John Pearson, 3rd Viscount Cowdray

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The Viscount Cowdray
Born (1910-02-27)27 February 1910
Died (1995-01-19)19 January 1995
Spouse(s) Lady Anne Bridgeman
Elizabeth Mather-Jackson
Parents Harold Pearson, 2nd Viscount Cowdray
Agnes Beryl Spencer-Churchill

Lt Col (Weetman) John Churchill Pearson, 3rd Viscount Cowdray TD DL (1910–1995) was a British peer, businessman and polo player.

Early life[edit]

Weetman John Churchill Pearson was born on 27 February 1910.[1][2]

His father was Harold Pearson, 2nd Viscount Cowdray (1882–1933).[1] His paternal grandfather was Weetman Pearson, 1st Viscount Cowdray (1856–1927).[1]

His mother was Agnes Beryl Spencer-Churchill (1881–1948),[1] his maternal great-grandfather was George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough (1793–1857).[1]

He attended Eton College and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford,[1] he resided in Cowdray Park in Midhurst, West Sussex.


Military career[edit]

He fought in the Second World War, and his left arm was amputated as a result,[1] he received the Territorial Decoration (TD) for his service.[1] He attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel from 1940 to 1941 in the British Home Guard,[1] he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Under-Secretary of State for Air, Harold Balfour, 1st Baron Balfour of Inchrye, from 1941 to 1942.[1][2]

Deputy Lord Lieutenant[edit]

He served as Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of Sussex in 1945, during the tenure of Charles Wyndham, 3rd Baron Leconfield (1872–1952) as the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, which spanned 1917 to 1949.[1]

Business career[edit]

He served as Chairman of S. Pearson & Son Ltd from 1954 to 1977, and as President of Pearson PLC from 1983 to 1995.[2]


When he went up to Oxford he played for four years with the Oxford polo team; in 1932 he captained the Oxford team which won the Tyro Cup, then still a Hurlingham tournament (now at Cowdray).[3]

He was the main driving force for the revival of polo in England after the Second World War,[4] he played polo despite having lost his arm at Dunkirk. He had an artificial limb fitted so he could continue to play.[5]

In 1948 the In 1949, he played with the English team in the Argentinian Open;[4] in 1951 he revived the Coronation Cup and in 1956 he launched his own major trophy, the Cowdray Park Gold Cup, which remains to this day the main trophy for British Open Polo.[5]

He served as Steward and Chairman of the Hurlingham Polo Association from 1947 to 1967.[4]

Marriages & Children[edit]

Cowdray married Lady Anne Bridgeman (born 12 June 1913, died 21 May 2009),[6] a daughter of Orlando Bridgeman, 5th Earl of Bradford, on 19 July 1939. [7] They had three children:

Viscount and Viscountess Cowdray divorced in 1950 and on 4 March 1953 Cowdray married Elizabeth Mather-Jackson, daughter of Sir Anthony Mather-Jackson, 6th Baronet.[1] They also had three children:

  • Hon Lucy Pearson (born 11 April 1954)
  • Hon Charles Anthony Pearson (born 5 March 1956)
  • Hon Rosanna Pearson (born 1 July 1959)

Cowdray died on 19 January 1995, at the age of eighty-four.[1] Viscountess Cowdray died on 23 September 2011.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Peerage
  2. ^ a b c George Nugent, OBITUARIES: Viscount Cowdray, The Independent, 21 January 1995
  3. ^ Russell-Stoneham, Derek; Roger Chatterton-Newman (1992). Polo at Cowdray. Home of English Polo since 1910. Polo Information Bureau. p. 27. 
  4. ^ a b c Horace A. Laffaye, Polo in Britain: A History, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2012, p. 55
  5. ^ a b Higgins, Liz (June 2010). "Legends of the Ball". Hurlingham Polo: 64. 
  6. ^ The Peerage, entry for Lady Pamela Bridgeman
  7. ^ "Viscount and Viscountess Cowdray with their bridesmaids and page boy". National Portrait Gallery. 
  8. ^ "Lionel Geoffrey Stopford Sackville 1932-2013". 
  9. ^ "Liza Jane Pearson". 
  10. ^ The Peerage, entry for 3rd Viscount Cowdray
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harold Pearson, 2nd Viscount Cowdray
Viscount Cowdray
Succeeded by
Michael Pearson, 4th Viscount Cowdray