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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)



AUGUSTINE WOODLEY. Augustine was born in Tedburn St Mary, west of Exeter. He was the eldest son of John Woodley and Bridget.

These were the early years of the reign of James I.

Baptism. Tedburn St Mary.
1608 Sep 25  Augustine son of Jois Woodley

There had been Woodleys in Tedburn since at least the 15th century. They seem to have been, for the most part, people of some standing.

It is likely that Augustine’s father was a farmer.

The name Augustine is unusual. We know of one other instance in Tedburn St Mary: the yeoman Augustine Horrell/Horwill. It is likely that there is a family connection between the Horrells and the Woodleys.

By the time Augustine was three the family had moved to the neighbouring parish of Dunsford. Here, at least two siblings were born, a brother three years younger and a sister ten years younger.

Augustine was 14 when another baby brother was born. Augustine’s mother died a month later. It is likely that the baby died too.

When Augustine was 23 his father remarried. Five step-siblings were born.

We do not have a record of Augustine’s own marriage. It took place in or before 1641. Augustine was probably in his early 30s.


JOANE. We know the first name of Augustine’s wife from the baptism register. We do not know her maiden name or the parish she came from.

The couple set up home in Dunsford. There a son was born.

Baptism. St Mary, Dunsford.
1641 May 23   Robert ye son of Augustine Woodley and Joane his wife.

This was the year when all males over the age of 18 were required to swear the Protestation Oath of loyalty to the crown. Augustine (recorded as Austin) was one of three Woodleys in Dunsford taking the oath.

Dunsford, however, was a Royalist village.

After 1641 we hear no more about Augustine.

By now, James’s son, Charles I, was on the throne. He was becoming unpopular in many areas because his foreign wars interfered with trade. He also claimed the right to absolute rule. The Civil War between King and Parliament broke out the following year.

There were no further baptisms for Augustine’s children after this one son, and we do not have his burial. The evidence points to a strong possibility that Augustine was one of its casualties. He would have been one of many soldiers on either side buried far from home.

Dunsford was a strongly Royalist parish. Augustine would almost certainly have been fighting for King Charles. He may have fought under the lord of the manor, Sir Francis Fulford, who was a Royalist colonel.

Re-enactment. Parliamentarians march past
Royalist casualties [i]

Joane was left to bring up Robert on her own.

We find her again in the 1660 Lay Subsidy Roll for Dunsford.  Joan Woodley is listed among the Poll Tax payers. This was an unpopular tax that made little allowance for varying incomes.

The same year Charles II took his executed father’s throne, after years of the republican Commonwealth.

Robert left Dunsford and brought up his family in Moretonhampstead.


There are two possible deaths in Dunsford for Joane, both in the 1660s.

In 1665 the will of Joan Woodley of Dunsford was proved.

Four years later there was a burial.

1669 Apr 10   Joane Woodley widow.

This second Joane’s will was proved in 1671.

One of these two will be Augustine’s widow, the other the second wife of  his father John Woodley.


[i] Daily Mail. https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/04/01/article-2302239-0043625300000258-735_636x466.jpg





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