Person of the month: Agathos Daniel Pegg
Every month, we’re stepping back in time to meet characters from Calke’s past. Join us on this journey as we discover the people who lived and worked on the estate, and then meet their modern-day equivalents who help to keep Calke alive.
We’d like you to meet…
Agathos Daniel Pegg, Head Gamekeeper
Agathos Pegg was born in 1877 in Ticknall. At 26, he married Mary Ann Houghton of Blanch Croft, Melbourne at St. Mary’s Gate Baptist Chapel in Derby. In 1904 the couple had a son called Augustus, who married Lucy in 1927.
The Pegg family lived at Middle Lodge on the Calke Estate for many years while Agathos served as gamekeeper to Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe. Agathos Pegg was the fourth generation of his family to live at Middle Lodge as gamekeeper to the family, and by this point, no one could remember a time when the Peggs hadn’t lived there!
Agathos and his family are recorded in the 1911, 1925 and 1941 censuses at Middle Lodge – in 1911, they even had a lodger, Frederick Charles, who is listed as an ‘assistant keeper’. In the 1941 census, Agathos was listed as gamekeeper to Mrs Mosley, continuing his role as head gamekeeper for a while after Sir Vauncey’s death.
It’s thought the family retired to Repton after living and working at Calke. Mary died in Repton in 1950, and Agathos died 13 years later, also in Repton.
A day in the life of Agg Pegg
What was it like to be a gamekeeper at Calke Abbey? Thanks to interviews with his daughter-in-law, Lucy, we know a little about Agg’s day-to-day work at Calke.
Agg’s day started early – around 4.30am! His first job was to inspect the traps before breakfast, then feed the poultry and identify various jobs that needed doing. The pheasant food was prepared at home with much care, sometimes with help from the ‘underkeeper’, who also kept the yards clean.
Agg Pegg was well respected by the other keepers. When they arrived at work at 6am, Agg would distribute the jobs around the estate – he was stern and had high standards, but was kind and generous too, and had a strong bond with Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe. Both men were a good shot and Agg was known for breeding game cocks, which he exhibited and judged.
Looking after the wildlife
With a huge knowledge and passion for wildlife, Agg managed the parkland and wild deer herds at Calke, focusing on wildlife while the other keepers did the rest of the jobs around the estate.
The Harpur Crewes were known for their secluded ways, and part of Agg’s job as head gamekeeper was to prevent anyone coming onto the estate, making sure it was private and secluded. You may have heard Calke referred to as the ‘forbidden’ estate for this reason!
A modern-day gamekeeper
Bill Cove, Countryside Manager
Bill has been associated with the Calke Estate for 46 years. Like Agg, he manages the parkland and wild deer herd, as well as Calke’s flock of rare-breed Portland sheep. Bill is very knowledgeable and passionate about all the wildlife on the estate.
Bill manages a team of rangers, who carry out maintenance, landscape and forestry work across the estate. This important conservation work helps to keep Calke’s countryside and wildlife safe and protected.
Unlike Agg, Bill welcomes thousands of visitors to Calke every year, and loves to share his passion for Calke with others. If you see him around the estate, give him a wave!