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)
NICHOLAS FLOYER (28)
NICHOLAS FLOYER. John Burke gives us a pedigree of the Floyer family of Floyers Hayes across the river from Exeter. From the second generation after the Domesday book we have:
RICHARD, held those lands of Richard, son of Baldwin de Courtenay, and transmitted them to his son and heir,
NICHOLAS, who was s. by his son,
RICHARD, who obtained a confirmation of the lands beyond the Exe, held by his grandfather, from Robert, natural son of King Henry I upon the stipulation of presenting the said Robert and his heirs with a flaggon of wine, whenever they should come to dine on the Isle of Exe. This grant was afterwards confirmed, in more ample form by Reginald de Courtenay.
We know from the Pipe Rolls of the early 12th century that Nicholas and his father were responsible for collecting taxes on ships bringing goods into the harbour basin at Exeter. In effect, they performed the office of Portreeve.
In those days, the tidal waters came all the way up the Exe estuary 10 miles from Exmouth to Exeter. Sea-going vessels could sail up to the Quay at Exeter. In the early 14th century the powerful Courtenay family built weirs across the river to prevent ships sailing all the way, so that they could collect the taxes from ships that now had to dock at Topsham, but this was not the case in Nicholas’s time.
Exeter Quay 
We have documentary evidence of some of Nicholas’s transactions from the mid 12th century.
4 Henry II.[1157-8].
“Nicholas son of Floher renders account of two ounces of gold for his office. [He has paid] thirty shillings into the Treasury for two ounces of gold and is acquitted.”
4 Henry II.[1157-8].
“Nicholas son of Floher rendered account of thirty shillings from the old lastage. He has paid it into the Treasury and is acquitted”.
Like his father before him, Nicholas performed the office of Portreeve, collecting harbour dues from ships using the basin at the head of the Exe estuary. The ancestral home of Floyers’ Hayes lay on the west bank of the river, beyond the walled city of Exeter, and close to the harbour basin.
We do not who Nicholas’s wife was, but we know about his son and heir from a charter which gives a more detailed account of the Floyers’ obligation to their liege lords, the Courtenays.
“Robert son of King Henry to all his barons, both clerical and lay, greeting. Know that I have granted, and by my charter confirmed, to Richard son of Nicholas all the land beyond Exe which his grandfather Richard son of Floher held. To hold it from me and my heirs for himself and his heirs peacefully and quietly by the same service as the said Richard son of Floher held it as from my Barony, that is, by the provision of one soldier, and by the service of one pitcher of wine, which Richard son of Nicholas himself ought to give as often as it shall happen that I or my heirs dine on Exe Island.”
Exe Island was the reclaimed land on the east side of the river, below the city walls. It was a profitable area, with leats from the river draining the marshes and providing power for corn and woollen mills. The Norman kings granted it to the Courtenays.
The dates we have for Nicholas suggest that he was born in the first half of the 12th century, in the reign of Henry I, and died in the second half, probably in the reign of Henry II.
He lived through the bitter civil war between Matilda, Henry I’s daughter and heir, and his nephew Stephen of Blois. The south-west sided with Matilda. Stephen eventually gained the crown, but a compromise was reached, with Matilda’s son succeeding Stephen as Henry II.
 John Burke, : A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland: Enjoying Terrestrial Possessions or High Official Rank; but Uninvested with Heritable Honours. Colburn 1833.
 Our principal source is “The Family of Floyer”. http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~floyer/genealogy/index.htm
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