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)



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ELIZABETH MARIA LEE was born in 1865 in St Budeaux, then a village suburb on the northwest edge of Devonport. It overlooks the Hamoaze, where the Tamar broadens out before Plymouth Sound and where ships of the Royal Navy anchor.

She was the fifth child of Richard Lee and Charlotte Hutchings.


Baptism. St Budeaux. October 1, 1865.

Elizabeth Maria. Richard & Charlotte Lee. St Budeaux. Labourer on Govt Works.


After working on the naval dockyard, her father returned to his previous occupation as a farm labourer.

1871 Census. St Budeaux. Village. 10 St Budeaux.

Richard Lee   Head Mar   45 Agricultural Labourer Exeter

Charlotte “   Wife Mar   45       Mortonhampstead

Richard Lee   Son     10 Scholar   St Budeaux

Elizabeth “   Daur     5   “       “

Charles A “   Son     4 “       “

Emma C “   Daur     2         “

William Truscott Boarder Unm 47 Agricultural Labourer   “


By the time she was fifteen Elizabeth was apprenticed to a dressmaker.

1881 Census. St Budeaux. 10 St Budeaux

Richard LEE Head M 55 M Ag Laborer Exeter

Charlotte LEE Wife M 55 F Morton Hampstead

Elizabeth M. LEE Daur U 15 F Dress Maker (Apprentice) St Budeaux

Charles LEE Son 13 M Scholar St Budeaux

Emma C. LEE Daur 11 F Scholar St Budeaux


On 18 Jan 1888 she married William Wallace Norton in St Budeaux church. He was a sergeant in the 3 rd Devonshire Regiment, stationed in Plymouth. Their first home was in Mutley, just north of Plymouth city centre. They may have been living in Mutley Barracks, as Elizabeth was in the 1901 census.

They had two children there.

Baptism. St Budeaux

1889 Jan 6 William Wallace. William Wallace and Elizabeth Maria Norton. Mutley. Sergeant, 3rd Devon Regt.


In 1891, William was away, probably on active service in Egypt, defending the Suez Canal, as her second husband John Sampson was. Elizabeth and her 2-year-old son are living with her married sister Emma and her new family 9 West Park, St Budeaux.

1891 Census. 9 West Park, St Budeaux

Henry C Snell   Head   M   42   Builder     Quithuck, Cornwall

Emma C Snell   Wife   M   22       St Budeaux, Devon

Reginald H Snell   Son        2       St Budeaux, Devon

Elizabeth M Norton   Sister-in-law   M   25       St Budeaux, Devon

William W Norton   Nephew      2       St Budeaux, Devon


A few months later, a daughter was baptised at St Budeaux. It would appear that William had returned and the couple were again living in Mutley.

1891 June 14 Emily Eveline. William Wallace & Elizabeth Maria Norton. Mutley. Sergeant, 3rd Devon Regt.

Although they were then living near the centre of Plymouth, they brought their children to be baptised at the parish church on St Budeaux Green, where Elizabeth’s parents lived.

When William Norton retired from the army, the family moved to West Park Terrace. This was on the northern fringe of the city, east of St Budeaux, in the Honicknowle/Crownhill area. Here a third child was born. William took work as a labourer.

1894 Dec 9 Winifred Charlotte. William Wallace & Elizabeth Maria Norton. 8 West Park Terrace. Labourer.


Elizabeth’s father died in 1892. In the second quarter of 1896 her first husband, William, also died. On 25 April 1898 she married John Sampson at St Budeaux church. John was also a sergeant in the 3rd Devonshire Regiment. It is quite likely that he was already a family friend. The couple continued to live in West Park Terrace, with Elizabeth’s three children.

Eight months later a son was born.

Edmer Ismail born 30 December 1898. Registered: Stoke District. Plymouth.


Baptism: St Budeaux.

Jan 1899. Edmer Ismail. John & Elizabeth Maria Sampson. 8 West Park Terrace. Sergeant. 3 rd Devon Regt.


