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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)


Sampson Tree



DAVID FARRIER is said on a Farrier family tree to be the son of Owen Farrier, possibly born in Wales.[1] David himself is found only in the records of Weare Giffard.

Owen Farrier lived in Berrynarbor on the North Devon coast, 12 miles away. There are, however, very few Farriers in Devon around this time. Owen is the only one so far found in the North Devon records for the generation before David’s, though there is a big gap in the Weare Giffard baptisms from 1617.

If David was Owen’s son, then his mother’s name was Joane.[2] The suggested date for his birth is around 1615. He was not baptised in Berrynarbor, hence the suggestion that he may have been born in Wales before the baptism of a sister in Berrynarbor in 1617. Like Owen, David was a popular Welsh name.

If the Welsh origin is correct, then David and his family crossed the Bristol Channel to settle in this village 3 miles from the port of Ilfracombe.


David moved to Weare Giffard (pronounced Jiffard) before 1642.[3]  This is a village in an attractive setting straggling along the banks of the River Torridge, 3 miles south of Bideford. Small craft could navigate the river to Weare Giffard and on up to Torrington.

He became a husbandman, farming a small holding of land.[4]

He first appears in the records in the 1642 Protestation returns for Weare Giffard. He was probably then in his 20s.


There is no record of David’s marriage, or the name of his wife. He is credited with three children. Their baptisms are not in the Weare Giffard register, because of the gap from 1617-1667 which covers the relevant period. Their relationship to David and their ages may be deduced from the dates of their marriages in the village. There appears to be no other Farrier of David’s generation in Weare Giffard, or earlier, so the supposition seems a good one.

The children listed are:

Joane, born between 1640 and 1650.
John, born between 1645 and 1655.
Richard, born 1646 and 1656.

There may have been others who married elsewhere or died single.


David and his wife brought up their family in the days of the Civil War and the Republican Commonwealth.

Nearby Torrington was Royalist. Well over 2000 soldiers were garrisoned there towards the end of the war in 1646. “Space and supplies were at a premium, and men, and horses, were quartered outside the town in the outlying villages, ‘20 to a house and 3 and 4 to a bed, and 10 in the hay mow.’”[5] As a husbandman with a small farm, David would certainly have had Royalist troops quartered on him.

The Royalist Lord Thomas Wentworth used Weare Giffard Hall for himself and his cavalry. (The Weare Giffard Millennium history wrongly equates him with his namesake and kinsman, the Earl of Strafford.) The Hall was owned by the Fortescue family, who were lords of the manor, but there were Fortescues on both sides of the conflict.

“Weare Hall was one of the few medieval manors licensed to be fortified. There was a battle at Weare Hall simply because it was occupied by Royalists. Weare Giffard was the scene of much troop movement during the campaign by both sides and the Weare Giffard ford saw much activity. Heavy rains curtailed its use at the close of hostilities. The Battle of Torrington was fought in the darkness of a February night in 1646 and was the last major battle of the Civil War of 1642-1646. Torrington bore the brunt of this bloody battle.”

The warring armies were led by Lord Hopton for the Royalists and by General Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell for Parliament. The Royalists were heavily defeated.

“The battle at Weare Giffard resulted in the destruction of the outer defensive walls of the manor house; the main building escaped serious damage. While the Roundheads occupied the village they shot away the faces of the figures in the branches of the Jesse Tree window in the parish church of the Holy Trinity. Following the surrender of the Royalists at Weare Hall, General Fairfax ordered it ‘to be razed to the ground’. However the order was rescinded and only the outer defence walls were demolished. The Gatehouse was allowed to remain intact. I am convinced that Weare Hall survived because those who had a family interest in it fought on both sides…

“After the battle of Torrington in 1646, times were hard for all but the few who actively supported the army and extreme Puritanism. Around Torrington poverty and destitution were rife.”[6]


David’s three children all married in Weare Giffard after the Restoration of Charles II.[7]

Joane married Thomas Skitch on 30 Sept 1670.
John married Mary Robbins on 21 June 1675.
Richard married Hannah Prust of Bideford on 1 Mar 1675/6.

David lived to see his grandchildren grow up. He died in 1702, the year the last Stuart monarch, Anne, ascended the throne.

Burial. Weare Giffard.
1702  David ffarrier. Husbandman. 26 Apr.

He would have been in his 70s.

There is a possibility is that this is another David Farrier, perhaps his son, born in the parish during the period for which the baptismal registers are missing. But there are no references to a younger David in the records of marriages or as a father named in later baptisms.


[1] Farrier tree researched by David White.
[2] Berrynarbor burial register, DCRS transcript.
[3] Protestation Returns.
[4] Weare Giffard burial register.
[5] Keith Hughes (ed), The Story of Weare Giffard: A Millennium book written by the Community. 2001, quoting Perfect Passages, Wed. Feb 11-18, 1646.
[6] Hughes.
[7] Weare Giffard marriage register, DCRS transcript.






Sampson Tree