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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)



JOHN HOLWAY. We only have one record of John Holway senior of East Buckland. The Protestation Returns of 1641-2 show five men of that surname in the parish. They include John Holway and John Holway junior. There are many instances in the returns where there are men with the same name in the same parish. Usually, no distinction is made between them. In this case, the designation of the second John Holway as ‘junior’ makes it likely that the first John Holway is his father.

To take the Protestation Oath, males had to be over 16. In the case of John junior, what we know about one of his daughters suggests that he was already married and starting his family by this time. That gives him a likely birth-date of 1610-5 or earlier. That, in turn, places the birth of John Holway senior around 1590 or earlier.

Going back to the 1581 Subsidy Roll, we find only one Holway in East Buckland heading a tax-paying household. He was Bartholomew Holwaye, assessed as having an annual income from goods of £5, which was average for the parish. He is likely to be John senior’s father. The East Buckland registers date only from 1684, a century later, so we have no further information about this family.

We can surmise that John grew up in this little village in the south-west foothills of Exmoor in the closing years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. East Buckland is nine miles from the busy Elizabethan port of Barnstaple. As a boy, he would have heard the news of Drake’s death off Panama in 1596.

St Michael, East Buckland

 He probably married early in the next century, in the reign of James I. We do not know his wife’s name, nor what other children he had besides John junior. There were three other Holways in the 1642 Protestation Return for East Buckland: Paul, Philip and Richard. Any of these could be John’s brother, son, cousin or uncle.

After the Civil War and the Restoration of Charles II, Philip Holway appears again in the Hearth Tax Returns of 1664. This makes it quite possible that he is John’s son, although the name could also have been passed on by an uncle or cousin to the next generation. There are two John Holways paying Hearth Tax. One occupies one of the largest houses jointly with Anthony Southcombe. Since Anthony was John junior’s son-in-law, this is probably not John senior. The other has a house with only one hearth. This sounds rather poor for the line of descent we are following, especially given his son’s prosperity. Probably John senior had died before this.




Sampson Tree