Mark Guy Pearse (1842–1930) was a Cornish Methodist preacher, lecturer and author who, during the last quarter of the 19th century and the first of the 20th, was a household name throughout Britain and beyond. Born at Camborne, he entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1863 and for over twenty years served as a minister in Leeds, Brixton Hill, Ipswich, Bedford, Highbury, Westminster, Launceston, and Bristol. A Christian Socialist and Temperance campaigner, his ecumenical sympathies gained him the friendship of the Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon and the American evangelist Dwight Moody.
From 1870 until his death he published more than forty books, often stories of Cornish life, as well as numerous booklets, tracts and articles, most of which had a worldwide circulation. The best-selling Daniel Quorm and his Religious Notions was read by all levels of society and was much admired by Queen Victoria. In 1886 he accepted the invitation of Hugh Price Hughes to join him in the West London Mission, which was established to minister to London’s most needy. Pearse made extensive tours abroad to publicise the aims and achievements of the Mission and to raise money. These tours brought him into contact with Cornish communities in North America, Australasia and South Africa.
After retiring from the Mission in 1903, he continued to preach, lecture and write, spending more and more time in Cornwall. Four months before his death in 1930 he was made a bard of Gorseth Kernow (the Cornish Gorsedd) at Carn Brea, taking the name Pyscajor a Dus (Fisher of Men).
‘The author tells the story well, not only recounting the life of one who came to have a great public profile, but setting it against the background of the cultural changes of the period… it is an excellent, informative and challenging book.’
Derek R. Williams was born in Cornwall. He is the author of Prying into Every Hole and Corner: Edward Lhuyd in Cornwall in 1700 (1993), A Strange and Unquenchable Race: Cornwall and the Cornish in Quotations (2007), and many articles on Cornish subjects. He is the editor of Henry and Katharine Jenner: A Celebration of Cornwall’s Culture, Language and Identity (2004) and co-editor of Setting Cornwall on its Feet: Robert Morton Nance 1873–1959 (2007).