Pears, Steuart Adolphus (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 44
Pears, Steuart Adolphus

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PEARS, STEUART ADOLPHUS (1815–1875), schoolmaster and author, born at Pirbright, Surrey, on 20 Nov. 1815, was seventh son of the Rev. James Pears, headmaster of Bath grammar school, and brother of Sir Thomas Townsend Pears [q. v.] Pears was educated at Bath under his father, and was elected scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1832. He graduated B.A. in June 1836, with a second class in literæ humaniores; was elected fellow of Corpus, and remained in residence till 1838. He then became tutor to Lord Goderich (the first Marquis of Ripon), of whom he took charge until 1842. In 1839 he gained the Ellerton theological prize for an essay on the ‘Conduct and Character of St. Paul,’ and in 1841 the Denyer theological prize for an essay on the ‘Divinity of our Lord.’ In 1843 he was sent abroad by the Parker Society to search the libraries of Zurich and other places for correspondence relating to the English Reformation. In the course of his researches he discovered a number of original letters in Latin from Sir Philip Sidney to his friend Hubert Languet, which he translated and published on his return (London, 1845). During 1844 and 1845 he was in residence at Oxford as dean of Corpus Christi College. In 1846 he was appointed fellow and tutor of Durham University; and in 1847, at the age of thirty-two, assistant-master at Harrow under Dr. Vaughan. In the same year he married the elder daughter of Temple Chevallier [q. v.], professor of mathematics and Hebrew in Durham University. He remained at Harrow until 1854, when he was elected head-master of Repton School. At the time there were about fifty boys in the school, many of them village boys; the schoolhouse contained only two or three classrooms, and there were two boarding-houses.

In 1857 the tercentenary of the school was celebrated, and it was resolved to build a school-chapel, which a large increase in the number of boys had rendered necessary. A boarding-house was built by Pears about the same time. He built another in the next few years with class-rooms, fives-courts, and library; and several other houses were erected during his mastership. In 1869 he was examined before the endowed schools commission; and a scheme was settled for the government of the school, which was included in the list of first-grade public schools. In 1874 Pears resigned the headmastership, after nearly twenty years' service, during which he had raised the school from a local grammar school of fifty boys to a first-grade public school of nearly three hundred.

He was, shortly afterwards, presented by the president and fellows of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, to the living of Childrey, Berkshire, where he died on 15 Dec. 1875, aged 60. A fine speech-room, named after him, was subsequently erected at Repton in his memory.

Besides Sidney's correspondence, he published ‘Sermons,’ 1851; ‘Three Lectures on Education,’ 1859; ‘Short Sermons on the Elements of Christian Truth,’ 1861; and he edited ‘Over the Sea, or Letters from an Officer in India to his Children at Home,’ 1857.

[Ann. Reg. 1875, p. 156; private information.]