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)
JOHN WHITINGE and JOAN KIRKHAM (19)
JOHN WHITINGE. Sir William Pole’s pedigree of the Whiting family has John as the son of Robert Whitinge and the grandson of John Whiting and Julian Holbeme. Robert is the only Whiting in this pedigree whose wife is not named. Richard Whiting’s 20th century research finds no evidence for Robert’s generation. He names John and Julian as John’s parents. There are other cases where Pole (and sometimes the Heralds’ Visitation) inserts an extra generation whose existence has since been disproved. John did have a younger brother Robert, which may have led to the confusion.
He was born around 1365, in the reign of Edward III.
John was the eldest son. He had two brothers, Robert and Henry. We do not know whether he had sisters. His grandfather Nicholas Whiting was a notable lawyer, sometime Sheriff of Exeter and Devon, and lord of the manor of Woode in Kentisbeare. Since his grandparents were still alive during John’s childhood, John may not have grown up in the manor house.
John was about 15 when his grandfather, Nicholas Whiting, died, leaving John’s father as his principal heir. John and his family probably moved into Woode then.
Pole names John’s wife as Alis Kirkam, daughter of Nicolas Kirkham, but he has confused two wives. John first married Alice Hake, daughter and heiress of Walter Hake. He was Alice’s second marriage. She was the widow of the Whiting’s near neighbour, William Walrond. The Walronds were a landed family whose seat was Bradfield, in the parish of Uffculme, not far from Woode. Their name is frequently found in association with the Whitings and the families intermarried. Alice had at least one son, William, from this marriage.
Alice acquired the manor of Bradfield when her first husband died, either for her lifetime, or until William junior reached the age of majority. After the second marriage, John helped to administer it. In 1387, John and Alice settled this manor on William. They demised for a yearly rent of £4 part of the profit of a fulling mill, used for finishing woollen cloth, a dovehouse and part of a meadow to which access was allowed for beasts and carts ‘to mow, prepare and cock into hay’.
John Whiting and Alice had a son John. He later married a woman of the Browne family in Essex. Their grandson Thomas was born at Gournay in France. He became a herald, perhaps the Chester Herald. Their great-grandson, John Whiting of London, may have been a Gentleman Usher to King Henry VII and Henry VIII. There was to be contention between this line of John’s descendants and those from his second marriage.
We do not know where John and Alice had their married home while his father was still alive.
John’s father, John senior died around 1405. Aged about 40, John inherited his estates and the lordship of his manors. John had probably left Woode on his marriage, but returned to the family home then.
In 1406, we see John and Alice granting a life interest in the premises of Bradfield and Stenhall to John’s stepson William, son of William Walrond and Alice.
Two years later, on 6 Jan 1408, Bishop Stafford of Exeter granted a licence to ‘John Whiting domicellus and Alice his wife’ so that they could celebrate divine service at their mansion of Woode. This family chapel was lost at the Reformation.
This is the last we hear of Alice. After she died, John married again to Joan Kirkham.
JOAN KIRKHAM was the daughter of Robert Kirkham of Blagdon.
Their marriage must have taken place soon after Alice’s death. According to Richard Whiting, the couple’s son, another John, was born in 1408. A daughter Juliana followed.
In 1412, John Kympe granted the manor of Newland, with land and messuages at Cullompton, to John’s stepson William. John witnessed the deed. Three years later, he again witnessed a deed by which William made over his lands in trust to John Fry, John Gambon and others. Such trust deeds were common.
In 1418 John himself enfeoffed William Fry, Walter Chykett, John Worthy and his younger brother Henry Whiting in all his lands, to hold for John’s own purposes. This transaction permitted him to dispose of his lands as he wished and avoided the financial penalties due under the feudal landowning system. Most of the local gentry seemed to have gathered at Woode to transact or witness this deed.
John had leased some land at Foxhill and Cockinghayes to Katherine, widow of Humphrey Stafford for her lifetime. After her death in 1418, the usual investigation into her estates was held. This resulted in the seizure of the rents of these lands, which should have come to John. The matter was resolved on 16 July 1418, when the escheators John Bosun and William Fry determined the extent of her possessions. They issued an order, signed by John, Duke of Bedford and Guardian of England, to have the income returned to John Whiting.
John and Joan’s daughter Juliana married Henry Wyke.
They lived through a time of lawlessness, with the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381, wars with France, the Welsh revolt under Owen Glendower, Cornish pirates raiding along the English Channel and a rebellious aristocracy, leading to the forced abdication of Richard II in 1399 and the crowning of the Lancastrian King Henry IV.
The use of Norman French by the upper classes was dying out in favour of English. Literacy was spreading among the upper and middle classes and a number of schools were founded.
In 1413 Henry V won a great victory over the French at Agincourt. Two years later he reconquered Normandy.
John is believed to have died in 1428, in his sixties.
After his death, Joan married again. Her second husband Thomas Browne, was from the same family into which her stepson, by John’s first marriage to Alice, is thought to have married. He came from Abbess Roding, a village between Harlow and Chelmsford in Essex.
Joan went to live with him there. This was to lead to her own son John Whiting marrying an Essex bride, Agnes Torrell.
Thomas’s descendants included judges of the King’s Bench and Common Pleas. The relationship forged proved useful to later Whitings.
The date of Joan’s death is not known.
 Source, except where otherwise stated: Richard Whiting. Whiting of Wood: A Mediaeval Landed Family, 1974 (MS in DRO).
 Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon,(1791)
 A2A.org.uk: DRO: 1926 B/W/ET/14/3
 A2A.org.uk: DRO: 1926 B/W/ET/14/3
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