Charlotte image

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)



HENRY EYME alias ZEALE was the son of Henry Eyme alias Zeale and Charitie Vicarye. These surnames are variously spelt Eame and Seale. He was born in 1593.

Baptism. Bishops Nympton
1593/4  Eyme alias Seale, Henrye  s of Henrye  & Charitie  2 Feb

He was the second of seven children, the last of whom died at or soon after birth. Henry was the oldest son.

Henry became a yeoman farmer, and it is likely that his father was too.

Before marrying, Henry took out a lease on part of Rose Ash Barton, the farm in the centre of that village. For a considerable period it was subdivided between two tenants

ROSE ASH: Counterpart lease for 99 years or 2 lives.  14 James I, 12 April, 1616[1]

(1) George Smith of Hadworthy, knight.
(2) Henry Eame alias Zeale, junior, of Bishop’s Nympton, yeoman.
Part of Rose Ash Barton, and a water course running though it.
Lives: Lessee and Grace Snell, intended wife of leasee.
Consideration: £100.
Rent: 6s. 8d., and 2 capons, or 3 shillings, at Michaelmas, yearly, and 3s., for the watercourse.
Heriot: Best beast or £3.


GRACE SNELL.  We learn about Grace’s origins through this lease, which Henry took out shortly before they married. The second of the three lives it names is Grace Snell, his intended wife. She is ‘the daughter of Anthony Snell of … in the County of Devon’. The name of the parish is on a crease in the document. The surface has become so worn that it is impossible to read with certainty, even under ultraviolet light. Magnified, the most plausible reading seems to be ‘Chawleigh’.

The Chawleigh registers offer positive information to support this.

Baptism. St James, Chawleigh.
1594/5  Grace ye Daughter of Anthony Snell was Baptized ye xiith day of February.

This would make Grace about 20 at the time of her marriage to Henry, which seems a suitable age, especially in a well-to-do family.

The marriage register for Chawleigh shows her mother’s name to be Elizabeth Tukle. The more usual spelling of her surname is Takell.

Grace was the child of her father’s second marriage. She was the third of a possible eight children of this union. There were, in addition, at least three older siblings from her father Anthony’s first marriage.

Her father was one of the wealthiest men in Chawleigh, owning or leasing considerable farmland. He was almost certainly raising sheep for the thriving Devon wool trade. Sheep feature several times in his will.

Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, so Grace and Henry grew to adulthood in the new Stuart kingdom.

Anthony Snell’s will, dated 1 March 1613/14 and proved in 1618, names his daughter Grace Cory. He had two daughters named Grace, so we must assume this is the one from his first marriage

It is likely that Henry and Grace married in May 1616, a month after the lease was signed. The marriage register for Chawleigh is faded, and the handwriting difficult to decipher, but a probable reading of one of the entries is:

Marriage. Chawleigh.
1616  Henrye Seale & Grace his wyefe were marryed ye xiiº day of maye.

This type of entry, which omits the bride’s maiden name, is found occasionally.

The couple set up home in part of Rose Ash Barton, at the heart of the village of Rose Ash. This was the property Henry had leased beforehand. It included meadows and the course of a stream. There is a later document of 1651 relating to Henry Eame’s share of the Barton with John Tanner . This is probably Henry and Grace’s son. It would appear that the Eames’s end included the kitchen and butteries, while the Tanner family held the parlour end.[2] This may well have been their share in the earlier lease.

Rose Ash Barton in the centre of the village.
The building on the right may be part of the older house

 The younger Henry’s baptism has not been found. He may have been christened in another parish or the older Henry’s death date may be wrong and the two documents relate to the same man. Besides the three children for whom we have baptisms in Rose Ash, there is also a daughter Charity whose baptism has also not been found, but whose existence we know from her burial.

Baptisms. Rose Ash.
1617  Zeale, Grace  d Henrie  24 Nov
1619  Zeale, John  s Henry  10Sep
Burial 1621  Zeale, Charitie  d Henry  10 Dec
Baptism 1622  Zeale, Mary  d Henry  3 Nov

Grace’s father died in 1618. Grace and her married sister Elizabeth do not feature in his will, but her unmarried sister Charity receives the large sum of £180. This suggests that Grace and Elizabeth had already received generous marriage portions and that this is to provide for Charity’s own marriage.

Henry died in 1624, at the age of 30.

Burial 1624  Zeale, Henry  10 June

Grace went on to marry again. This time her husband was John Tanner of Rose Ash. The will of Robert Snell, yeoman of Chawleigh, drawn up in 1643, mentions his sister Grace Tanner and brother-in-law John Tanner. This will is almost certainly that of Robert, son of Anthony and Elizabeth Snell. John was the son of George Tanner alias Mortimer, born in 1604, and thus ten years younger than Grace.

The Tanners were one of the most affluent families in Rose Ash.

Grace and John appear to be related. John Tanner’s mother was Eme Snell, younger sister of John Snell of Nutson in Chawleigh. Her exact relation to Grace’s family is not known.

It is probably this John Tanner who made the inventories for Anthony Snell of Lapford and William Snell senior in 1646.

We know of seven children from this marriage, baptised in Rose Ash.[3]

Baptisms. Rose Ash.
1628 John son of John Tanner of Creacombe baptized 31 Aug.[4]
1630  Johne Tanner the daughter of John Tanner was baptized the xxiiird day of May.
1634 Roger the sonne of John Tanner was baptized the xx1st day of December

1636 /7 Robert the sonne of John Tanner was baptized the xvth day of March.
1640 Matthew baptized 16 Oct
1643 Thomas baptized 30 Nov

These children were born in the reign of Charles I, in the years leading up to the Civil War.

In 1651, during the Commonwealth period after the execution of King Charles , the second deed relating to the Eames’s share of Rose Ash Barton was drawn up. While the earlier lease was between Henry Eame and the owner, Sir George Smith of Hadworthy, this was a bond for £100 between Henry Eame alias Zeale of Rose Ash, yeoman, on the one part, and John Tanner on the other. Henry is highly likely to be Grace and Henry’s son.

The bond specified the parts of Rose Ash Barton held by each party. Henry Eyme had the kitchen and buttery end of the house, with land and a stream; John Tanner, and presumably Grace, had the parlour end. The bond was to be void if Henry should permit John Tanner to “hold a moiety of Rose Ash barton without hindrance or trouble”. It would appear that John Tanner had lent him money, but Henry could be quit of the debt if he allowed John Tanner the use of the whole house.

There are very many documents in the Tanner files in which the Barton is split between two or more families. At a later date, the Loosemores were also party to such an arrangement.

Grace died in 1670, at the age of 76, and was buried in Rose Ash.

Burial. Rose Ash.
1670  Grace the wife of John Tanner snr was buried the xviiith day od August.

John died 5 years later.
1675  John Tanner senior was buried the 4th day of May.

There is a splendid, more modern, Tanner tomb in Rose Ash churchyard. It may be near here that the the older Tanners were buried.


[1] National Archives, Access to Archives :Tanner and Davy Family of Rose Ash 47/3/2/2, Devon Record Office
[2] National Archives, Access to Archives :Tanner and Davy Family of Rose Ash 47/3/2/3, Devon Record Office
[3] Marlene Williams
[4] Wilkins notes and FreeReg transcriptions.





Sampson Tree