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1899: An advisor to Queen Victoria dies

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Woodcroft home of Sir Charles Lennox Peel (Colourised image)

Cuckfield ‘Universal sympathy with the bereaved family of Sir Charles Lennox Peel’

Gentlewoman , 26 August 1899 . [Died 19 August 1899]

Sir Charles Lennox Peel GCB (19 January 1823 – 19 August 1899) was a British civil servant.

Charles Lennox Peel 1860, Nat Portrait Gallery (Colourised)

What is the Privy Council?

A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a state, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word privy means 'private' or 'secret'; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on state affairs.

Sir Charles Lennox Peel brief biography

Peel was the son of Laurence Peel, son of Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, and Lady Jane Lennox, daughter of Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond. He bought a commission in the British Army and served with the 7th Queen's Own Hussars and the Edmonton Royal Rifle Regiment of Middlesex Militia. He relinquished his commission on 8 October 1860.

He subsequently became a civil servant and was Clerk of the Privy Council between 17 March 1875 and 9 August 1898. He was made Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1890 New Year Honours. and upgraded to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 1899 New Year Honours.

Peel married Hon. Caroline Chichester, daughter of Arthur Chichester, 1st Baron Templemore, on 27 April 1848.


Resignation of the Clerk to Her Majesty’s Privy Council

The numerous friends of Sir Charles Lennox PeeL K.B especially those living in the south-eastern counties, will have heard with much regret of his resignation, through ill-health, of the important and responsible position of Clerk to Her Majesty’s Privy Council. The hon. gentleman, who is now seventy-five years of age, and had been clerk of the council since 1876 - a period of 28 years - has long been resident at Woodcroft, Cuckfield and is persona grata with all classes in a wide neighbourhood.

During his tenure of high offioe under the Crown, he has, of course, taken no part in political contests in Sussex, nor did he attend political gatherings, but he was often a welcome guest at agricultural meetings. It will be remembered that before the formation of the Board of Agriculture, all matters appertaining to farming, so far as the Government was concerned, were managed or superintended by the Committee of Council on Agriculture.

Sir Charles by virtue of his position as Clerk to the Council was intimately associated with agricultural legislation and administration, and was able, when attending agricultural meetings, to give information both reliable and interesting as to the operation and effect both of Acts of Parliament and the orders of Council bared thereon. He is a fluent rather than a florid speaker, and being able to couch his ideas and the facts and figures to which be desired to call attention, in clear, plain, vigorous language, he could always command an attentive and appreciative audience.

As to his official position, it is of great interest and importance, as it brings its holder into the most intimate relations with the leaders of both political parties, as all the readers of the Greville memoirs well know, as well as in close association with the Monarch at meetings of her Council.

His successor Mr Almeric Fitzroy, is, says the Court Journal, a son of Mr PB Fitzroy, of Frogmore Park, Hampshire, a grandson of the late Admiral Lord WiIliam Fitzroy, and great grandson of the 3rd Dake of Grafton. Born in 1851 and educated at Balliol College, Oxford, he entered the Privy Council Office, where he served for six years, his private secretary to so William Hart, Dyke, Vice President of the Council, in Lord Salisbury, second administration, and was appointed to sit in a similar capacity to the Duke of Devonshire on the formation of the present government. Mr Fitzroy is said to unite the country of a little man with the creation of private secretary and the manners of a courtier.

Sussex Agricultural Express, 26 August 1898

NOTE: It may be no coincidence as Charles Lennox Peel's father, Robert Peel, set up Britain's first police force 'the Peelers' that the village had a police station located in Church Street - still called 'Peelers'.

Policemen are commonly referred to as ‘Bobbies’ and originally were known as ‘Peelers’ in reference to Sir Robert Peel (1788 – 1850).

Following the success of the Royal Irish Constabulary it became obvious that something similar was needed in London, so in 1829 when Sir Robert was Home Secretary in Lord Liverpool’s Tory Cabinet, the Metropolitan Police Act was passed, providing permanently appointed and paid Constables to protect the capital as part of the Metropolitan Police Force.

The first thousand of Peel’s police, dressed in blue tail-coats and top hats, began to patrol the streets of London on 29th September 1829. The uniform was carefully selected to make the ‘Peelers’ look more like ordinary citizens, rather than a red-coated soldier with a helmet.

The ‘Peelers’ were issued with a wooden truncheon carried in a long pocket in the tail of their coat, a pair of handcuffs and a wooden rattle to raise the alarm. By the 1880s this rattle had been replaced by a whistle.

To be a ‘Peeler’ the rules were quite strict. You had to be aged 20 – 27, at least 5′ 7″ tall (or as near as possible), fit, literate and have no history of any wrong-doings.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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