Remembering a clergyman from South Kilworth who played a big role in the local community - and an even bigger role in the skies above

A Green Plaque has been unveiled at the former South Kilworth home of a brilliant astronomer and clergyman.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 7:57 pm
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 7:58 pm
The unveiling of the plaque to Rev Dr William Pearson.

The plaque was unveiled at the Old Rectory in the Harborough village to honour outstanding pioneer the Rev Dr William Pearson.

The highly-gifted stargazer and churchman looked up to the heavens for inspiration in more ways than one.

The Rev Dr Pearson became Rector of South Kilworth in 1817 and lived there from 1821 until his death in 1847 aged 80.

The unveiling of the plaque to Rev Dr William Pearson.

At the unveiling, Cllr Louise Richardson, Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet member for green plaques, said: “The Rev Dr Pearson played a big role in the development of astronomy in the 19th century.

“He also did a lot for the community of South Kilworth, where he built and endowed the village school.”

She added: “He is very deserving of a green plaque in his honour.”

During his time in South Kilworth, the Rev Dr Pearson carried out 30 years of trailblazing astronomical observations.

Rev Dr William Pearson.

He built a new wing entirely for his telescopes at the Rectory before going on to study the skies from a purpose-built observatory in the village.

The father-of-one wrote a major work, the two-volume 'An Introduction to Practical Astronomy', which won him an RAS gold medal.

His work was so definitive that it was still being used by astronomers as a textbook until the end of the 19th century.

The Rev Dr Pearson was nominated for the council’s award by Mike Frost, who is a fellow of the RAS, and Carolyn Bedwell, a member of Leicester Astronomical Society.

Mr Frost said: “A green plaque to the Rev Dr Pearson honours a very significant figure from the history of British observational astronomy and just in time for the RAS’s 200th birthday!"

The Leicestershire County Council Green Plaque was unveiled to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Royal Astronomical Society, which the Rev Dr Pearson co-founded.

More information on the green plaque scheme can be found by visiting: www.leicestershire.gov.uk/greenplaques