Sir Robert Peel, Second Baronet - 1788 -1850

Sir Robert Peel II is Tamworth’s most famous son, although born in Bury (Lancashire), Peel grew up on his father’s Drayton Manor Estate.

As Home Secretary (1822-27 and 1828-30), he founded the Metropolitan Police Force. As Prime Minister (1834 and 1841-46), he is credited with creating the Conservative Party. In 1846 he split the Tories over the question of the Corn Laws. Peel entered politics in 1809 at the age of 21, as MP for the Irish rotten borough of Cashel, Tipperary. He changed constituency 4 more times: first becoming MP for Chippenham, then MP for Oxford University in 1817, followed by a brief tenure from 1829 as MP for Westbury, Wiltshire. Following his fathers’ death, he served as MP for Tamworth from 1830 until his death in 1850. His famous 1834 “Tamworth Manifesto” was the first general election manifesto of any modern political party.

He was educated first at Bury Grammar School, then at Harrow School and finally Christ Church, Oxford. In 1820, he married Julia Floyd, one of the great beauties of the age and youngest daughter of General Sir John Floyd. Their marriage was a happy one in spite of Peel being often in London and Julia at Drayton Manor. They had five sons and two daughters including Sir Robert Peel, 3rd Baronet, Sir Frederick Peel - a politician and railway commissioner, Sir William Peel  - a naval commander and recipient of the Victoria Cross, Arthur Wellesley Peel - Speaker of the House of Commons and created Viscount Peel. His daughter Julia married the 6th Earl of Jersey.

In 1830, the 1st Baronet died, Peel now the 2nd Baronet did not think his father’s Drayton Manor worthy of his position, so he built a new mansion. Building took four years, and he took up residence in December 1835.

Peel was thrown from his horse while riding on Constitution Hill in London on 29th June 1850, the horse stumbled on top of him and he died three days later on 2nd July at the age of 62. Tributes poured in after his death. The Duke of Wellington, told the Lords, “I never knew a man in whose truth and justice I had a more lively confidence, or in whom I saw a more invariable desire to promote the public service”. Queen Victoria wrote, “Everyone seems to have lost a personal friend”. At his request, he was buried at Drayton Bassett Church. At the time of his death, he had an income of £40,000 p.a. and a estate valued at over £1 million.

<< Sir Robert's Memorial - inside Drayton Bassett Church.