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)






Home button

Link to Children's Books

Link to Adult Fiction

Link to Non-Fiction


Fay Sampson Family History Link

Jack Priestley Family History Link



We know from the Bishops Transcripts that PHILIP COOKE and GRACE ALLEN were married in Mariansleigh on 31 July 1741.These transcripts go back to 1579, a century and a half before the surviving Mariansleigh parish registers, but unfortunately they are incomplete.


Mariansleigh is a small, out of the way village, 2 miles SW of South Molton in North Devon. The name is a contraction of “Mary Ansleigh”, with the accent on the third syllable. It stands on high ground above the River Mole.


There are no Cookes or Allens in the Protestation Returns of 1641/2 for Mariansleigh, nor in the 1660 tax returns. It looks as if Philip or his parents were the first of this name to live in the parish.


PHILIP COOKE seems to come from a family known as ‘Grunham (or Grinham, Grendon, Gaindon) alias Cooke’. The date of his marriage suggests that he was born between 1710-20. There are not many Cookes in the register at this time, and it is likely that Philip is one of the younger children of Philip and Elizabeth Grunham alias Cooke, although we do not have a record of his baptism. At the baptism of his eldest daughter he is recorded as Philip Cook jnr, indicating that his father was still alive.


GRACE ALLEN may also come from a recently established Mariansleigh family. In 1691 Thomas Allen was born to Edward and Honor Allen. The Allens, like the Cookes, do not go further back in the Mariansleigh records. Thomas, or a brother, could be Grace’s father.


The Norman font

The couple had five children. One of the earliest baptisms in the Mariansleigh parish is the following:

1742  July ye 18th Eliz  Daughter of Philip Cook and Grace his wife.

There were other Elizabeth Cookes in the parish, but it seems likely that it is Philip and Grace’s child who became the unmarried mother of John Cooke in 1772.

There follow more baptisms of Philip and Grace’s children in Mariansleigh.

1745  March ye 3 d Philip

1748  June ye 19 th John

1752   Nov ye 4 th William

1756   Aug ye 21 st Mary        

In four out of five of these baptisms the surname is spelt without an ‘e’.


Philip Cooke died in 1758 in Mariansleigh.

Burial: 1758 June ye 11 th Phillip Cook was buried

The administration of the will of Philip Cooke alias Gaindon of Mariansleigh in 1758 is found in the index of Barnstaple wills. No further information is available. The will was probably lost in the Exeter Blitz.

Their son Philip stayed in Mariansleigh and had a daughter baptised there. 

1770 Sep 30 th Elizabeth ye Daughter of Philip Cooke and Elizabeth his wife.

He died in 1806.


In 1772, Philip and Grace’s eldest daughter Elizabeth had a base child John .


Grace survived Philip by 27 years. The alias, which had been absent from the registers for nearly a century, is here used again.

Burial: 1785 Grace Cooke alias Grinen was buried Oct ye 15 th





Next Generation: 7. COOK

Previous Generations:



The search for Nick's

ancestors leads to strange discoveries at a derelict mill