DUKE, Richard (by 1515-72), of London and Otterton, Devon.
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Family and Education
b. by 1515, 1st s. of Henry Duke by Maud, da. of Roger White. educ. I. Temple, adm. 8 Feb. 1533. m. (1) by Apr. 1539, Elizabeth, da. of John Franke of Yorks., 1da.; (2) settlement 20 Apr. 1562, Joan, da. of Thomas Hoby or Halby of London, wid. of William Pantin of London and John Sprint of Bristol, Glos. 1s. d.v.p.2
Clerk, ct. augmentations 1536-54; j.p. Devon 1547-d., Dorset, Mdx., Som. 1547; commr. relief, Devon, Dorset, Exeter 1550; sheriff, Devon 1563-4.3
Richard Duke, the grandson of an Exeter merchant, was appointed clerk of the council of the court of augmentations at the establishment of the court in 1536 and held the office until its dissolution, when he was granted an annuity of £133 6s.8d. in recompense for the cancellation of his life grant. As clerk he was well placed to take advantage of the distribution of monastic and chantry land. His earliest acquisition was the lease of Pilton priory, Devon, in December 1536 and his first large purchase was in February 1540 of the manors of East Budleigh and Otterton, Devon, for nearly £1,730. The Dukes are said to have lived at Otterton from the time of Edward III and the manor became Richard Duke’s chief residence outside London; before this he had had a home in Colchester. He further increased his land holding in the west country in the 1540s, buying in 1542 the manor of Templecombe, Somerset, in 1544 the island of Brownsea, Dorset, in 1546 the manors of Weston, Dorset and (with his brother John Duke) Collaton Abbot, Devon, and receiving by royal grants Upper Budleigh and (with his brother) manors in Devon and Somerset. Duke also speculated in property and negotiated transactions on behalf of others.