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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)



HENRYE EYME alias ZEALE of Bishops Nympton was married in 1590, suggesting that he was probably born in the 1560s. The Bishops Nympton registers begin in 1556, and his baptism has not been found there. John Seale had a daughter baptised there in 1565. This may have been the last child in a family of which Henrye was an older child. In that case, he would have been born in the early 1550s. Or the family may have moved into Bishops Nympton after Henrye’s birth. Some of the surrounding parishes do not have registers going back that far.

There are variant spellings of both surnames: Eyme or Eame, Seale or Zeale. Seale is more common in the earlier records of this family, and Zeale in the later ones.

Bishops Nympton [1]


CHARITIE VICARYE. We know from the marriage register that Charitie was the daughter of Henrye Vicarye of Rose Ash. The Rose Ash registers only date back to 1591, too late for Charitie’s baptism. An entry in the burial register suggests that her mother’s name may be Johan, but this is more probably her aunt.

The Vicaryes seem to be a well-to-do family. In the 1569 Muster Roll, around the estimated time of Charitie’s birth, the roll for Rose Ash was presented by four men, the first of whom was William Vicarye, who may be Charitie’s grandfather. He was one of five men assessed as affluent enough to provide extra armour. Charitie’s father, still quite a young man, appears as a harquebusier.

In 1596, John Vicarie, possibly Charitie’s brother or cousin, married ffrances Southcombe, a member of Rose Ash’s leading family. In 1620, we find the burial of John Viccary, gent. And in 1621, Alexander Viccary junior married Elizabeth Cookesley of Kings Braunton in Somerset. That sort of alliance was more common among the higher status families.


The couple were married in Bishops Nympton in 1590.

Marriage. Bishops Nympton.[2]
1590  Eyme alias Seale, Henrye & Charitye d of Henrye Vicarye of Aishe raffe (Rose Ash)

Seven children were baptised there.

Baptisms. Bishops Nympton.
1591  Eyme alias Seale, Margaret  d of Henrye & Charitie  3 Oct
1593/4  Eyme alias
Seale, Henrye  s of Henrye & Charitie  2 Feb

There is a burial on 18 April 1595 for Margaret Seale. This might be Henry and Charitie’s eldest daughter, but with the burial of a child it is usual to name the parents, so she was probably an adult.

1596  Eyme alias Zeale, Francis  d of Henrie & Charitie  27 Oct
1601/2  Eyme alias Zeale, George  s of Henrie & Charitie  17 Jan

Elizabeth I died in March 1603 after a long reign. She was succeeded by the son of the executed Mary Queen of Scots. He was known as James I of England and VI of Scotland.  The Zeales’ fifth child was born later that year.

1603  Eyme alias Zeale, John  s of Henrie & Charitie  20 Apr
1606  Eyme alias Zeale, Grace  d of Henrie  Charitie  15 Aug

The seventh child is known only through the burial register.

Burial. Bishops Nympton.
1608  Eyme, A Chrisomer childe of Henrie & Charitie  14 Nov.

Before the Reformation, a child was anointed with oil at baptism. This was known as the chrism. A piece of linen, the chrisom-cloth, was put on its head and worn for seven days.

After the Reformation, the oil was omitted, but the custom of wrapping the newly-baptised baby in a white chrisom-cloth continued. The liturgy of Edward VI, 1549, says: ‘ Then the minister shall put upon the child the white vesture, commonly called the Chrisom; and say, “Take this white vesture for a token of the innocency, which, by God’s grace, in this holy sacrament of baptism, is given unto thee.”’ The cloth was worn until the mother’s “churching”, when, forty days after the birth, she went to church for the first time for a rite of purification. It was then handed back to the church for re-use. But if the child died before the churching, its baptismal robe became its shroud. Such an infant was sometimes called a “chrisomer child”.[3]

Charitie died in 1628, three years into the reign of Charles I, King James’s son.

Burial. Bishops Nympton.
1627/8  Eame, Charitie  w of Henry  29 Jan.

It was to be a reign of increasing tension between King and Parliament, with the King demanding money that Parliament was unwilling to provide. Charles believed in the divine right of kings and became increasingly autocratic.

In the 1630s more than 12 persons in Bishops Nympton refused to pay the Ship Money tax the king had levied. This was one of the highest refusal rates in the county.

There is a burial for Grace Eame on 10 July 1640. This may be Henry’s youngest daughter, if she had remained unmarried. With the 17th century, the alias Seale or Zeale seems to have fallen out of use in the Bishops Nympton register.

By now, the tension between King and Parliament was coming to a head. It resulted in civil war  in 1642.

North Devon was a wool-producing area and the villages around South Molton were strongly Parliamentarian. They believed that the king’s policies were detrimental to the wool trade.

Men from Bishops Nympton were particularly involved in a soldiers’ mutiny in July 1640. 600 North Devon conscripts were impressed to fight the Scots. Lieutenant-Colonel Gibson met them in Tiverton and marched the first company to Wellington. He was assisted by a young lieutenant named Compton Evers.

While they were quartered in Wellington, on Sunday, 12 July, the soldiers noticed that Lieutenant Evers had not attended church. They suspected him of being a Catholic. Scores of angry men gathered around the house where he was quartered. Some broke inside, others climbed on the roof to rip off the tiles over Evers’s bedroom. They dragged the terrified lieutenant “out of his chamber, dragging him by the armes and legges downe the staires & soe into the street”. There, they “fell upon him and beate him violently … with theire cudgells.” They belaboured him “both with swords and staves until they had killed him.”

They stripped the dying officer. One took his money, another tore off his pockets. A third man took “from about his necke a cruicifixe tyed in a riband”, proof of his Catholicism. The body was left lying in the street until the following morning, when it was carried to an inn.

The soldiers “took occasion to retire”. They deserted and hastened back to Devon, boasting “that  they had dispatched theire Lieutenante.” Another company, hearing of the mutiny, “forsook all command and returned home.” They “called upon a drummer to beat a march back, crying out that they would not march forward unless they were led by their own county conductors.” The panic-stricken deputies ordered the entire force of North Devon soldiers to disband. But 100 of the defiant mutineers remained in arms, refusing to disperse.

A month after the murder, on 12 August, the principal suspects were interrogated. Nine of them came from Bishops Nympton and South Molton, and the remaining 12 from nearby parishes. The outcome is unclear. [4]

We do not know which side the Zeales were on, and what part, if any, they played in these events. Henry and Charitie’s sons would have been of an age when they might have been conscripted. In any case, the whole community would certainly have been rocked by what happened.

Henry died shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War.

Burial. Bishops Nympton.
1641  Eame, Henry  17 Nov.


[1] Bishops Nympton Parish website.
[2] Register entries are from the DCRS transcripts
[3] sacred-texts.com/sks/flos/flos14.htm; listsearches.rootsweb.com
[4] Mark Stoyle, Loyalty and Locality: Popular Allegiance during the English Civil War, University of Exeter Press, 1994, pp.168-9.




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