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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




HENRY FOOKE was having children baptised in Bishops Nympton from 1623 onwards. We should expect a birth date for him before the turn of the century. We find a suitable baptism in 1595.

Baptism. St Mary the Virgin, Bishops Nympton. [1]
1594/5 Jan 20  Henry ffooke the son of Anthony ffooke and Rebecca his wife.

He was the eldest child of Anthony Fooke and Rebecca Laneman who had married in Rose Ash the previous year. Rose Ash, 3 miles from Bishops Nympton, was presumably his mother’s home parish.

He had a younger sister and two brothers.


AGNES. We do not have the record of Henry’s marriage, so we do not know Agnes’s surname, or which parish she came from. We learn her given name from the baptisms of their children.

They appear to have married in the early 1620s. There is a gap in the Bishops Nympton marriage register between 1617 and 1622, so we cannot be sure that they did not marry in this parish.

If she was from Bishops Nympton, there are two plausible baptisms: Agnes, daughter of Henrye and Peternell Denforde, in April 1593 and Agnes, daughter of Peter and Agnes Chilcott, in Aug 1596. Parts of the register pages are missing, so there may be others. We have not found weddings for either of these girls.


Henry, and probably Agnes, was born in the closing years of Elizabeth I’s reign. The first Stuart king, James I, ascended the throne of England in 1603. He was already James VI of Scotland.


Henry and Agnes  had at least five children baptised at St Mary the Virgin, Bishops Nympton. Because sections of the register pages are missing, there may be others.

Baptisms. Bishops Nympton.
1623 Jul 27  Amias, the son of Henry ffooke and Agnes his wife.
1624/5 Mar 20  Agnes
1626/7 Jan 25  Andrew
1629 Apr 12  Jane
1632 Oct 23  Elin

There is a burial for Jane ffooke on 12 May 1641. The burial register does not include the usual information about parents of a dead child, so we do not know whether this was Henry and Agnes’s 13-year-old daughter. We have not found a marriage for Jane.

It is possible that Elin joined her brothers in Chittlehampton. There is a marriage there for Elline Fooke to Richard Hill in 1659.


Nine years after the Fookes’ youngest daughter was born, discontent with Charles I was growing. The king was increasing taxes to pay for his wars abroad. The wars themselves were interrupting the export of woollen goods to the continent. Woollens were the staple product of the North Devon economy. Parliament was the voice of the people against him. There were also growing fears that King Charles intended to turn the country back to the Catholic religion.

In 1641, every man in the country over 18 was required to take an oath of allegiance  “to live and die for the true Protestant religion, the liberties and rights of subjects and the privilege of Parliaments.” [2]

Five members of the Fooke family took the oath in Bishops Nympton. Henry Fooke is one. There were also two John Fookes and two John Fooke juniors. They were doubtless members of Henry’s extended family. The only one of Henry and Agnes’s children who would have been old enough to take the oath was Amias. He is not listed in the Bishops Nympton return but appears in the return for Chittlehampton, some 7½ miles to the west. He and his younger brother Andrew raised their families there. It is possible that Henry apprenticed them to a trade there while they were still boys.


Bishops Nympton was fiercely Parliamentarian in the Civil War which followed. Resistance began even before the war broke out. 1n 1635, the king tried to raise more money for his wars by the imposition of “Ship Tax”. Bishops Nympton was among the principal villages resisting this. More than 12 people refused to pay. [3]

There was a serious outbreak of violence in 1640. A number of Devonian soldiers were quartered in Wellington in Somerset. They suspected that their lieutenant was a Catholic. The soldiers set upon him and beat him to death. Nine out of the 21 who were examined, or sought in connection with his death, were from Bishops Nympton and South Molton.

In 1643, when the Royalists summoned the North Devon villages to provide a posse to fight Cromwell’s forces, Bishops Nympton was among the parishes with the largest number of defaulters.

Henry was around 50 at the time of the Civil War. We do not know whether he was called upon to fight.


Agnes died in 1661, shortly after the Restoration of the monarchy

Burial. Bishops Nympton.
1661 May 16  Agnes the wife of Henry ffooke

Henry’s burial has not been found in Bishops Nympton. He may have joined his sons Amias and Andrew in Chittlehampton before his death.

Burial. Chittlehampton.
1678 Apr 25  Henry ffooke

If this is the same Henry, he would have been 83.


[1] BMDs from parish registerson Findmypast.
[2] www.devonheritage.org. Bishops Nympton, Protestation Returns
[3] Mark Stoyle, Loyalty and Locality:Popular Allegiance in Devon during the English Civil War. University of Exeter, 1994.






Sampson Tree