FEATURE: What's in a name? We look at the history behind the Peele family of Long Sutton
Today is the start of a new series focusing on some of the famous (plus weird and wonderful) names behind the area’s landmarks, place names, buildings or streets.
This week we are looking at the ‘Peele’ family of Long Sutton.
The name has become synonymous with the market town. The Peele Community College and the leisure centre both take the name.
The graves of some of the family can be found at St Mary’s Church in Long Sutton but internet searches show very little about who the Peeles actually were.
So I spoke to Tim Machin, Chairman of Long Sutton and District Civic Society, who directed me to an article he had written in which he explained that the previously named Peele County Secondary School was built on land once owned by a Thomas Peele.
As well as being landowners the Peeles were thought of as a long-standing and well-to-do family.
The Long Sutton and District Civic Society also has in its collection the George Thomas Peele horn, used by The Harriers, in the local hare hunt.
Tim also wrote of an account of the Harriers in action in and around Long Sutton which was reported in The Wisbech Telegraph of Saturday, February 10, 1872. In this, Mr Peele was mentioned as head of the hunt.
It is believed that George Thomas Peel is the same Mr Peele who led the hunt.
Father Jonathan Sibley, at St Mary’s Church, told me that records show a Richard Peele is buried with seven of his daughters in the centre of the nave of St Mary’s. He died in 1855.
“He was very involved in education and was a member of the Allen’s charity,” Mr Sibley said.
This charity was set up by benefactor Thomas Allen in the 1600s to help educate young people in the community and continues to this day by helping provide grants and apprenticeships.
“He (Richard Peele) was very instrumental in making it possible for girls to come to the school at the church," Mr Sibley said.
"He was also instrumental in working to build the first school in Long Sutton.
"A Richard Peele is buried with seven of his daughters in the centre of the nave of St Mary’s. He died in 1855. He was very involved in education and was a member of the Allen’s charity."
“It was built in 1834 - forty years before education was compulsory.
“Long Sutton was very forward-thinking," he added.
Today, that school has been replaced by flats in High Street.
“Richard and John Peele were church wardens,” Mr Sibley said. “It is unclear from the records their relationship but Thomas Peele put the new pulpit in the church and Richard was also involved.
“John was also an overseer of the poor people and poor workhouse and Richard started the agricultural society in Long Sutton back in the 1830s. It is still going today.”
And the Peeles were involved in moving the church’s famous organ during the reign of Queen Victoria - from the back of the church to The Choir, placing it on the grave of Thomas Allen.
Mr Sibley also says information shows The Peele family intermarried with The Mossop family in the 1820s and the Mundy family.
But as to whether there are any more Peeles in Long Sutton is unclear.
“I believe the line died out,” Mr Sibley said.
The Peele County Secondary School, built on land once owned by Thomas Peele, was architecturally ‘a great success.’
This is according to an extract in the first edition of the History of Long Sutton.
It was designed by the Architects’ Co-Partnership, of Charlotte Street, London, and Mr Barlow, the county architect.
However, ‘there were structural problems almost immediately and some unseasoned soft wood used in the construction had to be replaced,’ the extract continues.
The Peele was built as a four-form entry school for 600 pupils, with the leaving age being 15.
‘Within a few years, and because of the post-war ‘baby boom,’ it soon became a five-form entry school,’ it was reported.
‘The first head was Alan Noon, ofNottingham and the school was formerly opened the following year by Sir Edward Boyle, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education.
In the early days the boys did woodwork and metalwork, and the girls did needlecraft and cookery.
The school farm kept chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits etc, as rural studies was a strong subject.
It was the second school in the county to have its own swimming pool.
Funds were raised and the pool was officially opened by Sir Christopher Chataway MP, the former athlete. The school has just celebrated its 60th year anniversary.
Do you know any more about the Peele family or can you tell us more about Long Sutton's history?
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