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)
STEPHEN DE HACCOMBE (29)
STEPHEN DE HACCOMBE. The Haccombe family can trace its origins back to the Domesday Book.
Haccombe today consists of little more than the manor house and the little church, with a few farms. It lies a little way south of the Teign estuary. The parish is now combined with Combeinteignhead.
The name means either “enclosed valley” or “Heccha’s Vale”. The former would suit it well, since it lies hidden among encircling hills.
Since he held an English estate in 1086, Stephen may well have been a Norman soldier who played a part in the Conquest.
At the time of the Domesday Book, in 1086, the Norman overlord was Baldwin, Sheriff of Devon. He held 17 manors in demesne in Devon, and 164 other estates occupied by inferior tenants.
The Domesday entry says: “Stephen holds Haccombe from Baldwin. Ulf held it TRE (in the time of the last English king Edward the Confessor), and it paid geld for half a hide. There is land for 5 ploughs. In demesne is 1 plough, and 3 slaves, and 8 villans and 4 bordars with 3 ploughs. There are 2 acres of meadow and 4 furlongs of scrubland (or coppice). Formerly, as now, worth 20s.”
A hide was an assessment of 6/- for a varying amount of land, depending on its quality.
“In demesne” was what Stephen kept for his own use. He had one of the 5 ploughs and owned slaves. With this, he worked one virgate (¼ hide). His tenants, or villans, had 3 ploughs. The bordars were inferior tenants. The serfs were bound to a hereditary plot of land and had to give forced labour to their lord, in return for protection and the right to work on fields they leased from their landlords for their own subsistence.
The manor fields contained 6 head of cattle, 8 swine, 40 sheep and 30 goats.
Haccombe was not Stephen’s only manor. He also held West Clifford (Coombe Hall in Drewsteignton) and Ringmore (Ringmoor). These were worth 30/- before the Conquest and 40/- in the Domesday Book. The value of these had risen from 40/- to 70/-, showing that Stephen was an efficient farmer.
We do not know who Stephen’s wife was, or when he died.
Another 80 years pass before we have further information about the Haccombes. But the continuity of the name Stephen suggests that that these later generations were descended from the Stephen de Haccombe in the Domesday Book.
There is one small piece of information. In the Exeter Cathedral Archives is a document dated at Sidbury c.1150. It is a deed of exchange between the Chapter of Exeter Cathedral and William Tril… ‘The said William released to the Chapter his right in the land of Buckadun in the Lordship of Sideberi in exchange for a ferling of land at Haccombe at a rent of 4/-. And another half ferling at a rent of 12d. To hold as freely as the other Franklins of the same manor hold.”
We do not know how the Haccombe land came into the possession of the Chapter. Presumably Stephen or one of his descendants granted it to them.
Stephen must have been dead by the time of this document. Working from the solitary date of 1086, we can conjecture that there were two or three successive generations before our next known member of the family.
 A. W. Searley, “Haccombe, Part I, (1086-1330)”, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1918.
NEXT GENERATION: 28. HACCOMBE