Edmer was named after an Anglo-Saxon saint, but from the time when he joined the Royal Marines at 15, he was known as Edmar.


In the 1901 census, John is not registered with the family. He must have been with his regiment elsewhere. Elizabeth , pregnant again, was living at Mutley Barracks with three of the children. William, aged 12, was already out at work and not living at home. Although John is not at home, he is counted as head of the family, and the relationships stated are to him.

1901 Census. Plymouth. Mutley Barracks.

Elizabeth M. Sampson   Wife   M    35     St Budeaux

Emily M. Norton    Step-Daur   S   9     Plymouth

Winifred C. do.    Do   S   6     St Budeaux

Edmer I. Sampson    Son   S   2     Plymouth


Twins Sidney and Stanley, were born later that year. Sidney, the older twin’s, birth certificate reads:

Twenty first   July 1901 1.0 pm  Sidney   Boy   Mutley Barracks WD Plymouth

Father John  Sampson Colr Sergeant 3rd Devon Regiment   

Mother Elizabeth Maria  late Norton  formerly Lee  

J Sampson   Twenty  ninth July  1901


They were baptised on 23 October, not at the family church of St Budeaux, but in the parish church of St Andrew in Plymouth. The family’s address was Mutley Barracks, Hyde Park Road. John had been promoted to Colour Sergeant, 3 rd Devonshire Regiment.

A Sunday School prize shows that in 1901 two-year-old Edmer was attending a Wesleyan Sunday School in Mutley. This may have been the influence of Elizabeth’s mother Charlotte , who was brought up a Methodist in Moretonhampstead. The prize, Grandmamma’s Pockets , by Mrs S.C. Hall, was presented to ‘E Sansom for Early and Regular Attendance and Good Conduct During the Year 1901’. It must have been some years before he could read it. The first sentence reads:


‘I do not think I shall ever love her as dearly as I love mamma,’ said Annie Fielder to her maid, a very kind-hearted Irishwoman, and one especially fitted for spoiling children: ‘I do not think I shall ever love as dearly as I love mamma: do you think I ought, Margate?’


The book was later claimed by his younger sister Marie, who wrote her name and address: ‘The Green, St Budeaux, Devonport’, on the flyleaf, and her name twice on the pages. There are cruder scribbles and colouring which may be Edmer’s.


Elizabeth with Marie on her knee. In the back row are the Norton children.

Edmer is by her shoulder, and the twins beside her. c.1907.

John Sampson retired from the army in July 1902. He was still under 40, so this may have been due to ill-health. He could already have been showing signs of the cancer that killed him. The family moved to Elizabeth’s old home on the Green, St Budeaux. In 1906 Marie was born.

In June that year John died of cancer of the tongue, aged 43. He had suffered a haemorrhage for the past 10 months. At 41, with seven children, Elizabeth became a widow for the second time.

The family was left poor. Elizabeth had trained as a dressmaker and the vicar helped her get work, including ‘sewing shirts for soldiers’.

Edmar told his children that Elizabeth used to look after two old women on the Green. She would cut them out of the underwear they had been sewn into all winter and give them their annual wash, scrubbing the mould off the back Elizabeth with her seven children c.1907. of their necks.

In 1909 Edmer was given a place at the Duke of York Royal Military Academy in Dover,

which educated the orphan sons of soldiers.


Edmer was at school in Kent when the 1911 census was taken. Elizabeth was still living on the Green in St Budeaux.

1911 Census. The Green, St Budeaux, Devonport.

Sampson, Elizabeth Maria    Head   Widow   45   St Budeaux, Devon

Sampson, Stanley   Son      9   Mutley Barracks, Plymouth, Devon

Sampson Sidney   Son      9   Mutley Barracks, Plymouth, Devon

Sampson, Marie Elizabeth   Daughter      5   St Budeaux, Devon

Elizabeth was a Housekeeper at Home. The three children of her first marriage to William Norton had grown up and left home. William junior had joned the army. The three younger Sampson children were at school.


