DUCKETT, John (c.1580-1648), of Calstone House, Calne, Wilts.; later of Hartham, Corsham, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

b. c.1580, 2nd. s. of Stephen Duckett† (d.1591) of Calstone House and Anne, da. and coh. of Humphrey Baskerville, alderman of London; bro. of Lionel†.1 educ. Brasenose, Oxf. 1592 aged 12.2 m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Elkington of Glos. and wid. of Roger Chiver (d.1602) of Quemerford, Wilts., s.p.;3 (2) 6 Apr. 1619,4 Jane (bur. 14 Apr. 1642), da. of William Winter of Coleford, Glos., 2s. suc. bro. Lionel 1609. bur. 27 Oct. 1648.5

Offices Held

Capt. militia ft. Wilts. 1608-at least 1611,6 sheriff 1628-9,7 j.p. 1633-42,8 commr. assessment 1641-2.9

Col. (roy.) 1642-5.10


John Duckett belonged to the Wiltshire branch of an old Westmorland gentry family. His grandfather, who hailed from Flintham, Nottinghamshire, acquired the Wiltshire manor of Trowbridge Dauntsey through a marriage settlement with the widow of Charles Dauntsey.11 Duckett’s great-uncle, Sir Lionel (d.1585), lord mayor of London in 1573, purchased the manors of Calne and Calstone, and the advowson of Calne parish, in 1572. The bulk of his estates in Wiltshire and Somerset descended to Duckett’s father, Stephen, after the death of Sir Lionel’s widow, Lady Jane.12 By Stephen’s will of 1591, Duckett received £300 together with land in Gotton, Somerset, but he inherited the bulk of his father’s lands in Wiltshire and Dorset in 1609, when his elder brother Lionel died unmarried and without issue.13 A partial list of Duckett’s rented properties drawn up in 1622 shows an annual rental income of more than £80.14

Duckett’s father was a freeman of the London Mercers’ Company, and his uncle, Sir Lionel, was one of the more prominent Merchant Adventurers who invested considerable sums in journeys to discover a North-West Passage.15 It is possible that in 1599 Duckett himself may have invested some of the money inherited from his father’s estate in a shared venture of £200 with William Halliday, a merchant of the East India Company.16 Duckett should not be confused, however, with a London merchant of the same name who was contracted to supply lead to the Spanish Crown and was involved in 1627 in a long dispute with the duke of Buckingham concerning impounded ships laden with a large quantity of cloth.17

In August 1608 Duckett was appointed captain of a company of foot, part of Sir Henry Bayntun’s* regiment, replacing the recently deceased incumbent. He was still holding the post in 1611 when he was reported to be unable to muster due to a broken leg.18 As his influence as a landowner was restricted to Calne and the neighbouring parishes, he did not achieve higher office until appointed sheriff for Wiltshire in 1628. He finally became a magistrate five years later. His estate was deemed sufficient for him to contribute £30 towards a loan to the Crown in about 1611, while in 1631 he was fined £28 for not taking a knighthood at Charles’s coronation - the sixth highest penalty in the county.19

In serving Calne in Parliament, Duckett emulated his father Stephen (1584, 1586) and brother Lionel (1601), and like them his work in the House was inconspicuous.20 In both Parliaments in which he sat he was named to a single committee concerned with the sale of the Wiltshire estates of the debtor Thomas Redferne (16 Mar. 1621; 17 Mar. 1624).21 He is not recorded as having made any speeches, and no other official appointments were offered to him.

Duckett’s second marriage, in 1619, allied him with the Winter family, who sided with the king during the Civil War. Duckett himself served as a colonel in the king’s army, and is said to have escaped a siege of his country seat, Calstone House, which was burned down soon afterwards, by hiding in a coffin as it was passed through enemy lines.22 Despite his royalist activities, there is no evidence that Duckett compounded for delinquency. Although buried at Calne on 27 Oct. 1648, he was described as being of Hartham in Corsham, Wiltshire when administration of his estate was granted to his son William on 1 July 1650.23 His eldest son, William†, sat for Calne three times between 1659 and 1678, with a similar lack of distinction.24

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-cvi), 51-2.
  • 2. Al. Ox.
  • 3. Vis. Wilts. 38, 52.
  • 4. IGI.
  • 5. Vis. Wilts. 52; Wilts. RO, 2081/1, unfol.
  • 6. Earl of Hertford’s Ltcy. Pprs. ed. W.P.D. Murphy (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 122, 172.
  • 7. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 154.
  • 8. C231/5, pp. 99, 529.
  • 9. SR, v. 67, 89, 156.
  • 10. T.E. Duckett, Duckett Fam. Hist. 46.
  • 11. Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. ed. Foster, 39; VCH Wilts. vii. 130.
  • 12. VCH Wilts., xvii. 65, 127; E331/5, p. 7; PROB 11/72, ff. 68-9v; G.F. Duckett, Duchetiana, 35-7.
  • 13. PROB 11/77, ff. 265v-6; 11/114, f. 395v; C142/230/35; 142/314/151.
  • 14. Wilts. RO, 212B/982.
  • 15. CSP Col. E.I. 1513-1616, pp. 11, 55, 60.
  • 16. Ibid. 100; Duckett, 89, where the author erroneously states that William Halliday, later an alderman and ld. mayor of London, and gov. of the E.I. Co., made a John Duckett a beneficiary in his will: cf. PROB 11/143, f. 161v.
  • 17. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 17; APC, 1627, p. 20; PROB 11/312, f. 294v.
  • 18. Earl of Hertford’s Ltcy. Pprs. 121-2, 172.
  • 19. Ibid. 183; E178/5702.
  • 20. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 59-60.
  • 21. CJ, i. 556a, 688a.
  • 22. Duckett, Duckett Fam. Hist. 46.
  • 23. Wilts. RO, 2081/1, unfol.; PROB 6/25, f. 119v.
  • 24. HP Commons, 1660-1690, ii. 239.