In an earlier article1 I looked at the social and economic reasons for William Peckover leaving the agricultural community where his family had worked for generations to follow a career in the Royal Navy. William Peckover was born at Aynho, in the county of Northamptonshire, on 18 June, 1748. He sailed on all three of Cook’s Pacific Voyages, and with Bligh in Bounty.2
Peckover’s naval record3 lists the ships he served in, from Dictator in 1780 to Irresistable in 1798, and Gelykheid in 1801. We also know that “gunner William Peckover and carpenter James Cleveley” assisted Daniel Solander in arranging and labelling the collection of ethnographic artefacts donated by Joseph Banks to the British Museum in 1778.4
I have discovered that William Peckover was a Governor of the Chatham Chest, being appointed about the time he was in Irresistible. I found this information in a lease for some land at Chatham, Kent, dated 9 May, 1799.5
Lease [term not evident]
(i) William Nichelson [cf. Nicholson] and John Madgshon of Chatham, gentlemen, Masters Attendant of HM [Dock] Yard and Navy there
Edward Sison of same, gentleman, Master Shipwright of HM [Dock] Yard and Navy as above.
Richard Symons of St Margaret's Parish, Rochester, gentleman, purser of HMS Irresistible.
Thomas Carrington of Chatham, gentleman, Boatswain of HMS Blenheim.
Aeneas Aitken of same, gentleman, Boatswain of HMS Delft.
Thomas McLean of Chatham, gentleman, Gunner of HMS Blenheim.
William Peckover of Chatham, gentleman, Gunner of HMS Irresistible.
(i.e. all above are governors of Chatham Chest).
(ii) William Goddard of Chatham, gentleman
Brick messuage lately divided into 2 dwellings but now used as one with coach house, stable, outhouses, etc. at
Heavyside [Heaviside] Lane, Chatham, adjoining piece of land, a summer-house, an orchard or garden of 1½ acres and dwelling house occupied by Thomas Milton.
Rent [not evident]
With labelled plan of site showing New Road, jacent
[Mutilated and incomplete]
Peckover received a pension on his retirement, and made provision for a widow’s pension.6
He died in 1819 and is buried in Holy Trinity Church, Colchester, Essex.7 The Essex records imply that he was born in 1749, whereas the actual year was 1748.
The Essex Records also show a Sarah Peckover who died in 1819 and is buried at Holy Trinity Colchester.8 Her age at death implies she was born in 1757. I have found a Sarah Peckover born in 1759 in Newbottle to John Peckover and Sarah, but I cannot see that she was directly connected to Gunner William Peckover. Therefore it would seem reasonable to assume that the Sarah buried at Holy Trinity was Gunner William Peckover’s wife.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 13, volume 44, number 4 (2021).
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