Henry Duke, like his forebears, was born in the Isle of Wight, in 1819. They can presently be
traced back to 1590.
He became much respected as an
agriculturalist and was offered the tenancy of Lord Alington's farms in Dorset. He farmed extensively at Burleston,
Broadmayne and Woodsford near Dorchester. Lord Alington and Henry Duke were said to be close friends. Lord Alington
used to visit Henry Duke's farmhouse in the evenings where they would talk into the small hours drinking port by the
decanter and disposing of the glasses into the fireplace so no one else could use them.
Woodsford was said to have the reputation of having one of the best mixed shoots
in Dorset where generous bags of pheasant, partridge, woodcock
snipe and duck regularly were taken. This was probably so if Lord Alington had anything to do with it.
His first wife was Jane Neale of Toller Porcorum. They had one son named George Henry. He moved to Newport,
Isle of Wight between 1861 and 1871 and was residing there is 1931
After Jane's death in 1852 he married Emma Lucy from Chelmsford and had seven children with her. Emma died in 1879.
The children were Henry 1854-1923, Robert born 1856, Thomas 1856-1937, Annie Born 1858, Edward Barnabus born 1859,
Emma Olivia 1860-1870 and Marian Constance 1863-1938
Robert lived with his parents at Woodsford and was a corn merchant. He married Eleanor and had four daughters and
a son named William who became a publican in Wincanton.
Thomas Duke married Mary Harriet Georgina Jacob. He farmed with his father at Woodsford . They had a daughter,
Catherine Rachel (later Templar). He was a Labour party candidate (This would not have impressed Lord Alington!)
and churchwarden at Woodsford. He died in 1937
Emma died at the age of 10 and was buried at Woodsford.
Annie married Robert Bell on 23rd June 1884. He was a director of Hanley's Brewery in Oxford.
Marian Constance was the first woman in Dorchester to ride a bicycle. She worked for the Red Cross and died a
spinster in 1958
His third wife was Marian Street. She was the sister of his second wife. They were married in Belgium because their
marriage in England was not considered legal. He died on 11th March 1897 and was buried at Woodsford. Marian
survived him by 26 years and died in 1923. They had no children.
In 1878 he founded the firm of Henry Duke and Son in Dorchester. It seems clear that he used his farming knowledge to advise,
sell, value, etc. The Dorset County Chronicle and Somersetshire Gazette dated 14th
March carried the following advertisement:-