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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)



Great Yarmouth, where we find the Hagons, is noted for its herring, particularly its bloaters made by smoking the whole fish.

In 1599, the Lowestoft born poet and dramatist Thomas Nashe had to leave London following the publication of The Isle of Dogs. Nashe had collaborated with Ben Jonson on the writing of this satirical comedy.
Nashe escaped to Great Yarmouth where he wrote another satire – this time – one about the red herring or kipper. It was entitled Nashes Lenten Stuffe and here is an extract:

A Fisherman of Yarmouth, hauing drawne so many herrings hee wist not what to do withall, hung the residue that he could not sel nor sped, in the sooty roofe of his shad a drying: or say thus, his shad was a cabbinet indecimo sexto, builded on foure crutches, and hee had no roome in it, but in that garret or Excelsis, to lodge them, where if they were drie, let them bee drie, for in the sea they had drunke too much, and now hee would force them doo penance for it.

Yarmouth was a fishing port, earning its living from herring. This gave the quay a distinctive smell. Dickens comments on this in David Copperfield.

 When we got into the street (which was strange enough to me), and smelt the fish, and pitch, and oakum, and tar, and saw the sailors walking about, and the carts jangling up and down over the stones, I felt I had done so busy a place an injustice; and said as much to Peggotty, who heard my expressions of delight with great complacency, and told me it was well known (I suppose to those who had the good fortune to be born Bloaters) that Yarmouth was, upon the whole, the finest place in the universe.’


THOMAS HAGON. There is a plausible baptism for Thomas in Great Yarmouth.

Baptism. Great Yarmouth
1640 Mar 17   Thomas Hugon s of Henery and Elizabeth

His is the only baptism we have found for this couple.

There is a possible marriage for his parents in Swardeston in 1627, when Henry Hagon married Elizabeth Snellinge. Swardeston is a village 20 miles west of Great Yarmouth, just south of Norwich. The distance means we should treat this result with caution. There were earlier Hagons there, but Henry and Elizabeth did not stay there to raise a family. They may have had other children in a parish whose 17th century records have not survived.

Thomas was born shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, which lasted for most of his and Eliza’s childhood.

Great Yarmouth sided with Cromwell and the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War. Today you can visit the Elizabethan House Museum, Cromwell met others in this house on several occasions and this is commemorated in the Conspiracy Room. With the aid of Great Yarmouth volunteers, he led a successful attack on Royalist Lowestoft.

The Conspiracy Room [1]

We do not know Thomas’s occupation, but his son John was a mariner and this may well have been Thomas’s work too. He may have sailed with the herring fleet.


 ELIZA COX. There are baptisms for Eliza Coxe in the 1640s

Baptisms. Great Yarmouth.
1643 Aug   Eliza Coxe d of John and Elizh.
1644/5 Jan 8  Eliza Coxe d of Isacke and Mary

Both of these, particularly the latter, would make her very young when she married in 1659,


Marriage. Great Yarmouth
15 Nov 1659 Tho Hagon and Eliza Cox.   Both of Yarmouth

This was the last year of the Republican Commonwealth. Charles II ascended the throne in 1660.


We know of two children from this marriage.

Baptism. St Nicholas, Great Yarmouth.
1662 Aug 24   Jno Hagon of Tho and Eliza
1666 July 15  Elizabeth

In 1664 2500 people died in Yarmouth from the Plague.

The fact that there were no more children after Elizabeth junior may mean that Thomas died in the late 1660s.


Their son John’s maritime travels took him to Kent, either with the fishing fleet following the herring, or on a cargo ship. He married Mary Scott in Deal in 1671 and remained there to raise his family.

That same year Charles II visited Great Yarmouth. He was presented with 5 gold herrings and a chain.

In 1692 a terrible storm struck the coast. 200 Yarmouth ships were sunk and 1000 lives lost.

We have not found a burial for Thomas. If he was also a mariner he may have been lost at sea, either earlier or in that storm. Eliza was a widow when she died, so Thomas’s death was not later than Jan 1693.

Burial. Great Yarmouth.
1692/3 Jan 4 Eliz Hagon widow

Eliza was probably in her fifties.



[1] https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/05/2b/96/05/elizabethan-house-museum.jpg




Cory Tree