The Peace Family of Castle Hill – Fragments of Memory Page 5     Back to page 4

Florence was both surprised and delighted.  She had grown up calling him ‘Uncle Will’ and it now took some time to adjust to the idea of becoming his wife.  When she received an invitation for dinner at Castle Hill the Redingtons warned her that she would have difficulty in getting William’s mother to accept the marriage but she told them defiantly ‘It is not his mother who I intend to marry but her son and I will persevere for Will's sake.’ Recent research would suggest that Emma Peace had hoped that William would marry one of the Redington girls and although the Wanes were related they were not of the same social standing as the Redingtons.  Added to this was the fact that William had chosen to marry a girl young enough to be his daughter and someone who equally enjoyed his interest in 'theatricals'.

Florence’s defiance suggested to Emma Peace that this young girl was far too ‘skittish’ to marry her son.  No doubt the Peace family in general felt the marriage to be an impetuous move by the errant William and believed no good would come of it. Thus it would appear that William and Florence became distanced from the life at Castle Hill. In fact they had 21 years together until William died of cancer at the age of 61.  They had three children, John, Enid and Valerie. This is not to say that William was neglected by James and Emma for it was Emma who was a witness at his wedding and James who owned William's first home.

On the deaths of William, in 1926, and James, in 1930, the family business was managed by three partners – John (Jack) Godfrey Peace (William’s son), Walter Ballantyne (the firm’s principal tailor) and Howard Goodwin.  The grocer’s shop had been sold long before, probably as early as1914, and on William’s death the china shop was sold to make way for the new Woolworths store.  In 1933 the new partners changed premises (letting the Queens Square shop to John Colliers) and moved to Castle Street, opposite the Parish Church calling themselves Peace, Ballantyne and Goodwin Ltd.  Ballantyne died in 1936 and Goodwin in 1954.  The shop then became J.G. Peace Ltd, a return to virtually the same name of nearly a hundred years before, but this time run by John (Jack) Godfrey Peace with his wife, Ruth Nicholson Peace (née Skull) acting as his partner.  The shop closed in 1971 when Jack Peace retired.

Whether Emma ever fully accepted the marriage of William to Florence is not known but James George Peace chose not to leave Castle Hill to William but to sell the house, after Emma’s death in 1908, to his friend Daniel Clarke, father of Arthur.  The circumstances surrounding this are unclear and it is not known whether it was done for financial or emotional reasons.  It appears that the sale included an ‘exchange’ of houses which William always believed disadvantaged his father.  The result was that Daniel Clarke became the owner of Castle Hill (allowing Arthur, Minnie and their children to live there) and James George Peace moved into Daniel Clarke’s house in Easton Street where he remained as a tenant until his death in 1930.

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