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)
RICHARD SAMPSON and MARY MATHEWS (5)
RICHARD SAMPSON was baptised in West Worlington
- Apr. 7. Richard, son of John & Mary Sampson.
His mother was Mary Edworthy.
He was their third child.
His father was a yeoman farmer. Richard became a husbandman.
MARY MATHEWS was baptised in Chulmleigh.
1803 Feb 13 Mary daughter of Joseph Mathews & Elizabeth his wife.
Her mother was Elizabeth Turner. Her father was a woolcomber.
She was their tenth and youngest child.
Richard moved to Chulmleigh before they married..
Marriage. 1826 Chulmleigh.
Richard Sampson of this parish and Mary Matthews of this parish were married in this Church by Banns with Consent of Parents this Twenty Ninth Day of March.
Rector of Kings Nympton.
Signed: The Mark X of Richard Sampson
In the presence of Joseph Mathews, J Vicary Clerk.
Richard is illiterate, but Mary signs in a mature hand, as did both her parents when they were married.. Like her father, she signs her name with one t, though the parson gives her two. The date of the christening of their first child suggests that Mary may have already been pregnant.
1826 Nov 30 Maria daughter of Richard & Mary Sampson. Husbandman.
1827 Mar 24 John son of Richard & Mary Sampson. Waterloo Cott.
1830 Feb 1 Jane daughter of Richard & Mary Sampson. Edgiford. Husbandman.
A ‘husbandman’ originally cultivated his own ground, though it may not have amounted to very much. By this period it seems to have been the term used for a farm labourer. The Enclosure movement meant that villagers were deprived of the right to pasture animals on the common. In return for this, and the loss of the right to farm communal fields, they might be offered a cash payment, or a piece of land too small or poor to support a family. They became wage labourers instead.
These were hard times for Devon farmers, with the loss of continental markets during the wars with France and the competition from cotton replacing wool.
Other Sampsons were living in Waterloo Cottage in 1822. Edgeford is in the eastern part of the parish.
The family moved from Chulmleigh to Meshaw, where their son William was born around 1833.
They moved again to East Worlington, where two more children were born.
Baptisms. East Worlington.
1836 May 29th Elizabeth Matthews Daughter of Richard and Mary Sampson East Worlington Husbandman
Elizabeth lived only 5 weeks. She was buried in the neighbouring parish of West Worlington on 5 June 1836. Her father’s occupation is again given as husbandman.
1837 June 17th Richard Son of Richard and Mary Sampson East Worlington Husbandman
The family moved to Cheldon, a little further west.
Mary died and was buried there on 10 Feb 1841, aged 38.
In the 1841 census, Richard and the children are living at Holes. This stands just east of the crossroads in the little village, on the north side of the road that leads to the Worlingtons and Witheridge. They share the house with Richard’s sister, Anne Price, and her family.
1841 Census: Holes, Cheldon
Samuel Price had come down in the world. At least three previous generations of Samuel Prices in East Worlington had been churchwardens, Overseers of the Poor, and ratepayers of Rull, Hilldown and Odislake. In 1782 the sum of twenty shillings was distributed to the poor of East Worlington parish by Mr Samuel Price, according to the will of his late grandfather. But this Samuel, like Richard, is an agricultural labourer.
Richard’s frequent moves from village to village suggests that he did not have secure employment but hired himself out at yearly fairs.
In the same census, Richard and Mary’s son John is an agricultural labourer at Coombe, Chulmleigh, aged 11. 13-year-old Mary Sampson, who could be their eldest daughter Maria, is a female servant to William Pearse, farmer, of Elston, Chulmleigh.
On Christmas Eve 1849 Richard married his second wife, Maria Elizabeth Greenslade, in the parish church of St David, Exeter. Both were widowed. Maria’s father was William Mugford. He, Richard’s father and Richard are all described as labourers. Richard and Maria were both living at Cowley Road, Exeter. Both signed with their mark. Possibly Richard had gone to live in Exeter to simplify marrying someone from that parish.
Maria, daughter of William and Sarah Mogford was baptised in Tiverton in April 1810, but had been born in 1806. She was thus 20 when she married to Richard Greenslade in Tiverton on 26 May 1826. She appears in the marriage register as Maria Elizabeth Mogford .
Maria already had two daughters. In the 1841 census, she was living in Chawleigh village, close to Cheldon, with 3-year-old Mary and 3-month-old Leah. She is a pauper. Also in the house, and heading the household, is George Snell, who is the same age as Maria Greenslade, with what we presume to be his wife Maria Snell and 1-year-old daughter Sophia. We do not know whether Maria Greenslade was there as a lodger, or whether these were relatives. She is said in this census to have been born in Devon.
