Matthias & Ann Duck of Wiltshire

Matthias Duck, son of Cain, a baker, and Elizabeth, was born in Blackland, Wiltshire, 0n 16th February 1821 and baptised there in 18th March. In 1841 he was staying with his uncle, Abel Duck, in Pickwick, Corsham. Both Abel and Matthias were shown as carpenters. On 27th November 1844, at the age of 24, Matthias joined Wiltshire constabulary.

Ann Adams, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth, was born on 6th March 1830 and baptised in Chisledon, Wiltshire, on 11th April.

Matthias, a police constable, and Ann married in Swindon parish church on 6th August 1849 and their known children were:


born 2 Aug 1850

bapt. 25 Aug 1850


Q4 1852

bapt. 19 Dec 1852

Albert Tudor

Q3 1855

bapt. 11 Nov 1855

Walter Sydney

Q3 1859

bapt. 12 Jan 1862

Elizabeth Ellen

Q4 1861

bapt. 12 Jan 1862


Q2 1864

Wootton Bassett


Q3 1865

Semley, Wiltshire

Edwin Nathan

Q1 1872

Ramsbury, Wiltshire

view of the Boorough Arms
the 'Castle and Ball' now the 'Borough Arms'

Matthias was promoted to sergeant on 13th February 1850 and the 1851 census shows the family living ‘in Coxtalls’ in Wootton Bassett, where their first five children were baptised.

However, he resigned on 24th March 1858 and the 1861 census shows him as a baker and innkeeper at the ‘Castle and Ball’, in Wootton Bassett High Street with their first four children. The Castle and Ball has since reverted to its original name of the Borough Arms.

He re-enlisted on 26th June 1864, giving his age as 39yr 6mths, when in fact he was 43. The upper age limit of the constabulary was 40. His service record shows that he had a dark/florid complexion, dark eyes and was 5'9"/5'10" tall.

In 1871 he was again shown as a police sergeant, this time living in Ramsbury High Street, along with all their children apart from Agnes, who was in service as a nurse, and Louisa, who was staying as housekeeper to two uncles and her grandmother, Elizabeth Duck, in Stockley.

Matthias was dismissed from the police force on 13th March 1875 with no reason given. On Louisa’s marriage certificate in 1879 Matthias’ occupation was given as carpenter.

Matthias died, aged 59, and was buried in Pilning, Gloucestershire, on 23th January 1881.

At the 1881 census Ann was shown as a coffee house keeper living in New Passage Road, Henbury, Gloucester, apparently between Darks Cottage and Salt House, with Elizabeth, Ruth and Edwin.

In 1891 Ann was living at 6 Berwick Street, Bristol, with her son Edwin. She appears to have died before the 1901 census.

Of their children:

  • Louisa married William Newns, a Methodist minister, in 1879.
  • Agnes was a servant in Ramsbury in 1871 and in 1881 she was in Swindon with a 2-year-old son William, probably the son of Robert Williams, hairdresser, for whom she was working as a housekeeper.  She must have died (possibly in 1887 as Agnes Williams, although no marriage has been found) as by 1891 Robert had moved to Ramsgate, married and was bringing up William as his son William Williams.
  • Albert was a foreman railway porter in 1881 living in New Passage Road with his wife Rosa (born ca. 1851, Redwick, Glos, marriage reg. Barton Regis Q4 1880). They are known to have had four children:

    Albert Mathias

    Q4 1881

    Pilning, Glos.

    Rosa A

    ca. 1883

    Pilning, Glos.

    James Edwin 

    Q1 1886

    Pilning, Glos.

    Walter Ernest

    Q4 1887

    Bristol, Glos.

    By 1891 Albert had become a passenger train guard for the Great Western Railway and they were living at 40 Winstanley Street, Bristol. By 1901 they had moved to 141 William Street in Swindon. Albert was still a guard and his son Albert was a locomotive fireman. Rosa was a board school pupil teacher and James was a railway clerk. In 1911 the family were still in Swindon living at 76 Rosebery Street. Albert died later that year, aged 56.

  • Walter was a gardener in 1881 lodging in Llandenny, Monmouthshire. Later that year he married Elizabeth Martin and then went to live in Maidstone, Kent, her home town. Walter worked as a gardener in Maidstone Cemetery and they lived at 1 Pheasant Cottage, just off Loose Lane with their children, all born in Maidstone:

    Walter Sydney

    ca. 1881


    Q4 1883

    Ruth Maud 

    Q2 1885

    died Q1 1901 aged 15

    Lizzie Agnes

    Q1 1887

    Albert William

    Q2 1889


    Q4 1891

    died Q1 1892


    Q3 1892

    died Q3 1893


    Q2 1894

    Ann Mabel

    Q2 1902

    Eva May

    Q2 1905

    By 1911 they had moved to 2 Sherwold Villas in Loose, near Maidstone, and Walter was working as a domestic gardener. Their married daughter, Louisa, and daughter-in-law Minnie, Albert’s wife were visiting them, both with children born in Ontaria, Canada. Walter died in Ontario in 1921.

  • Elizabeth was a dairy maid in 1881 and in 1888 she married her mother’s cousin, Albert Gosling, who had been living in Wanborough with Elizabeth’s grandmother, Elizabeth Adams. Albert was a farmer and he and Elizabeth lived in Wanborough and still had Elizabeth Adams living with them until she died in 1907, aged 99. Albert died in 1906, aged 56. Their children were:

    Albert Tudor

    Q4 1888


    Frances John

    Q3 1890



    Q4 1892


    Annie Louisa

    Q4 1895


    In 1911, Elizabeth was running Artes? Farm in Swindon Road, Wroughton, along with her three sons. Elizabeth died in 1922.

  • Ruth married John Phillips, a cabinet maker from Pembrokeshire, in 1888 and in 1891 they were living at 5 Lansdown View in Bath. They had one child:

    John Henry W

    Q4 1892


    Ruth had died by 1901.

  • Edwin became a railway porter and married Susan Trask in 1892. In 1901 they were living at 4 Wolseley Road in Bristol with their two children:

    Ellen Louisa (or Louisa E)

    ca. 1892

    Eastville, Bristol

    George Edwin ( Edwin G)

    ca. 1894

    Eastville, Bristol

    By 1911 they had moved to Chippenham and were living at 20 Park Lane and their son George was also working for GWR as a bookstall clerk.