William was the second son; he went into the army, where he served for a few years with the 7th Dragoons before his father settled on him the 400 acre estate of Harefield, in the parish of Lympstone. Harefield is a late Georgian house, rather plain (today, it is a preparatory school and the wider estate is managed by a family trust). William Peters seems to have had little difficulty in being accepted by the County establishment, taking on the traditional roles of JP and chairman of the local Conservatives. He died in 1896.
The following entry for Tuesday, 2 June, 1885 in The Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette sets the scene after his wife’s death:
Lympstone Memorial Tower
‘The Memorial Tower and Cottages at Lympstone, erected by Mr W.H. Peters, of Harefield, in memory of his widely-revered wife, are rapidly approaching completion, and the work in its entirety will form a most fitting tribute of esteem and regard for the deceased lady, whose
loss is much felt by all classes of society, especially by the poorer inhabitants of the parish. The memorial is erected on a piece of ground that was for a long number of years occupied by the New Inn, in the lower part of the town, and adjacent to the Railway Station. The cottages are just in the very place where the families which they are intended to accommodate would wish them to be - by the edge of the river, where the fishermen mostly congregate. The memorial buildings comprise a substantial clock-tower, some 70 or 80 feet high, and a commodious block of twelve cottages, suitable for small families. From the former a magnificent view of the estuary of the Exe can be obtained. The memorial cottages are arranged as a series of twelve convenient buildings, and will be let at a mere nominal rent, so that they will be a great boon to the class which they are intended to benefit. The whole work is now well forward, and will be inaugurated at no very distant date. The tower is a landmark for many miles around, and the structure is an object of prominence and much interest. The entire work has been under the superintendence of Mr Sivell, builder, of Lympstone, and reflects credit on him.’
No mention is made of an architect, but it is possible that there was none, the builder drawing up the design himself, perhaps after studying the Campanile in St. Mark's Square in Venice, or obtaining it from a pattern book. The Tower was also intended to serve as a refuge for fishermen caught out in bad weather and unable to return to their homes in other villages along the estuary. A fireplace provided on the first floor allowed them to keep warm. The clock is a typical Victorian gesture to encourage good timekeeping, though for many years, until mechanical failure solved the problem, the striking of the clock at night was a source of complaint from many of its nearest neighbours.