Sad news from the farm – Arthur Pearse

Arthur Pearse

17/03/1927 – 30/12/2019

We’re sorry to have to tell you that Arthur Pearse died after a short illness on the 30th of December.

Arthur, who many of you will know, started Tamarisk Farm with Josephine in the early 1960s, and ran the market garden well into his eighties until handing it over to Rosie.

Arthur and Josephine at our Annual Christmas Carols, on 24th December 2019

Arthur’s Obituary

as published in the Bridport News.

Arthur Pearse was born in Crewkerne in 1927 and lived his childhood in south Somerset. As a child he holidayed in Burton Bradstock and after his parents retirement, moved with them to Litton Cheney. He joined the RAF in 1945, just as the war was ending

He taught at Westminster Choir School before studying Geography and Anthropology at Oxford University. It was here that he met his wife Josephine and they married in 1953.

With their growing family they spent three years in Northern Nigeria, Arthur teaching for the colonial government. They saw relatively little of the expatriate community, involving themselves instead with the Nigerian people. They spent time exploring the wild landscapes and understanding the society of the diverse peoples and their farming; buying eggs and milk from nomads, and learning from local gardeners how to grow in the arid climate. Some of his Nigerian students would later visit the family in England, bringing what then seemed very exotic people into Dorset village life.

The family returned in 1960 and Arthur and Josephine created Tamarisk Farm in the windswept village of West Bexington. They planted trees to shelter the land and alongside the mixed farm, began as organic market gardeners at a time when few people had a concept of what that meant.

As pioneers in the organic movement, the Soil Association, they learned to enrich soil naturally, grow healthy crops, supporting healthy animals. Arthur was involved in the Dorset Wildlife Trust at its outset and the farm reed bed behind Chesil Beach became one of its first nature reserves.

On holiday in the ’80s

On passing the arable and stock farm over to daughter and son-in-law, Ellen and Adam, Arthur continued to lead Tamarisk market garden until his late eighties,

In parallel with farming, Arthur continued to teach; both as a farmer helping students and volunteers develop skills and an understanding of Organic growing, and also as a class teacher in local schools. He was also a respected lecturer at the South Dorset Technical College where he was an inspiring teacher for many.

As a father, farmer, mentor and teacher, Arthur was noted for his quiet, kind patience; though he could speak his mind too. He had a dry, compelling, sometimes mischievous humour that remained to his last days. He died at home quietly on 30th December, after spending a loving Christmas with his family, including his wife, 6 children, 16 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

Arthur, at home on the market garden.

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