John Peck was born on the 21st of August 1787 and at the age of 21 he left his father’s home and moved to Parson Drove to set up his own farm. At first he rented a farm and then in 1843 he bought Inham Hall where he lived the rest of his life. John Peck married Elizabeth Ulyat on the 1st of December 1817, and they raised a family of seven sons and one daughter. He was a well-respected member of the community, and he held the office of Parish Constable continuously for 35 years until his death in 1851. As a young man John Peck served on two local drainage boards, his main concern was with the network of windmills that drained the water from the land. John was a renowned diarist and kept detailed records of his life in the fens and in Parson Drove. These diaries provide an excellent chronicle of life in 19th century fenland, the original diaries can be viewed in the Wisbech Museum. Extracts are regularly published in our local Village Voices magazine and copies of the diaries are available to see at St Johns Church.

The Cage was built in 1829 by John Peck as an overnight lock up for local criminals and animals.

The Cage has played a prominent role in Parson Drove village history. For 95 years it housed a fire pump, later a wartime police post, and in more recent years, used to store parish documents and equipment.

Around the year 1831, there was unrest in the agricultural community due to the impact of early farm machinery, and a consequential loss of manual jobs. The reaction of the angry workforce was to set light to cornfields and stacks. John Peckfearing the effects on the village, decided that a Fire Pump was required. He obtained a public subscription and then went to London and bought one for £118.

Queen Victoria`s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 caused a public subscription to be made for the purchase of a clock and tower, this was built into the roof of The Cage.

In 1983 The Cage was given a Listed Grade II Preservation status. During 1997 to 1999 The Cage was renovated by The Parish Council with help from grants from the Rural Development Agency, Fenland District Council and the European “Leader II Project” as well as fund raising by local people. It has now been restored by the Parish Council and is a visitors’ centre, giving information on village and fenland history.

The John Peck Society – Contact P C Holmes Hon. Sec.

34a Princes Road,
PE13 2PG
Tel / Fax 01945 585586

Admission Free
Open by appointment by contacting Roger Reader. 01945 700501