Bereleigh 1784 – 1840
In the 1780s, the second Richard Eyles began taking over his father’s land, starting with Bereleigh and Tigwell. In 1784, four years before the death of his father, he also took over Court Farm. The family’s prosperity continued to grow, and Richard II was elected mayor of Petersfield in 1800; he was also a partner in Patrick Eyles and Co, the ‘Petersfield and Hants Bank’. Like his father, he was a churchwarden of All Saints, but was also Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire. In the citation, dated 1802, he is described as ‘of East Meon, with lands in that parish within the tythes of Riplington, Froxfield and also lands called Burley in the Parish of East Meon.’ His brother, Captain Sir Joseph Eyles RN, was also a Deputy Lieutenant ‘with lands in that parish at Ramsdean, Tuggall, Burley’. Richard set about replacing the old house at Bereleigh, which had presumably now fallen into decay, with the grand Regency building which stands to this day; in addition to spacious reception rooms the accommodation comprised no fewer than 20 bedrooms. Richard II purchased from the diocese of Winchester the rectorial tithes to the estate in 1800, although the estate still paid ‘lesser’ tithes to the vicar.
This Richard died in 1814, leaving the estate to his brother Joseph, but he died a year later, passing the estate on to the third Richard Eyles.
In 1824, another naval man, Captain Samuel George Pechell, bought the Bereleigh estate, and in 1828, the bishop leased the rectorial tithes to him. Continuing the tradition that the owner of Bereleigh now resided in the house and acted as virtual ‘squire’ of East Meon, Pechell become a magistrate in 1827. He was soon to find himself thrust into the national limelight.