Land grant in Sligo
                                                            Dukes of Sligo

Family tradition is that our ancestor was Robert Duke of Newpark, Ballmote, Co.Sligo, Ireland who died about 1677 but there is a gap in the family tree which I am trying to fill. There was another Duke in that location, John Duke, and it is equally possible we are descended from him. The tradition is that these Dukes arrived in Sligo in the 17th century as Cromwellian settlers (he paid off his army by giving them land in Ireland). However, O'Hart's Landed Gentry When Cromwell Came to Ireland has it that a trooper named Duke was a cadet of the house of Benhall, in Suffolk, England. He was granted the tract of land at New-Park for which he paid one thousand marks. John Duke was his son.

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 below).

In Sir Bernard Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland (1912 edition) he states: "By deed dated 14 April 1662, the lands of Kinkreevin, co Sligo, were granted by Richard Coote, Baron of Collooney, on behalf of the Crown to John Duke who was one of the Cromwellian tituladoes. He died before 1679, and was succeeded by his eldest son Robert Duke..."

Ballymote, Sligo, has a long and colourful history. The name means Homestead of the Mound, from the Gaelic Baile an Mhota. It has the ruins of the Franciscan Friary where the fourteenthth-century Book of Ballymote was written. This document, which supplied the key to the ancient Ogham script (used for writing the Irish and Pictish languages on stone monuments), is now in the Royal Academy Dublin.


last updated September 2012
Landed Gentry added 2012
+ Time & Place
updated May 2006

1655 Commission
In a commission dated 10th day of January 1655 Major William SHEPHERD, Major John FOLLIOTT, Captain Charles HOLCROFTON, Captain Jo. EYRE, Captain John HOLLSHAW, Edward CROFTON, and William WEBB, Esq were empowered to sett out by lott 63,130 acres in the baronies of Tirera and Carbury, in satisfaction of money due to Cromwell's disbanded officers and soldiers. Ultimately it was extended to the other baronies. The Protestant population of Sligo at this time was 140 After the commission it rose to 481. O'Rorke maintains the Tituladoes were set down on points of vantage, near the chief roads or passes, opposite fords and bridges and in the county town.

In the barony of Corran:
John DUKE, Robert DUKE, John GEALE, Donnel CONALLAN, John CLIFFORD, Edward HILL, Henry BIERAST, and John HOULDER, in Kilmorgan.
Francis KING, and William WEBB in Emlaghfad.
Timothy HOUSE in Cloonoghill.
Richard MEREDITH in Kilshalvey.
Robert KING in Tumour.

A Census of Ireland, circa 1659
Sligoe (Sligo) County
The following has been transcribed from 'A Census of Ireland, c. 1659, with Supplementary Material from the Poll Money Ordinances (1660-1661)' edited by Séamus Pender, and published by the Stationery Office, Dublin in 1939. Parishes and placenames as found in the 1851 'General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland' , originally published in Dublin in 1861, and re-printed by the Genealogical Publishing Company Inc., 1997, have been added in brackets beside the placenames as spelled in 'A Census of Ireland - when identifiable.

According to Pender, W. H. Hardinge, M.R.I.A., announced his discovery of what has since been known as the Census of Ireland, (1659), in a paper read before the Royal Irish Academy in 1864.
The term 'Titulado', which appears through these returns, refers to the principal person or persons of standing in any locality ; such a person could have been of either sex, a nobleman, baronet, gentleman, esquire, military officer, or adventurer. A Titulado may have been a land-owner, but did not necessarily own land.

This census, does not give the names of individuals in any townland - other than those of the titullado or titulladoes. For each parish, we are given the surnames of the Irish people who lived in that parish, and the number of times that each surname occurs. We are given the total number of people who lived in any townland, and how many of them were Irish or English. The placename spellings for the most part differ to those of 1851, and in some cases, it may be that the barony boundaries changed post 1659, so that while a townland is found listed in the Townlands directory of 1851, the barony that it is listed under differs from that of 1659. The same seems to occur at the parish level.

Killmurran Parish (Kilmorgan)
No. of People : 20
English : 6 ; Irish : 14
Tituladoes Names: John Duke, gent; John Geale, gent.

No. of People : 14
English : 0 ; Irish : 14
Tituladoes Names: Robert Duke, gent

A list of people owning one acre or more in co.Sligo c.1870
   12. Alexander Duke, address Proby-square, Blackrock, and Newpark, Balllymote, owned 1,031 acres in Co. Sligo valued at 661 pounds 14 shillings.

   13. Jemmett Duke, address Newpark, Ballymote, owned 3,285 acres in Co. Sligo valued at 1,734 pounds 2 shillings.

   14. Laurence Duke, address Newport, owned 276 acres in Co. Sligo valued at 230 pounds.

Some of the owners lived outside of Co. Sligo
Many owned less than one acre


Extract from: Time & Place - The Merediths of County Sligo by Lex Johnson (Queensland, Australia).

The Duke family of Co Sligo descended from either John Duke or Robert Duke, Scottish soldiers who settled in the county when a parliamentary regiment disbanded there in the 1650s. Both John and Robert were titulados in the parish of Lilmorgan, John possibly for the townland of Kincreevin and Robert possibly for the townland of Cloonagashel. Of these two men, only John was taxed for haiving a hearth in his house in 1665.

In 1717, William Duke, eldest son of John Duke, gent of Tawlaght in Co Leitrim, married Jane, daughter of Thomas Irwin, gent of Camlin in Co Roscommon. John's wife at the time was named Esther Lloyd.

On 27 September 1735, Robert Duke and Alexander Duke, both gentlemen of Kincreevin, agreed to lease 104 acres at Bellanalack, also known as Knocknaglore, from the Right Honourable Owen Wynne of the town of Sligo. The lease began on 25 March 1737 and continued during the three lives of this Alexander Duke, Henry Meredith, the eleven year old son of Charles Meredith, and George Duke, the three year old son of Richard Duke of Giddan.

In 1746, Robert Duke, farmer of Carrowreagh, witnessed an agreement whereby John McKenzie of Sessuecommon leased all the land at Tullyvellia held by Francis Ormsby of Willowbrook.

In 1749, Charles Duke, son of the lately deceased Robert Duke of Kinkreevin, married Alice Carter, daughter of Henry Carter, gent of Rusheen.

Also in 1749, a number of men named Duke lived in the diocese of Elphin, which covered the eastern part of Co Sligo. Those men included Robert Duke, farmer at Hollybrook, Charles Duke, farmer at Behy in the parish of Tawnagh, and William Duke, apothecary in Sligo Town.

In 1750, Alexander Duke, son of Robert Duke of Kincreevin, was about to marry Elizabeth, daughter of Philip Ormsby of Behy. In the complicated marriage agreement, Alexander' father Robert was to transfer the lands of Bellanalack and Knockraver to Philip. Philip already leased the lands of Behy in the parish of Kilmoremoy from Edward Wingfield since 1719. Robert had another son, John Duke, who married Hatten, daughter of George Taafe, in 1734.

The sources for the above extract are listed in the published version of this piece of family research. ISBN 978-0-9806333-0-6