The Rev James Pelham Pitcairn, Rural
Dean, Honorary Canon of Manchester Cathedral, and late Vicar of
Eccles, Lancashire, was the fourth son of Sir James Pitcairn, of
that Ilk, and was born at South Mall, Cork.
He lost his mother when a child; but his
eldest sister filled her place, and was like a mother to him.
When he grew up he thought he would like to be a civil
engineer, and became a pupil of Mr Robert Stevenson of Newcastle,
son of the celebrated George Stevenson, the civil engineer.
Having worked at Newcastle and York for
some time, Mr Pitcairn decided to take Orders and became a
in October 1841, he matriculated at King’s College, London, and
remained there one year until he came of age. In February 1842 he matriculated at Jesus College,
Cambridge, and came into residence the 10th of October
of the same year. In
June 1846 he graduated in honours, 25th Senior Optime,
and was twice prizeman of his College.
On Sunday the 19th of July
1846 he was ordained Deacon at Durham by the Bishop of Chester,
and afterwards appointed Curate of Stand, Lancashire.
In the month of July 1847 he was ordained priest at Durham
by Dr Summer, who became Archbishop of Canterbury.
On resigning the curacy f Stand, he was presented with a
Bible and purse of 80 guineas by the congregation.
Mr Pitcairn then became Curate of Ardwick to the Rev J W
Gibson, February 1848; on the 30th of May 1850 was
appointed Rector of Longsight; and after being there eleven years,
was given the Crown living of Eccles by Lord Chancellor Westbury
in 1861. Canon
Pitcairn married Emily, only daughter of Henry Turner, Esq., and
Emily Adye his wife.
Canon Pitcairn kept a Diary with
unfailing regularity for forty years; and as the entries refer to
many churches being built and consecrated in the Diocese of
Manchester, to the work he did, and incidentally to his unassuming
piety, it shows, better than I could his character energy, and
what a busy hard working life he led.
In all the entries for forty years there
is not one unkind, harsh word, or criticism of others; only
content and thankfulness with his lot and unostentatious goodness
In 1854 Mr Pitcairn went to Ireland to
see his father and sisters.
He had on the whole a very pleasant lot,
which was made the more so by his contented disposition.
He loved his dear old church, his parish, and his schools,
and took great pride in having everything kept up in proper order.
His great recreation was his garden, his flowers being an
unfailing interest. He
collected many rare specimens, in which he took great delight.
On Monday morning Canon Pitcairn called
on a parishioner, and his eldest son, thinking he did not look fit
to go out alone went with him.
He had a slight stroke of paralysis, got gradually worse,
and passed peacefully away, after ten days’ illness, to the
inexpressible grief of his wife and children, on the 15th
of December 1892, aged 71 years.
Canon Pitcairn had nine children – four
sons and five daughters.
Three children predeceased their father.
Canon Pitcairn’s widow and children
placed a brass tablet to his revered memory on the wall of the old
church where he had preached for so many years.