Loddiswell near Kingsbridge was in the family for over one
hundred and fifty years. The estate was bought by Richard Peek,
second son of John Peek, in 1830. At that time the main estate
residence was known as Halsenwood Villa, and John Peek was
himself living there in 1832 when he received his grant of Arms.
It is not, however,
clear when John Peek first took up residence at the villa. He
was married at Loddiswell, his wife's parish, in 1779 and
certainly came to live there shortly afterwards. His first four
children were all born at Loddiswell between 1779 and 1787, but
only Richard, who was to buy the Hazelwood estate nearly fifty
years later after making his fortune in London, is stated to
have been born (in October 1782) actually at Halsenwood Villa,
the other three being born either in the village or at an
outlying farm. John Peek's four youngest children, however, were
all born at Dodbrook, part of Kingsbridge, or in Kingsbridge
itself, between 1791 and 1800 and christened at the Independent
Chapel at Kingsbridge. It was there, too, that John Peek's wife
Susannah was buried; she died at Dodbrook in August 1802.
It would seem,
therefore, that John Peek left Loddiswell for Kingsbridge around
1790, and it may have been many years before he returned to
Loddiswell to take up residence at Halsenwood Villa. His son
Richard, although born at Loddiswell, is known to have spent at
least part of his youth at Kingsbridge before moving up to
London in 1800 at the age of eighteen.
It is to Richard Peek
that Hazelwood owes most of its development and present
appearance. Although he bought the estate in 1830, he did not
give up his partnership in Peek Brothers and Co. and his other
interests in London until shortly after he had completed his
year of office (1832/33) as High Sheriff of London and
After retiring to
Loddiswell he devoted the rest of his life to the estate and to
furthering charitable and religious causes in his native county.
He was an ardent member of the Independent Body, or what is
better known now as the Congregationalists, and erected a number
of chapels and schools.
John Peek and many of
his close relatives were buried in the grounds of Hazelwood,
most of them in what are known as the Peek Catacombs. In nearby
Loddiswell Church the pulpit was erected to the memory of
Richard Peek, while the east window was presented by William
Peek (1791-1870) as a memorial to their mother, Susannah Ann
Peek, wife of John Peek of Hazelwood.