Duke Family

The Dukes are an extensive farming family spread across the borderland parishes of north Essex and south Cambridgeshire. Over the generations they have been the ultimate farmers, as regardless of how many sons were born, each one in time was found a farm. Some farms have seen Dukes return more than once in later generations to take the reins again.

They are worth a book in their own right. Some sons did follow other trades, although farming was always first choice! They also tended to marry well. Having known some of the family over the years, they have been researched deeply and there is a Duke family tree stretching some 26 feet wide.

Here we will stick with their involvement with Steeple Morden!


The Duke Lineage

John and Emma Matilda had two children Albert George born 1884 and Percy John born 1887. Sadly, wife Emma died in September 1888 and just over a year later John re-married to Emma’s sister Fanny Hutcherson. The marriage took place on 28 October 1889 at St James’ Church in the parish of St James’ Highway, Enfield, with both parties giving 22 Sutherland Road, Ponders End as their place of residence and witnesses were Arthur Handscombe and Agnes Handscombe. One can only ponder, although to what end, as to the reason for the wedding taking place away from their home parishes of Litlington and Abington Pigotts?

The newly weds returned to John’s previous marital home at the Darby & Joan. In 1891 they had a son Harold, who died shortly after birth.

At some point, between 1892-1895 John Duke and his second wife Fanny moved to Orchard Cottage, Hay Street, Steeple Morden and on 31st March 1901 they are recorded living at Orchard Cottage with their son Percy John and George Cannon described as uncle age 80 living on “own means”. Orchard Cottage was actually owned by George.


Last Updated on August 9, 2020