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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)



RICHARD TOMLIN. In 1679 Richard Tomlin married Martha Prett in the Canterbury diocese by licence.

A baptism in Deal in 1663 for Richard son of Drewrie Tomlin and his wife Ann seems too late for this marriage. Richard would have been only 16 and ten years younger than Martha.

There were Tomlins in Deal from at least 1639, when Will Tomlin married Elizabeth Bennifield and raised a family there.

We do not know about Richard’s parents, but he became a mariner.


MARTHA PRATT. A marriage date in 1679 makes it likely that she is Martha , daughter of John Prat, baptised in Deal on 22 Jan 1653/4.

Her mother was possibly Margaret Sager, but there is some uncertainty about the number of John Pratts having children baptised then.


Edward Hasted, writing in 1800, says: [1]

the spot where great part of the town of Lower Deal now stands, was an open plain, and the only village here, was that now called Upper Deal, which was composed of the habitations of a few poor fishermen only, though at a less distance from the sea than at present, owing to the great increase of beach thrown on this shore afterwards. Leland, who wrote in king Henry VIII.’s time, seems to confirm this, for in his Itinerary he says, “Deale half a myle fro the shore of the sea, a Finsheher village iii myles or more above Sandwic, is upon a flat shore, and very open to these, wher is a fosse or a great bank artificial betwixt the town and se, and beginnith about Deale and renneth a great way up toward S. Margarets Clyse, yn as much that sum suppose that this is the place where Cæsar landed in aperto Litore. Surely the fosse was made to kepe owt ennemyes ther or to defend the rage of the se, or I think rather the casting up beche or pible.

in a chancery suit, in 1663, a witness, of the age of seventy two, deposed, that he well knew the valley of Deal, and that for sixty years past, and before any house was built in that valley, which was certainly where the Lower-street of Deal now is.
   “But when Sandwich haven likewise decayed, and the royal navy of England increased, as well in number as largeness of ships, and the trade of Britain likewise, the channel called the Downs, opposite to Deal, as the only safe and commodious road in these parts, became the general resort and rendezvous, not only of the men of war but of the trading ships, as well of our own as other nations, sailing from and towards the river Thames, and the metropolis of England.
  “This of course brought hither a continual supply of the stores necessary for the shipping, and quantities of provisions. It occasioned a great resort of sea faring people, passengers, and others, on their account, so that a new town arose along the shore, which, in opposition to the more antient village, since called Upper Deal, acquired the name of the town of New, alias Lower Deal.

In 1672 a small Naval Yard was established at Deal, providing stores and minor repair facilities.

Richard was one of our many Deal ancestors who earned their living from the sea. Part of his income came from delivering messages  for the Royal Navy

The chapel of St George, which served the seafarers of Lower Deal had not yet been built. Richard and Martha were married in the parish church of St Leonard in Upper Deal in 1679.

They had at least eight children baptised there.

Baptisms. St Leonard, Deal.
1679 Nov 16    Richard
Richard lived only six weeks. He was buried on 27 Dec. He must have died at Christmas.
1681 May 22  William
1682/3 Mar 18  Elizabeth
1685  Aug 30  Mary
1687/8 Feb 12  Anne
1692/3 Jan 1  Priscilla
Mary was buried on 20 Aug 1694, aged 9
1694/5 Mar 11  Richard
1697 25 July   John

William died aged 12. He was buried on 16 Sep 1703.

Only one of their children died in infancy. The other two deaths were of older children.

Richard was the master of a hooker. Today that name is principally associated with the red-sailed ships of Galway. These are single-masted, unlike the sturdy two-masted luggers that became the favoured craft of the Deal boatmen.

832-03232769 © IIC / Masterfile Model Release: No Property Release: No Galway Hooker, Near Dalkey Island Co Dublin

We cannot be sure that the sails of Richard’s hooker were red.

We learn more about him through a sequence of documents, telling us how Richard was frequently paid by the Royal Navy to carry documents relating to naval vessels anchored off Deal to the North Sea Fleet base at the Nore at the mouth of the Thames.

1689 July 5: [3]

Captain Daniel Jones, the Foresight, Dover. Mr. Fendall supplied a Deal hooker and the anchor was brought on board. The Boatswain gave him a receipt. Is sending books with Richard Tomlin, Master of a hooker.

1691 April 15: [4]

Abraham Stock, Deal. Richard Tomlin, Master of a hooker, has delivered books from the Swiftsure and Richmond. Is sending these with the books from the Charles Galley to Sir Richard Haddock at the Nore.

