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Robert Lucas Pearsall, Esq. of Willsbridge, and of the Castle of Wartensee, St. Gale, Switzerland, son of Richard Pearsall, was born at Clifton Hill, Bristol, March 14, 1795; baptised at St. Andrew's Clifton, March 10, 1797; died at Wartensee Castle, Switzerland, August 5, 1856; buried in the chapel of the Castle of Wartensee, August 12, 1856. He married August 23, 1817, at St. Andrew's Holborn, London, Marie Henreitte Elizabeth Hobday, daughter of William Armfield Hobday, Esq., and his wife Elizabeth Dorothy Ivory of co. Worcester.


  1. -John Still Pearsall, born September 17, 1818, at Willsbridge ; died an infant; buried September 8, 1802.
  2. - Robert Lucas de Pearsall-born October 3, 1820; bapt. October 27, 1820 at Oldland Chapel, Bitton
  3. - Elizabeth Still Pearsall, born March 8, 1821, at Willsbridge; died February 6, 1912 at Stanhope Lodge, Cowes, Isle of Wight. She married at the British Consulate in Paris, January 15, 1838, Charles Wyndham Stanhope, 7th Earl of Harrington, eldest son of the Hon. Fitzroy Henry Beauchamp Stanhope.
    1. -Charles Augustus Stanhope, 8th Earl of Harrington, married Eva Carrington, sister of the Marquis of Lincolnshire. No family.
    2. -Dudley Stanhope, 9th Earl of Harrington, born 1859
    3. -Fitzroy Stanhope
    4. -Edwin Stanhope
    5. -Wyndham Stanhope
    6. -Caroline Margaret Stanhope
    7. -Philippa Leicester Stanhope
    8. -Frances Stanhope
    9. -Harriet Stanhope
  4. - Philippa Swinnerton Pearsall, born at Willsbridge, February 6, 1824; bapt. March 18, 1824 at Oldland Chapel; died February 7, 1917; married September 17, 1857, at the Bavarian Chapel, St. James, Westminster, John Hughes, Esq., Barrister-at-law of the Inner Temple, son (by Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Davies Esq., of Trefyman, co. Denbigh) of William Hughes of Gwerclas and Kymmer in Edeirnion, co. Merioneth, Lords of Kymmer and Barons of Edeirnion, descended from the last reigning prince of Powis. He died July 4, 1883. No children.

Robert Pearsall writes: She was a clever genalogist and my dear friend and instructor, and also an heraldic artist and painter. The private records of Philippa Swinnerton Pearsall Hughes show that in passing upon newly discovered records concerning the Pearsall family, she availed herself of the services of Joseph Morris of St. John's Hill, Shrewsbury, England, one of the most noted genealogists of his day.

April 19,1816. Admitted to Lincoln's Inn. Robert Lucas Pearsall, Esq. (aged 21) only son of Richard Pearsall, city of Bristol, Esq., decd. Robert Lucas Pearsall Barrister at Law of the Oxford Circuit. {Herald and Genealogist, vol. 6, page 680}

The Will of Robert Lucas Pearsall dated October 18, 1855, proved at St. Gale, Switzerland, and at Canterbury, England, August 19, 1856.

"Robert Lucas Pearsall, born at Clifton, March 14, 1795, of an old family orignially of Halesowen, Worcestershire. He was privately educated for the bar and was called in 1821, going to the western circuit for four years. At the age of thirteen he wrote a cantata, "Saul and the Witch of Endor", which as privately printed. In 1825, being abroad for the benefit of his health, he sttled at Mainz and studied music under Josef Panny, remaing there until 1829, when he returned for a year to England, staying at his property, Willsbridge in Gloucestershire. At the expiration of that time he removed once more to Germany, where he lived at Carlsruhe for a time, diligently composing. There he wrote a little ballet opera which was never performed; some choruses from it were published by Weekes & Co. His op.1, Miserer mei, Domine, was published by Schott of Mainz about 1830; the fact that it is a 'canon perpetuus a 3 vocibus in hypodiatessaron et hypodiapason' shows that even in these early days the ingenuities of the older music had a special attraction for him. The compositions between this and an overture to Macbeth, with the witches' chorus, the parts of which appeared as op.25 in 1839, donot seem to have been published (with the except- tion of op. 7 a Graduale a 5, 1835 and op. 8 an Ave verum a 4, 1835), and the system of numbering his compositions seems to have been given up after this. In 1836, while on a visit to England, he made a more intimate acquaintance with the music of the English madrigalian school, maily through the agency of the Bristol Madrigal Society. To this style he henceforth was chiefly attached for the remainder of his life, although he wrote several settings of psalms, (68th, 77th and 57th), a Requiem mass, a Pange lingua for three female voices (published 1857); the office of Tenebrae (in the llibrary of the Gesellschaft fur Musikforschung, Berlin) two settings of Salve Regina, and other compositions for the Roman Catholic church, which he joined at the end of his life. He also took a deep interest in Angelican Church music, and wrote of a number of works for its service. In 1837 he sold his property in England, and in 1842 bought the castle of Wartensee on the Lake of Constance. Here he appended the 'de' to his name. (Groves Dictionary of Music & Musicans, vol. 3)

His published part-songs and madrigals number about sixty, and include a remarkable number of works which will remain as long as unaccompanied singing is practised. He understood the madrigal form thoroughly, but did not confine himself to the strict rules practised in the Elizabethan period; his works are no mere curiosities of a bastard archaeology, but living creations of art, full of fire nobility of thought, high imagination, and splendid vocal sonority. Such things as Great God of Love, Lay a Garland, and Light of my Soul, are real masterpieces in a form that has seldom been successfully employed in modern times; his part-songs, The Hardy Norseman, and O who will o'er th downs so free, are know and delighted in by every choral society in the country; and the noble choral ballad Sir Patrick Spens, in ten parts, is a triumphantly successful adaptaion of the part-song form to the requirements of a narrative in which eager intensity and hurry have to be depicted. He edited a 6-part Magnificat by Lassoo about 1833, and was part-editor of the old hymn-book of St. Gall, published in 1863.

The Willsbridge genalogy of Pearsall may be found in the Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland by Sir Bernard Burke, and also in "Wells Cathedral, its monumental inscriptions and heraldry". It is an important link in the chain of proof establishing the genealogy of this branch of the family, that Robert Lucas de Pearsall not only entered in the College of Heraldry the complete pedigree of his ancestry, but that the same was carefully examined, passed upon and approved by the sovereign order of St. John of Jerusalem, to which he was admitted July 22, 1837. ------- He also is of noble ancestry; His Grandmother, wife of John Pearsall, Esq. of Willesbridge, was Philippa Still, daughter of John Still, Esq., of Bury, co., Gloucester, Lord of the Manor Doynton in the same county. Philippa's ancestry goes back to Edward I.