The Duke Family History: index

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The Duke Family History: index


The Duke Family History: index 1

The Duke Family in England: The Early Centuries 4

The Earliest Recorded Members of the Duke Family in England 5

The Duke Family in eastern England 7

London 7

Roger le Duc’s Family 7

The Dorset Estates of Roger le Duc 9

Roger in Bucks 10

London Again 10

John Duke of the King's Household: How Many, and Where? 11

The Trade in Hides and Wool 12

London Again 14

Thomas Duke, Skinner 14

John Duke, Skinner, of Westminster 17

William Duke, Chaplain 18

William Duk, 'draper' 19

William Duke 19

And Other London Residents 19

Bedfordshire 20

Huntingdonshire 22

Oxfordshire and Warwickshire 22

Robert le Duc, Heir of Roger 23

The Duke Family in the Ewelme Hundred 24

The Duke Family at Oxford 24

The Duke Family at Wretchwick 25

The Duke Family at Sandford 26

Essex 27

Springfield 27

Widdington 28

Norfolk 31

Cambridgeshire 31

Southern Cambridgeshire 31

Northern Cambridgeshire and Thorney 33

Hertford 34

Surrey 34

Suffolk 35

Other Branches 38

Sussex 38

The Family of Ralph Duke in Buckinghamshire 38

Kent 39


Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, and the far North 39

Putting It All Together 40

The Duke Family in Southwestern England 41

The Southwestern Roots of the Duke Family 41

Wiltshire 41

The 1332 Tax Rolls 42

Later Events in Wiltshire 43

Dorset 46

1332 Lay Subsidy Rolls 46

The 1340 Inquistion Nonarum 46

The Duke Family of Cerne Abbas 46

Southampton 47

Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and Somerset 48

Worcestershire 48

Gloucestershire 49

Somerset 51

Devon 51

Early References in Devon 51

The Earliest Dukes of the Otterton Branch 52

Poer-Hayes and Otterton 53

Duke at Poer-Hayes 54

The Duke Family in Southwestern England: After A.D.1400 65

The Heirs of John Duke 65

The Duke Family: Secular and Sacred Office 66

William Duke, Mayor of Exeter 66

Poer Family 67

William and London 70

William Duke’s Heirs 70

The Joy of Real Estate 73

Page 6 of website 75

Subsequent Generations 75

The Prideaux Family 76

The Duke Family in the Early Seventeenth Century 76

Branches of the Otterton Family 77

Wiltshire 77

The Duke Family in Hampshire (Southampton) 79

Kent and Surrey 80

Emigration and Exile 81

The Devonshire Family and its Branches 81

The English Civil War 82

Restoration 86

The Duke Family and the Duke of Monmouth 88

The English Duke Family in Later Times 89

Dukes in America 91



The Duke Family in England: The Early Centuries


Notes by Lynn S. Teague, July 1999

The following is research on the Duke family of various parts of southern England, believed to be the origin of the Duke(s) families of Virginia, Barbados, and South Carolina. Other families named “Duke” exist in England. In some cases, the English name Duke may be a shortening of Marmaduke; this is said to be a source of the name “Duke” in the north.1

The Duke(s) family of southern England is of Anglo-Norman origin. Originally, the Normans were Danish Vikings who were raiding throughout France. They were given Normandy, at the mouth of the Seine, to encourage them to settle down. They intermarried with the Franks already resident along the northern French coast.2

The Normans rapidly adopted the local language after settling in France. This contrasts with their practice when they moved on to England. There, they continued to speak (and write in) Norman French, or Anglo-Norman, for several hundred years.3 They also maintained estates in Normandy after the conquest of England.

The Duke family first appears in known English records in the late 1100's. The name “Duke” or “Dukes” was originally le Duc, a term that was used to mean “leader” before the term became associated with a specific rank of the nobility. In southern England, the form Le Duc persists for several centuries.

A Dictionary of British Surnames states that the name is derived from "ME duc, duk(e), douk, doke, OFr duc 'leader of an army, captain'."4 The term is derived from a title in the administration of the Carolingian Empire, and was equivalent to the term “ealerdom” that was native to the Scandinavian origins of the Normans and the “alderman” of Anglo-Saxon England. The ealerdom, and le duc, was the representative of the royal ruler among local leaders.5

There is a parallel with Anglo-Saxon practices in these functions of the “duc”:6


During Ethelred’s reign one of the king’s local bailiffs (‘reeves’) in each shire had come to be known as the ‘shire-reeve’ or sheriff. He was the king’s chief executive agent in the shire, and gradually assumed more and more of the alderman’s functions. The sheriff was responsible for collecting royal revenues and the profits of justice, but he also belonged to the growing community of local thegns. In the shire court he could announce the king’s will to the gentry of the shire, take a big part in day-to-day business, and add the weight of royal authority to action against oppressive magnates.

