Friday, January 5, 2007

Sir Peter Buck (1550 – 1624)

In the genealogy game, extra points are awarded for links to royalty. For the Buck family of Virginia, one of those hoped-for links is to Sir Peter Buck of Rochester, England.

The Visitation of Kent, 1592, indicates that Peter Buck was "Clarke of the Checks to the Queenes Majesties Navye"; that is, he was in charge of finances for the navy. In some documents, Sir Peter Buck is described as being in charge of the dockyards at Medway.
The Visitation of Kent, 1619, shows that Sir Peter Buck, Knight, was an Alderman for the "Cittie of Rochester"; previously, he had "borne the office of Major". Sir Peter Buck was an important man in and about the Rochester area.

Sir Peter Buck first married Margaret Haviland, probably about 1576; he married Mary Creswell about three years later.

The known ancestor of the Buck family of Virginia is Thomas Buck who left Gravesend, England in 1635. Since Gravesend is near Rochester, it is easy to assume a relationship between Thomas Buck and Sir Peter Buck. Unfortunately, there is no proof that such a relationship exists. On the other hand, both the father and a son of Sir Peter Buck were named Thomas although neither would be the age of the Thomas Buck who left England for Virginia.

Still highly visible and prominent in Rochester is the house of Sir Peter Buck. This house, built for Sir Peter Buck during 1590-91, was owned and expanded through five generations of the Buck family. It was known as the Eastgate House. The noted English novelist, Charles Dickens, used Eastgate House as the model for “Westgate House” in his novel “The Pickwick Papers”. Eastgate House was also used as the “Nun’s House” in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”. Eastgate House served as the Charles Dickens Centre and museum from sometime in the 1980s until 2005.

While in Rochester in 1999, I photographed these plaques and coat-of-arms. The coat-of-arms of Sir Peter Buck is on the left hand side; that of his wife, Mary Creswell, is on the right hand side.

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