Charlotte image

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



JOHN CARY was the only known son of William Cary of Castle Cary in Somerset and Margaret Bozon of Clovelly in North Devon.

By now, the prefix “de” was going out of use in surnames of Norman-descended families.

John was born in Somerset in 1325. His mother died when he was two and his father when he was five. We do not know who brought him up.

His first wife was Alice/Agnes Stafford, whom he married in Somerset in 1345. She died soon after, leaving him with no children.


JANE DE BRYAN. Unlike the Carys, the Bryans had kept the Norman “de”.

Jane was the daughter of Guy de Bryan of Walwyn Castle in Pembrokeshire and Tor Bryan in South Devon and Ann Holway of Holway in Devon.

Holway is the present Holloway in the parish of Northlew. This is 7m NW of Okehampton in Devon and SW of Holsworthy.

Jane was born in Holway around 1325 and had at least one brother, Guy, who became Admiral of the Fleet.


By far the most significant event of their lives was the Black Death of 1348-9. Around half the population died. It was just at this time, in 1349, that John and Jane married.

John would have come into his father’s estates when he came of age. Jane’s father had died in 1647 and she too inherited some land. As feudal landowners, their way of life would have been radically challenged by the acute shortage of labour caused by the devastating death toll of the plague. Their large estates had been worked by peasants, who were obliged to give a certain number of days’ work to their liege lord. The crisis in labour supply meant that many peasants left the land to seek employment in the towns, where the shortage offered significantly higher incomes, Laws were passed forbidding them to leave their feudal lords, but the scale of the situation made these hard to enforce.

Manorial farming [1]

One consequence of this was a move away from arable farming to less labour-intensive forms, such as sheep-rearing. The rising success of the wool trade added impetus to this.


John and Jane had four children.

John, born in 1350, William 1352, Thomas 1354, and Johanna 1356.


Johanna’s birth cost Jane her life. She died in 1356 at the age of 31.


John lived to be 47. He died in 1372.

Almost their entire lives had been lived in the reign of Edward III (1327-77).


Their eldest son John became Baron of the Exchequer. Both he and his brother William were Members of Parliament.


[1] https://cdn.britannica.com/17/125117-004-EC0D221E/Farmers-land-castle-illustration-manuscript-French-use.jpg




Sampson Tree