1691 May 2: [5]

Abraham Stock, Deal. Is sending the books of 31 named ships, by order of Captain Willshaw, by Richard Tomlin’s hooker.

1691 July 25: [6]

Abraham Stock, Deal. Is sending the muster books of 21 named ships by Richard Tomlin’s hooker.

 1691 Aug 18 : [7]

William Fendall, Deal. Is sending accounts by Richard Tomlin, Master of the Friends Adventure. Is lacking two receipts, one for the sale of the Windsor Castle yawl and the Ann. which were carried to Sandwich last summer when the French attacked our coast. They have not put down the saving of the Soudades in his accounts as they believe the Board already have them. Captain Killigrew, the Sapphire broke his cable so a yawl and hooker with six men went to retrieve it. Asks for money to pay the men. An order from Edmund Barrett to hire a hooker and four men to attend the Royal Charles to Woolwich. They demanded £20 but they bid them £12, asks what he should do.

 We now know the name of Richard’s ship, the Friends Adventure. It suggests an imaginative turn of mind.

 The attack referred to was part of the Nine Years War (1688-97) fought between France and a coalition of other European countries.

1691 July 26: [8]

Abraham Stock, Deal. Is sending muster books from 35 named ships by the hookers of John Underdown, Richard Woods and Richard Tomlin. Yesterday, the Monck, Dover and Nonsuch came into the Downs, and he will muster them tomorrow. The ships that left for the Thames he was unable to muster due to the lack of books. Asks for more paper.

 1696 Jan 11: [9]

Thomas Gibbs, muster master, Deal. He sent yesterday muster books of named ships in the margin by a Deal hooker, Richard Tomlin master, also books from the Smyrna Factor, Wren pink, Martin ketch and Shark brigantine. The Virgin prize arrived today from the Nore and the Henry Prize, Maidstone, Wren pink and Shark brigantine are forced back from Dover where the Severn, Charles galley and Saudadoes lie. List of several named ships in margin.

 1696 Mar 13: [10]

Francis Hosier, Storekeeper, Deptford. With regard to an order for a longboat and pinnaces from Woolwich, they have none, and an order for 36 round loomed oars to Deal for yawls could not be sent with John Bell and Richard Tomlins in their hookers as they had sailed. The Bachelor Hoy of Sandwich, John Hart master, is ready to carry the oars and three cables and have advised the master to write to the Board about freight.

This confirms the expectation that Richard was calling at other ports to transport goods.

The entries for 1691 are so frequent that it is likely these documents are only some of the naval business in which Richard was involved. He may also have been engaged in salvage work off Deal, where many ships fell foul of the Goodwin Sands.


There was an earthquake in England, in the year 1692. which was much more violent towards the sea than further from it; there were, indeed, no houses thrown down by it, nor persons killed; it reached more particularly Sandwich, Deal, Dover, Sheerness, and Portsmouth, and the maritime parts of Holland, Flanders, and Normandy; the walls of Deal castle, which are of an extraordinary thickness, shook so much, that the persons living in it expected they would have fallen on their heads.” [11]

Deal Castle 1640 [12]

In 1703 a terrible storm struck southern Britain. Hundreds of ships were wrecked and thousands of lives lost. We do not know how Richard fared. One hopes that, as an experienced skipper of a smaller craft, he would have been able to put into port, and save the lives of himself and his crew, if not his ship.

In 1710 the burial register has the following for 21 June:

A stranger from Richard Tomlins.

It is the first of three such entries in June and July, each with a different name. It could mean that Richard had found a dead body at sea.


There is a burial in Deal for Richard Thomlin on 28 July 1717. There were by then other adult Richard Tomlins in Deal, so we cannot be sure this is Martha’s husband.

No burial or remarriage has been found for Martha.


[1] Edward Hasted, ‘The town and parish of Deal’, in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 10 (Canterbury, 1800), pp. 1-23. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol10/pp1-23
[2] https://image1.masterfile.com/getImage/ODMyLTAzMjMyNzY5ZW4uMDAwMDAwMDA=AI08$6/832-03232769en_Masterfile.jpg
[3] National Archives: ADM 106/390/260
[4] National Archives: ADM 106/410/99
[5] National Archives: ADM 106/410/114
[6] National Archives: ADM 106/410/157
[7] National Archives: ADM 106/404/219
[8] National Archives: ADM 106/410/158
[9] National Archives: ADM 106/486/242
[10] National Archives: ADM 106/484/99
[11] Hasted.
[12] https://www.british-history.ac.uk/sites/default/files/publications/pubid-425/images/fig2.gif




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