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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)


Cory Tree




THOMAS CORY. The most likely father for the Thomas Cory who had children in the village of Harpole in the 1650s was yet another Thomas Cory.

Since he married in 1621, he is probably the son of Nicholas Cory and Elizabeth Warde of Harpole. He was baptised at All Saints on 10 April 1583. Thomas was the middle of five children, with an older brother and sister, and another pair younger than him.

He became a yeoman farmer, and this may have been the way of life of his father and his ancestors before him.

We do not know what type of farming the Corys engaged in, but it is likely that it would include cattle, whose hides formed the basis of the leather industry which was the mainstay of nearby Northampton. The rich water-meadows of the Nene valley and its tributaries provided pasture for the cattle, while the forests around gave oak-bark for tanning and wood for fuel. There were shoemakers in Harpole, too.


JOAN HARRYS was from Harpole at the time of her marriage, since the wedding took place there. The IGI offers a possible baptism for her about 30 Dec 1590. If this is correct, she was the daughter of Richard and Briggett Harrys.

Other marriages of the Harrys and the Corys appear in transcriptions from the Harpole register. This frequent intermingling of the families suggests that they were of similar standing. Joan may well have come from another farming family.

Both were born in the latter years of the reign of Elizabeth I. They saw the union of the Scottish and English crowns when James VI of Scotland became James I of England in 1603.


Thomas and Joan married at All Saints, Harpole, on 16 February 1621.

They had seven children, of which only three survived to adulthood.
8 Dec 1622  John. John became a yeoman like his father. He died in 1688.
14 Nov 1624  Richard. Richard died in 1636 at the age of 11.
21 May 1626  Thomas.  Thomas also became a yeoman and died in 1662. At his baptism, his father was recorded as Thomas Cory senior. Thomas and Alice Cory were also by then raising a family.
26 April 1629  Elizabeth. This first daughter lived only a few days. She was buried on 5 May.
10 May 1630 a stillborn son was buried.
30 October 1631  Sarah. Thomas was again recorded as Thomas senior.
9 May 1633 another stillborn son was buried.

With this repeated tragedy, Joan’s childbearing days ended. No further baptisms are recorded for them.


Within a decade the country was thrown into Civil War. Northampton, only four miles from Harpole, was a strongly Protestant town. It had been slow to welcome James I in 1603, fearing the Catholic leanings of the Stuart family. In the Civil War, it was enthusiastically for Parliament and was re-fortified by Fairfax as a garrison town. Throughout the 1640s it sent consignments of thousands of pairs of shoes, and a smaller number of boots, to supply Cromwell and Fairfax’s troops. It would be interesting to know whether Thomas Cory’s cattle provided the leather for some of these.

Given their closeness to the garrison, it is almost certainly that crops and animals from the farm would have been requisitioned to feed the Parliamentarian soldiers. Whether Thomas and Joan received a fair price for this would depend on the local commander.

Their own sympathies in the war are unknown.


There is burial for Thomas Cory senior on 2 Feb 1648, which may well be the right one. If so, he would have been 65. Charles I was executed the following year.

A burial for Joan Cory widow on 8 Jan 1679 is probably too late, unless she lived to about 89. There are no other identifiable Joan Corys for this burial, so it remains a possibility.

There is a note which indicates that either Thomas or Joan left a will, but the contents of this are not yet known.






Cory Tree