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Fay Sampson’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)

Sampson Tree




GEORGE EDWORTHY appears in the Cheldon registers in 1710, when he brought his son Richard to St Mary’s be baptised. There were two George Edworthys fathering children at this time, and it was necessary to distinguish between them. Richard’s father was ‘George Edworthy cripple’ and the other one ‘George Edworthy collier’.

It is probable, though not certain, that these two Georges are the same as the two George Edworthys who married in Cheldon shortly before this.

Marriages. St Mary, Cheldon.

1699  Noembr 12th  George Edworthy & Mary Harle were married.

The date is consistent with this being the son of John and Margaret Edworthy. This would make George 24 at the time of his marriage, a typical age.

Lewis Harle’s name appears as churchwarden in 1704. This was another established Cheldon family.

Febr 14th  1708(9)  George Edworthy & Mary Olden de Cheldon

We should expect this second George to have been born in the early 1680s. We have not found his baptism. There is a break in the Cheldon registers from 1682-4, making it likely that this was when George was born. The fact that he named his first son Richard, makes it highly probable that his father was Richard Edworthy.

In the previous generation, there were only two Edworthys having children baptised in the 1670s and 80s: John and Richard.

The younger George’s mother was Elizabeth. We do not know her maiden name.


If we are correct about George’s parentage, then he was probably the middle one of five children.

As an adult, he appears as “George Edworthy cripple”. We do not know whether he had been disabled from birth, or whether this condition was caused later by accident or illness.

He became a tailor.

                                                            The Little Dart valley from Cheldon


MARY OLDEN. The marriage entry in the registers calls them “George Edworthy & Mary Olden de Cheldon”. “de Cheldon” or “of Cheldon” follows other couples on the same page. It means that both were resident in Cheldon.

We have not found Mary’s baptism in Cheldon or in any other parish. Nor is there any other Olden recorded in Cheldon.

She is likely to have been born in the 1680s. David and Mary Olden were having children baptised then in the village of Puddington, 5 miles east of Cheldon, but Mary’s name does not appear among them. Her origins must lie in a parish whose early registers are missing or not yet available online.


Distinguishing the children of the two George Edworthys is made more difficult by the fact that both married women named Mary.


The marriage of the first couple, George Edworthy and Mary Harle in 1699, is followed by the baptism in Cheldon of Francese, daughter of George and Mary Edworthy, in June 1700.

There is then a nine-year gap. Perhaps they moved to another parish.

Then follow in quick succession another two baptisms.

Baptisms. St Mary, Cheldon.

Nov 28th 1709  Henry son of George Edworthy collier.

Jan 3d 1709/10  Richard son of George Edworthy cripple.

There is no certain way to distinguish between these two fathers, but the name Richard points to this being the younger George of the two, and the husband of Mary Olden.


The occupation of Henry’s father may seem at first sight surprising. In modern usage, a collier is a coal miner or a sailor on a coal boat, neither of them likely occupations in mid-Devon. But in earlier times the same term was used for a charcoal burner.


Being a ‘cripple’ in the 18th century had serious economic implications. Many occupations would have been closed to George. He could easily have ended up ‘on the parish’. But if, as is likely, the burial in 1750 for George Edworthy, Tayler, is his, then he found a viable way to support his family. Seven years after Richard’s birth, John Edworthy, Tayler, also had a son Richard, though he died in infancy. George and John may well be brothers, sons of the older Richard Edworthy, or at least cousins. They may have shared a family business.

George’s father died in 1712. His grandmother, Ann Edworthy, was one of seven ratepayers in Cheldon, living at Henroost. It is probable that this also became George’s home. It was in the centre of the village, on the northern edge of the small triangle formed by the road past the church and another at 60º to it. There is no longer a building there. In a rate assessment of 1711, Henroost is rated as joint sixth out of seven properties, paying 2d. The highest rate is 1s 10d. There was a very small plot of land attached to it. The Edworthys were far from the richest in Cheldon, but their status as ratepayers still ranked them among the leading householders.


The following year, we have “The Account of George Edworthy Church Warden for ye yeare 1713”. This is the office his father Richard Edworthy performed on behalf of his grandmother Ann Edworthy in 1683. Churchwardens in Cheldon were chosen from among those seven principal ratepayers of the parish.

George’s condition as a “cripple” did not prevent him from becoming an active and respected parishioner.

His accounts deal mainly with the upkeep of the church building. The largest expenditure was £4.10.0 “for 3 Thousand of sheendell”. These were wooden shingles for the roof. There was a further £3 “for laying of it”. £1.4.0 went on “Bread & Wine for four Communeons”. It sounds as though the whole congregation only took communion quarterly. There is £1.3.6 “for Ringing & oyle ye 5 November”. There was a annual service of thanksgiving on that date to remember the preservation of the royal family and Parliament on 5 Nov 1605, when the Gunpowder Plot failed. 3s was “pd to A Traveller”. It was the parish officers’ responsibility to help travellers on their way, so that they did not stay to become a burden on the Poor Rate.


Two years later, there was another baptism.

July 25 1715  Ann ye daughter of George Edworthy.

It may not have been necessary to distinguish this George Edworthy because he was by then the only adult of that name in Cheldon, but we cannot be sure of this.


One of the Marys died the following year.

Burial. St Mary, Cheldon

Decemr 19  1716  Mary ye wife of George Edworthy.

The likelihood is that this was the churchwarden’s wife. We have no burial for a second Mary Edworthy. It seems the George Edworthy, collier, had moved away from Cheldon, as he seems to have done earlier.


In 1717 the churchwardens’ accounts again mention George Edworthy. The handwriting is very difficult to read.

Pd at ? …………………? of George Edworthy at ye Clarkes  0 – 0 – 7

There is a possibility that one of the hard-to-read words is Henroost.


On 23 Oct 1723 George Edworthy of Cheldon went to the Old Bell Inn in Chulmleigh, along with a number of other men and some women from Chulmleigh and the nearby parishes. He took the Oath of Loyalty before William Fellowes and Bampfield Rodd esqs. He signed his name with the initial E. The oath affirmed his loyalty to George I and his opposition to the Catholic religion. This requirement followed the Attenbury Plot to assassinate the king.


No further reference to George has been found until this burial.

Burial. St Mary, Cheldon

1750  B  George Edworthy, Tayler was Buried August the 18th  Affid. br. 19th

If this was the son of Richard and Elizabeth Edworthy, born in 1682-4, then he would have been in his late 60s.







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