In 1849, shortly before her marriage to Richard, the Chawleigh Overseers of the Poor issued a removal order for Maria Greenslade and Mary Ann and Leah her daughters from Chawleigh to Cheldon. This indicates that Cheldon was Maria’s parish of settlement. She may have gained right of settlement through birth, work or marriage.
No evidence has yet been found for Maria’s first marriage. Leah is said in the censuses to have been born in Cheldon, but she was baptised in Chawleigh.
1841 June 28th Leah daughter of Maria Greenslade Chawleigh.
There are other baptisms in the same register where only the mother is named. Usually she is described as a “single-woman” or “spinster”. This is not so in Maria’s case. We know from her marriage certificate to Richard that she was a widow, and that her maiden name was Mugford.
The baptism of Leah’s older sister Mary, which might have cast more light on their parents, has not yet been found. She is probably the Mary Greenslade whose birth was registered in the Crediton district in the first quarter of 1938.
Maria was 9 years younger than Richard.
1851 Census: Village. West Worlington & Cheldon
Maria’s birthplace is given as Bristol. In the next census it was Tiverton, but in 1871 it was again Bristol.
The Price nieces are still with them. Samuel Price appears to have died and his widow Ann has become a Nurse Keeper to Farmer Bragg.
Meanwhile, two brothers of Richard’s first wife Mary Mathews were living in Chulmleigh. Thomas Matthews, 66, was a farm labourer at Bull Hill Cots, and Richard Matthew, 51, also a farm labourer, at Sharlands Tenement, with his family.
Richard and Maria returned to Chulmleigh and also moved into Bull Hill.
1861 Census: Bull Hill, Chulmleigh.
In this case Maria gives her birthplace as Tiverton.
By 1866,the couple had moved to one of a row of four cottages in East Street .
North Devon Journal, Thursday, 13 December 1866.
FREEHOLD PROPERTY FOR SALE
TO BE SOLD, by Auction, by Mr JOHN HANNAFORD, at the ‘King’s Arms Inn’, Chulmleigh, on Thursday the Third day of January next, at One o’clock in the Afternoon (subject to such conditions as shall be then read), the Fee-simple and Inheritance of all those FOUR COTTAGES or DWELLING HOUSES, part and parcel of a certain Tenement, called Hunt’s Tenement, with the Courtlages and Apppurtenances thereto belonging, now or late in the occupation of ELIZA RAYMONT, JOHN ELIOTT, RICHARD SAMPSON and JAMES ELIOTT, situate in East-street, in Chulmleigh aforesaid;
For viewing the above, apply to the Auctioneers; and for particulars to Messrs PEARSE & CROSSE, Solicitors, Southmolton.
A ‘courtlage’ is a Devonshire word for a fore or back yard.
Richard’s died at the age of 64 and was buried in Chulmleigh on 27 Oct 1867.
Maria was still living in East Street at the 1871 census. Her daughter Leah, with two daughters of her own, had returned to live with her. She was unmarried.
1871 Census. 46 East Street. Chulmleigh
Mary Ann Greenslade
In the 1861 census there were Honiton lacemakers, also called Samson, living in Bull Hill, though no known relation,. With the competition from cheaper machine-made lace, hand lace-makers earned, literally, ‘pin-money’, not a living wage. By 1881, Leah and a possible 6-year-old daughter Ellen were paupers in the workhouse in South Molton.. Leah was listed as a lace worker.
The grand-daughters who were living with Maria in the 1871 census are elsewhere. Mary Ann was a servant on a farm at King’s Nympton and 13-year-old Louisa was in Stoke Damerel, Plymouth, with an uncle, the grocer William Greenslade from Chard.
Honiton is well known for its lace, made by hand on the pillow, a beautiful fabric, but of late years in a measure supplanted by bobbin-net, a cheaper and inferior article worked by machinery. The manufacture of lace was introduced into England by the Lollards in the reign of Elizabeth
Lace-making was introduced into Tiverton in 1816, and is now a thriving business. The factory of Messrs. Heathcoat is worth a visit. It employs about 1500 hands.
Murray’s Handbook of Devon and Cornwall (1859). David and Charles. 1971. pp. 26, 4.
The woollen industry died lingeringly, as elsewhere in Devon, but at the beginning of the 19c a lace-making industry was founded by one John Heathcoat, who, tiring of the Luddite disturbances in Loughborough, moved his business to Tiverton; the factory now employs 1,500 people, making and dyeing fine fabrics, lace and net.
The Travellers Guides: Devonshire. ed. Seán Jennett. Darton, Longman & Todd. 1965. p.104.
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