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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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The Clarksons of Barham in Kent are the ancestors of the Claysons of Deal. They underwent a name change in the late 17th century, when Clarkson and Clayson were used interchangeably in different parishes.[1]

St John the Baptist, Barham [2]

Barham is a village on the North Downs, midway between Canterbury and Folkestone.


MARKE CLARKSON. We first meet the Clarksons there with the marriage on 31 May 1591 of Marke Clarkson and Mary Cheeseman. [3]

We know from a later marriage licence that Marke was born in 1567-8. He was a husbandman, working a small farm. He would have been in his thirties when he married Mary Cheeseman.

The early parish registers are not complete. Some entries are illegible. But enough survives to give us a picture of the Clarksons as a single family in which the name Mark was passed down from father to son for generations.

We do not have a record of this first Marke’s baptism. The lack of an extended family, or evidence of an older generation in Barham, suggest that Marke may have moved there from another parish. There were Clarksons in Dover, Canterbury , Sandwich, Appledore and Chillenden in the 16th century.


MARY CHEESEMAN. The Cheesemans were established in Barham at least as early as 1574, when Agnes Cheeseman married Walter Sanders, both of this parish.

A generation later, on 19 Mar 1590/1, was baptised William, “a bastard ye sonne of Mary Cheeseman. Given the small number of occurrences of this surname in the early registers, we seem to be dealing again with a single family. It is probable that this Mary Cheeseman is the same as the one who married Marke Clarkson later that year. Marke may well have been William’s father.

The older Agnes Cheeseman was probably Mary’s aunt.

Ten years after the marriage, on 14 Jan 1601, we have another marriage, of Mildred Cheeseman to Henry Sprye/Spryce. Again, both are from Barham. Mildred could be Mary’s sister.

There is a marriage in 1632 of Elizabeth Cheeseman to Thomas Simons, widower and yeoman. The Cheesemans then disappear from the Barham registers.


At the time of the marriage of Mark Clarkson and Mary Cheeseman, Elizabeth I’s reign was entering its final decade. The dramatist William Shakespeare was writing his fourth play, Henry VI Part I.

Their marriage is followed by the burial in Barham on 12 Apr 1594 of John, son of Marke Clarkson.

We then have the christening on 18 Dec 1597 of Margaret, daughter of Marke Clarkson.

Margaret married Henry Cocke, bricklayer, on 24 Nov 1618.


Mary, wife of Marke Clarkson, was buried in Barham on 2 Jan 1624. She was probably in her forties.

A year later, the first Stuart king, James I, died. He was succeeded by his son, Charles I, whose policy of foreign wars, and the taxation necessary to fund them, led eventually to the Civil War.

In April 1627, we have the following baptism in Denton, adjacent to Barham.
Was baptised Marke a base borne child of Marke Clarkson and Elizabeth Frend.

The father could be a son Marke, born of Marke and Mary, whose baptism we have not found. Given the very strong tradition in this family of passing the name Mark from father to son, it is highly probable that Marke and Mary would have a son named Marke. If he was born in the early years of their marriage he would have been of a similar age to Elizabeth.

There is, however, another possibility, which does not require this missing baptism. The father of Elizabeth’s child could be the widower Marke, by then approaching fifty.

If this is the case, then the Cheesemans are not part of our ancestry.

Given that we have not found the baptism, marriage, christenings of other children, or burial for a younger Mark, it seems more likely that the widower was the baby’s father. We need to be aware, however, that there are many missing or illegible entries in these early registers. We do not have the baptism of Marke and Mary’s son John, who died in infancy.


ELIZABETH FREND. Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Friend, was baptised in Denton, a parish next to Barham, on 2 May 1595. Her mother was Alice Dixon. She had an older and a younger brother.

Denton countryside [4]

Denton means “valley settlement”. It lies on the fringes of the North Downs.

If the daughter of Edward Friend is the unmarried mother of Marke Clarkson’s child, she would have been 32.

Unmarried mothers were under pressure to reveal the father’s name, so that the upkeep of the child would not fall upon the Poor Rate. But it is unusual to see the father so openly acknowledged in the baptismal register. We assume that the boy would have been known as Marke Clarkson, not Marke Frend.

The birth of their child is followed by a marriage licence for Mark Clarkson of Barham, widower and husbandman, aged 60, to marry Margaret Colson of Chartham, widow, aged 50. The wedding was to be in Chartham on 12 Jan 1628/9. One transcription says 1627.

Chartham is a village 4 miles SW of Canterbury and 8 miles from Barham.

There is an earlier marriage in Chartham for Margaret Colson and John Lance, both of Chartham on 6 Feb 1627/8. Perhaps she was a daughter.

There is no evidence in the Chartham register that the marriage between Mark Clarkson and Margaret Colson ever took place. Perhaps Margaret found out about Elizabeth’s child and called off the engagement.

Mark and Elizabeth did not marry. Instead, Elizabeth went on to have another child out of wedlock in 1630. In this case, the father was Richard Woodman.

Elizabeth may have been the village prostitute.

In 1635 there is a marriage in Denton on 9 Nov for Elizabeth Freind and Henry Tapper. If this is the daughter of Edward Friend she would have been 40 then.

There were two known children of this marriage baptised in Denton: Grace 14 Aug 1636, Henry 22 Nov 1640.

This generation would have lived through the cataclysm of the Civil War in the 1640s. Rural Kent was overwhelmingly Royalist.

We have no information about when Marke, Elizabeth or Henry died.


[1] Brenda Hopkin
[2] www.barhampc.kentparishes.gov.uk
[3] Genealogical information from Findmypast: Archdeaconry of Canterbury records.
[4] www.annescountrygallery.co.uk






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