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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)


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NICHOLAS GALLON. From the birth-date of his son John, in 1603, we can assume that Nicholas was born around 1560-70, in the reign of Elizabeth I. He is the earliest of six generations of the Gallon/ Gallen/ Galling family found in Sandford. Since there are no Sandford registers earlier than 1603 it is unlikely that we will be able to trace this line any further back, though there are records of Margaret Gallyn in the 16th century.


Sandford lies on the rich red soil of the vale of Crediton. The Elizabethan writer Westcote, born in the nearby parish of Shobrook in 1567, about the same time as Nicholas, wrote of the fertility of this area:



 The soil is very fertile both for corn and pasture, insomuch as it is grown to a general proverb throughout the whole kingdom, – ‘as good hay as any in Denshire [Devonshire]; ’ – and here in the country – ‘as good hay as any in Kirton [Crediton];’ and there – ‘as good as any in my lord’s meadow’ – than which there can be no better.

Lord’s Meadow was a broad open field extending from the Crediton valley to the Creedy river, which runs between Sandford and Shobrooke. It is now an industrial estate.



ANNE. As so often in the early registers, we discover Anne’s name only at her burial. The baptismal records at that time only name the father. This burial of Nicholas Gallon’s wife comes 32 years after the only baptismal record for a child of his, so she could be his second wife. But there is no evidence of a first wife dying, so we may reasonably assume that Anne is John’s mother.


Since only one child’s baptism is recorded for Nicholas, and this is in the year the registers begin, Nicholas and Anne may have married considerably earlier and produced other children before John. But in the next generation, John’s is the only Gallen marriage recorded in Sandford. He could be their sole child.


The earliest surviving Sandford register is dated 1603, the year that Queen Elizabeth died and the first Stuart King, James I of England and VI of Scotland, inherited the English throne. The opening page is inscribed:

The begynnyge of the raigne of our dread Soveraigne
James Kinge of greate Brittaine ffrance
and Ireland. Defender of the true
Auncient Catholique and
Apostoleke faith H
wch was the xxiiijth day of March 1603

The baptism of Nicholas’s son is the sixth in the register.

Baptism. St Swithun’s, Sandford. (DCRS transcript)
1603  Gallen, John s. of Nicholas Gallon. 12 June


Two years later, Guy Fawkes was arrested in the cellars under the Palace of Westminster and a Catholic plot was foiled which was intended to blow up James I, the royal family, and members of the Lords and the Commons assembled for the State opening of Parliament. In 1606 an Act of Parliament was passed requiring public prayers of thanksgiving to be made in every parish church on November 5.

Around the turn of the century, Nicholas and Anne would have seen the building of Newhouse, which later became known as Creedy Park. The rich farmland of Sandford already had several substantial houses, some centuries old. A successful Exeter merchant, John Davie, built Creedy and the Davies were a leading family in the parish from then on.


There is a burial for Anne Gallen in 1615. Since this is not Nicholas’s wife, she might be his mother, or an unrecorded daughter.


Nicholas and Anne lived to see their son John married and have several children.

Burials. St Swithun’s, Sandford. (DCRS transcripts)
1635  Anne w. Nicholas Gallen.  Apl. 28
1638  Nicholas Gallon.  June 20


They died shortly before the Civil War, which brought so much suffering to the next generation.






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