Elizabeth does not seem to have lost any children in infancy, as earlier generations did, but several of her children died in their teens, some of TB. In September 1909, Winifred Norton sent a cheery postcard of her half-brother Edmer in his new uniform to her sister Emily, who was then in Honiton. She describes little Marie as ‘a knockout’. Within a year, Winifred was dead at 15, and Marie died at 18. One of the twin boys, Stanley, died at 19.






Elizabeth, Edmar and Marie


Burials: St Budeaux

Winifred Charlotte Norton, The Green, St Budeaux. May 20, 1910. 15 years.

Stanley Sampson. The Green, St Budeaux, July 22, 1920, aged 19.

Marie died on Nov 21, 1924 and was also buried at St Budeaux.


Elizabeth’s eldest daughter Emily continued to live in Plymouth after her marriage to Norris Francis Gooch in 1918.

Edmer joined the Royal Marines in Deal. His name was registered then as Edmar , and remained so for the rest of his life. He helped to support his mother and delayed marrying Edith Cory, the girl he had been courting in Deal for many years. In 1930, when he was transferred from Deal to the Plymouth Royal Marine band, they



Elizabeth must have been in failing health for some years. She had chronic nephritis, an inflammation of the kidneys, which would have had a debilitating effect. She also suffered a series of strokes, resulting in weakness or paralysis of one side of her body. She would have welcomed the help of her daughter Emily and son-in-law Norris. They moved into the cottage on St Budeaux Green with their children, Wallace, Dorothy and Edna (who was always known as Poppy).


Elizabeth died March 12, 1932.

The causes of death were given as “Hemiplegia. Several attacks”, referring to her one-sided paralysis, and “Chronic Nephritis”.

The informant on her death certificate is “N. Gooch, Son-in-law”, who was present at the death. This was Emily’s husband Norris.


Burial. St Budeaux.

Mar 17, 1932. Elizabeth Maria Sampson. Agaton Cottages, St Budeaux, 66 years.


The tombstone in the churchyard at Higher St Budeaux reads:


In Loving Memory of

Elizabeth M. Sampson

died March 12th 1932

aged 66 years.


Also Marie

died Nov 21st 1924

aged 18 years


and Emily E. Gooch

beloved wife of Norris

died March 21st 1956

aged 64 years.


Twenty-four years later, in 1956, Elizabeth’s son Edmar also died of kidney failure.

The remaining twin Sidney joined the Royal Artillery. He married twice. His first wife was Lily. They had three children: Ronald, Margaret and Marjorie. Sidney became a Quarter Sergeant Major and served in India. His first wife died there. The three children were put into a children’s home.

During the second world war the home moved to the outskirts of Exmouth, and the children were able to visit their uncle Edmar and his family in nearby Lympstone. Edmar wanted to take the children into his own home, but Sidney would not allow it.

In 1941 Sidney remarried, to Iris Le Grys, the superintendent of a children’s home. Iris also had children from a previous marriage, including Jean. They had four more children: Eric, Jennifer, Susan and Stephen. When Sidney and Iris both fell ill, these children, too, with the exception of Stephen, were put into different children’s homes.

Margaret, from Sidney’s first marriage had a son in her teens, who was given up for adoption.

Sidney died from TB.

Emily and Norris continued to live at Agaton Cottages on the Green after Elizabeth’s death. Edmar’s daughter Fay remembers visiting Aunt Em many times during her childhood. The front door was approached from the Green by a path through a small garden crowded with tall plants. There was a step down from the rooms at the front of the cottage to those at the back, which offered an open outlook. The garden sloped steeply away to the Hamoaze, with a glimpse of the navel vessels moored there. There were window seats in the thick walls and rows of gooseberry bushes in the garden.

Emily died in the same year as Edmar , 1956. She was buried in the churchyard at Higher St Budeaux, with her mother Elizabeth and half-sister Marie.


Next Generation: 2. SAMPSON-CORY

Previous Generations: 4. LEE-HUTCHINGS





Novan's country has been occupied by the neighbouring Yadu. What lengths will he go to win its freedom?