“This Bible was my Great Grandfather’s, John Ffloyd, citizen of London, and comb maker by Trade, who lived in one of his houses on the North Side of Ludgate Hill in the parish of St Brides and having given his son (Enoch) and daughter (Elizabeth) a fortune and being in good circumstances he left off the Trade and Retired to Wandsworth in the County of Surrey where he dyed. And it is my Desire when it shall please God to take me out of this World that this Bible may be the property of my son Ffloyd, and I request him to preserve, and at his death to give it to his son if he has one, with an injuction for him to keep it and dispose of it at his Death if he has a son, in the same manner, and so on to go from father to son. In witness whereof I have this the fifth day of December 1754 Subscribed by name of it. George Peck.”
This transcription was written into a Peck family Bible, which became an heirloom, passing down the generations of a branch of the Peck family (of Samford, Essex, and Wood Dalling and Methwold, Norfolk). John Ffloyd (d. 1701) married Alice and they had two children, Elizabeth (b. 1652 m 1674 Josiah Peck) and Enoch (b 1657). With the help of the 1666 Lady Day hearth tax return a bit more can be said about his circumstances of this family on the eve of the Great Fire. The 1666 return has four references to a head of household named John Ffloyd in properties with three or four hearths. Three of these properties can be discounted as the family home of John Ffloyd since none were located in the Ludgate Hill part of St Bride’s parish, but a fourth entry to John Ffloyd living in a three-hearth property in Fleet Street probably refers to the home of George Peck’s great-grandfather.
Not only was the home located within the correct area of St Bride’s parish, but the hearth tax was paid in contrast to the other references to the homes of John Ffloyd from which the tax was not collected. Ffloyd’s neighbours in Fleet Street included Andrew Newman who had recently moved into a four-hearth property and the widow of George Wright. Here was a group of neighbours who by paying the hearth tax demonstrated their sense of probity (and perhaps also their support for the later Stuart monarchy) in contrast to their wealthy neighbour, the squire Robert Hix, who refused to pay the charge due on a 13-hearth property. Further research might be able to identify whether any of the unpaid properties listed under the name of John Ffloyd were his rental properties which were either temporarily abandoned or had valuable possessions removed by tenants before being searched by the collectors, who were fobbed off with the name of the landlord in the event of a move to collect arrears. Be that as it may, it is clear that the home in which John Ffloyd lived with his wife and two children on Fleet Street was comfortable if not a wealthy home, and that the “chimney men” had no difficulty in collecting the 3 shillings due at Lady Day from this home to fill the private purse of King Charles II.
Although John Ffloyd in later life moved away to the more congenial area of Wansworth and was buried at Stanmore in Middlesex the family retained a strong connection with Fleet Street and the City of London. George Peck in 1718 had been bound as an apprentice to John Steger, Linen Draper in the Poultry, who worked from the King’s Arms on Fleet Street, and on the same day as George II was proclaimed king, he married Mary Clay, daughter of Richard Clay, Citizen and Draper of London and by trade an Oylman.