Duke Genealogy
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Family tradition is that our ancestor was Robert Duke of Newpark, Sligo, Ireland who lived in the 17th century; but there is a gap in the family tree which successive family historians have tried to fill. There was another Duke in that location, John Duke, and it is equally possible we are descended from him. We know with some certainty of our lineage from the Rev. William Duke who fathered William Alexander Duke who married Anne Pace in 1809. This was set out in a note written by Edward St.Arnaud Duke (1854-1939) - my great grandfather's brother. The Rev. William Duke was their great grandfather. Despite marrying Louisa Duke, who could trace her ancestry to John Duke and his son Robert, the link eluded my great-great-uncle and has remained unsolved by successive family historians for over 150 years, despite the advantages brought by the World Wide Web..

There are different lines to follow since a John Duke and a Robert Duke were both granted land. John Duke hand a son called Robert, who in turn had six sons - Abraham, John, Robert, William, Charles and Richard. The published lineage of the Dukes of Newpark follows John's descendents from his marriage to Hatton Traffe. The lines of the younger sons are not recorded in Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland which follows the direct lineage from John Duke to the Rev.Roger Philip of Newpark.

That these Dukes arrived in Sligo in the 17th century as Cromwellian settlers (he paid off his army by giving them land in Ireland) is well documented. The earliest mentions of the title I have found were in the commission of January 1655 which gave land to John Duke and Robert Duke in the barony of Corran and in the 1659 census of Sligo). [see: Land grant in Sligo]

In his 1909  A genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre family, Samuel Gordon Smyth gives an informative summary of the Duke family in Ireland, but alas this does not help us with the missing link. An extract appears below.

David O'Carroll
September 2012




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The genealogy of the Dukes of Sligo is available through the resources link.This runs from Robert Duke to the present day.

See also obituaries.

An extract from A genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre family by Samuel Gordon Smyth [pps 260-261]

The downfall of the monarchy under Charles I. and the success of the army of the Commonwealth became a fruitful opportunity for Cromwell to reward his friends and victorious followers by giving them grants of land in Ireland. By Acts of Parliament beginning in 1642 and ceasing in 1646 liberal advantages had been offered to Englishmen to " plant " in Ireland, particularly in the Province of Ulster, where it had been proposed to propagate a settlement of English and Scotch to offset the native Irish on land formerly held by the Irish chieftain O'Neil, but had now been confiscated by the Crown for the treasonable practices of the Ulster earl in 1641. In the period 16421646 subscriptions for " adventures " for land in Ireland were opened. The conditions were easy. Upon payment of £200 one thousand acres of land were to be allotted to every subscriber who would comply with the terms and conditions. The portents of war coming on delayed this scheme, but it did not altogether stop its operation, for in 1653 preparations were made for setting out these lands to the satisfaction of the subscribers under the Acts of 16421646. By this time, 1653, and in consequence of the war, many of the original subscribers had died, disappeared, or had assigned their rights, titles and claims to other parties, who subsequently enrolled, so that by this year these Irish lands were divided between the remaining original subscribers, the " adventurers," or their successors, the English army and the State, so that the provisions of the Acts of Parliament referred to were carried out under somewhat changed conditions than originally contemplated (O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees, Vol. II., p. 698), and many of the Cromwellian soldiers were given land debentures which were largely bought up, or otherwise passed into the possession of their officers and others interested in the absorption of Irish plantations (Prendergast's "Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland," 
2d ed., pp. 2045, 251, 4034) 

Oliver Cromwell had fought in Ireland during the monarchy and among his troopers disbanded in County Sligo, in 1643, was one of the name of Duke, said to have been a cadet of the house of Benhall, in Suffolk, England (O'Hart's Landed Gentry When Cromwell Came to Ireland, p. 18). This Duke was granted a tract of land at NewPark County Sligo, for which he paid one thousand marks ; here he settled and established a family — the Dukes of NewPark. John Duke, a son of this trooper, was a " titulador," meaning a person liable for poll or head-tax on their title as gentleman, esquire, etc. (men and women over fifteen
years of age were liable for poll-tax in Ireland, and there were other forms of taxation : for hearth-money, chimney, etc., in the period 16601669). He died in 1679, leaving a son Robert, who died in 1731.