Joseph Peyton (2)

1750-1816. He was born on 27 July 1750, the eldest son of Admiral Joseph Peyton and of his wife Katherine Strutt. He was the brother of Rear-Admiral John Peyton and Captain Thomas Peyton, and the uncle of Commodore Sir John Strutt Peyton.

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Wakehurst – By Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

He was commissioned lieutenant on 2 September 1772, was second lieutenant of the Boreas, Captain Charles Thompson in Jamaica during 1775-7, and was promoted commander on 14 December 1778. In the spring of 1779 he joined the Beaver 14, serving at the relief of Jersey and witnessing the action in Cancale Bay on 13 May 1779 as part of Captain John Lewis Gidoin’s division. The Beaver underwent a refit and coppering at Plymouth in the summer of 1780, and Peyton retained her until 1783, being latterly engaged in the preventative service off the Cornish and North Devonshire coast.

Meanwhile Captain Peyton had been equally active ashore, for in 1781 a Mrs Elizabeth Williams, wife of a John Williams of Exeter, was brought to trial for the act of adultery with Captain Peyton, the affair having began two years previously. It culminated in the couple living as man and wife having had issue outside wedlock, although they later married.

Peyton was posted captain of the Leander 50 on 26 September 1788, recommissioning her as the flagship of his father, Rear-Admiral Joseph Peyton, the commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean until 1792. After leaving the Leander the younger Peyton was never re-employed.

He became a superannuated rear-admiral on 12 October 1807 and died on 3 April 1816 in Brighton, being buried a week later at Ardingly. His address at the time of death was given as Wakehurst Park in Sussex, which he had inherited following the death of his father in 1804, although he preferred to live in Brighton.

Peyton married Elizabeth Melhuish, the ex-Mrs Williams, at Northam, Devon on 4 June 1783 and had two sons, the younger of who, John Ritson Peyton, entered the Navy but died at the age of 38 in 1825. The older son was Joseph Lyddell Peyton, and additionally the couple had two daughters. At the turn of the century Peyton was so indebted that he was obliged to mortgage his inheritance, although his father later paid off his debts.