The Peace Family of Castle Hill – Fragments of Memory Page 7 Back to page 6

The Clarkes’ occupation of Castle Hill was not without its troubles. Sadly Donald, the eldest of Minnie’s sons, was killed in action during the First World War.  Therefore, when Arthur Clarke died, in 1939, it was Roland (Roly) the youngest son who eventually took over the house.  Roly was a solicitor and, like his father and his two grandfathers before him, distinguished himself as a town councillor and became a Mayor of Wycombe.  He married Joan Skull, Nellie and Fred’s niece.  Like the Peace girls a generation before, the wedding photographs were taken at Castle Hill.  (Roly and Joan can be seen in the 1951 Festival Of Britain Commemorative Film of High Wycombe held at Wycombe Museum).  They had three sons but sadly one died in childhood. Roly, and later his son Tim, took over what is believed to have been James George Peace’s home in Easton Street and turned it into offices, expanding their solicitor’s practice which was next door. Roly's sister, Audrey Clarke, was to marry Eric Thurlow, son of Thomas.

Minnie was the last Peace to live and die at Castle Hill and the house was finally sold by the Clarkes in 1961 to the Borough of High Wycombe for use as a museum.  The building now houses displays on the history of the town including chairs from all the major furniture manufacturers in the Wycombe area, among them those of the Skull company. 

Sadly there are no Peace boys from this branch of the family tree to carry on the Peace name.  John Godfrey Peace and his wife Ruth (Bobby) had two daughters born 1952 and 1956 and a stillborn son, named William, in 1954.

The above information was updated in May 2008 as new facts and figures appear in my research. My own memories of Castle Hill begin when I was a six year old at Wycombe Preparatory School.  At lunch time my father, John Godfrey Peace, would come to meet me and take me back to his shop for sandwiches.  If it was raining I would be taught how to sew by the girls in the alterations department but if it was sunny my father would take me along to Castle Hill. We would sit in the grounds with our packed lunch and he would tell me all about the house and its stories, the secret passage to the Parish Churchyard, the skeleton found during the wedding, the White Lady Walk, the murdered parlourmaid and so on.  He showed me the sculpted head on the side of the house reputed to be James George Peace or that of James's son, William, and the names of his aunts and his father written on the flint stones around the main door.  When I was older, we went inside to look round the museum itself.  Much later, when I became a theatre design lecturer,  I brought my students to visit the house and gardens and we discussed the social history of those days and how the house might have looked at the turn of the nineteenth century. I was delighted to discover, while doing my research, that I may have had my first school lessons in the very room where my grandfather proposed to my grandmother, for I was a pupil at St Bernard’s Convent (Harlow House) when I was four years old.   Go to page 8