Alfred Pierson’s life goes to prove that money doesn’t necessarily bring happiness, and that marriage can be very much a lottery.
Alfred was the youngest child of the second vicar at Holy Ascension, William Pierson and his wife Margaret Birkbeck. Margaret died when Alfred was just eight. One of Alfred’s sisters died in infancy, another married a vicar. He had two brothers; John Ernest Pierson served in the military and William Birkbeck Pierson became a vicar. These were respectable careers and both brothers received glowing obituaries.
Alfred had a good education at Giggleswick School and went to Cambridge, but the school register says that an accident to one of his eyes prevented him from finishing his degree. This cruel twist of fate must have been frustrating and may have shaped the rest of Alfred’s life.
Alfred lived in London, describing himself as a ‘gentleman of no occupation’. In 1885, Alfred married Beatrice Lonsdale Bing. She was a singer with the stage name of Minnie Palmerstone, who specialised in acting, burlesque dancing, singing and comedy. She performed all over the country to rave reviews.
Five years later, after finding letters in Beatrice’s dressing room addressed in several names, Alfred discovered she had already been married at least twice before. Their marriage was annulled.
Beatrice, or Minnie, provided completely different details on the three wedding certificates so we have no idea who she really was, but she carried on performing until her death from typhoid in 1904.
In 1891, Alfred married Lucia Kathleen D’Esterre, the daughter of an Irish landowner who had an awful reputation both as a landlord and husband. Alfred and Lucia had two children, and when Alfred died in 1896 Lucia took the children back to Ireland.