a Richard Pearce, waterman, aged 41 and married (but no sign of a wife) was living with his parents in Pottery Road, Brentford. This appears a good candidate for the Richard Pearce taken to court: if so he was the son of Richard Pearce above.


Published May 2009; last updated August 2015