The Earliest Recorded Members of the Duke Family in England


The following individuals are found in The Norman People and their Existing Descendants :7

Duke. Osmond le Duc, Alexander and Robert le Duc, Norm., 1180-98;8 Radulphus Dux of Bucks (1199).9 Hence the Baronets Duke. Robert D. and his father are mentioned in England.10

Duck, or Le Duc. Willelmus Dux was of Normandy, 1198;11 Ralph Dux of Buckinghamshire 1198.12

These establish some connections with Normandy. It is possibly that some of those identified with Normandy were actually born in England, since at this time residence in both locations was common and many who lived in England continued to think of Normandy as their principal residence.



A History of English Surnames gives the following references to members of the le Duc family in England:13

Herbert le Duc 1185 Templars (Shropshire)

Adam Duke 1198 Pipe Rolls (Bedfordshire)

Henry Dukes 1214 Curia Regis Rolls (Warwickshire)

Osbert le Duke 1230 Pipe Rolls (Devonshire)

The Osbert le Duket (as the name appears in the original Pipe Rolls) mentioned in Devonshire probably is an error. Usually, “Duket” is not a variant of “Duc” but a different name altogether.

The reference to Henry Dukes in 1214 is a record of his having been fined one-half mark, with many others, for joining with William de Buckingham in depriving Simon de Barton of his free holding in Barton.14 Barton was located in Bidford Parish in southwestern Warwickshire, immediately west of Temple Grafton, held by the Knights Templar until their dissolution and subsequently by the Knights Hospitallers. Both the time and the location suggest that Henry and Herbert le Duc, Knight Templar in Shropshire a few years earlier, might have been brothers. There is no evidence of a succeeding generation in this area, however.

The Knights Templar, the order of which Herbert le Duc was a member, were established in 1118 and became one of the two major military orders of the Middle Ages, created to protect travellers on the road of the Holy Land and ultimately among the most prominent of the groups of medieval crusaders. In 1185, the year that Herbert le Duke’s membership is noted, they built Temple Church in London, which was later to become the Temple of the Inns of Court.15 Herbert le Duc is likely to have served with Richard I (Coeur de Lion) on the Third Crusade, against Saladin, which Richard began in July 1190.

The reference to a member of the Duke family in England in 1185 is the earliest that the present author has found, although it is quickly followed by quite a few others. At this time, there was still considerable movement between Normandy and England. During the 34 years of the reign of Henry II (1154-89), he spent 21 years on the continent, and only 13 in England.16 It is probable that the Ducs had been living in England for at least three generations by 1185 to produce the number of scattered references that have been found for the late 1100’s and the 1200's. If there were several generations in place by 1185, this would date their appearance in England at or near the time of the conquest in 1066. It is estimated that the conquest involved about 7000 men and the names of most of them are unknown. Early references in the Domesday Book are often by first name and location only, providing an ample number of early Normans who cannot be associated with their descendants only a few generations later. The history of the family suggests that the area in and surrounding London represented the earliest identifiable English home of the family that we are tracing.

We also find examples of different, and presumably independent, early forms of the Duke surname in other areas at this time. In 1210 Godefridi Duc was mentioned in the vicinity of Sutton, Northamptonshire.17 Ralph f. Duc is found in Lincolnshire:18


Radulfus f. Duc habet j caballum precium iiij s. et ij iuvencos precium v. S. et duos vitulos precium ij s., xxti vj oves precium ix s. et j suillam precium iiij d. et j quarterium frumenti precium xl d. et j summam ordei precium ij s. et dim. summam a[v]ene [preci]um vj d. Summa xve xxij d.

This tells us that Ralph f. [filius, son of] Duc of the Aswardhun Wapentake of Lincolnshire had 1 packhorse, 2 young horses, 2 calves, 26 sheep, a pig, a quantity of corn, and other items. The whole was valued at 15 s 22 d. This record reflects the same Norman impulse toward meticulous administration that produced the Domesday Book.

The name of Reginald le Duc is listed in Yorkshire in 1199,19 and takes the same form as that of the Normans in southern England, but there is no evidence that he established a family line there.




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