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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




Our first mention of John Loosemore junior comes when he was witness in a libel case in the 1570s.[1] His age is given as 23. This allows us to date his birth to around 1549, during the short reign of the boy king Edward VI.

Because he is the only Loosemore mentioned in Creacombe in the late 16th century, we surmise that he is the son and heir of John Loosemore senior, who was assessed for tax in Creacombe in the Lay Subsidy Rolls of 1542-5. We do not know who his mother was.

His father was one of the highest rated of a handful of taxpayers of this small parish. John would therefore have grown up in a relatively affluent family. Although his father was rated for goods, it is very likely that the family owned land too. No doubt they benefited from sheep-rearing at a time when the wool industry was expanding rapidly.

Hoskins describes Creacombe as: one of the most remote parishes in Devon, completely lost in high and moory country.[2]

John was born in the year of the Prayer Book Rebellion, which cut a bloody path across Devon, as traditionalists fought for the right to retain the Latin liturgy and the pre-Reformation vestments. Enmity between Catholics and Protestants overshadowed most of John’s lifetime.


In the 1569 Muster Roll, Creacombe is included with the much larger parish of Romansleigh, although the two are not adjacent. John Loosemore does not appear on it, though he should have been old enough for military service.


John was 23 when he was summoned to appear at the Barnstaple Archdeaconry Court. Fortunately, it was meeting, not in Barnstaple itself, some 20 miles away, but in South Molton, a journey of 8 miles in mid-winter. W.R Loosemore describes it thus:

One other early mention of the name occurs in the proceedings of the Barnstaple Archdeaconry Court, when in a hearing at South Molton ‘John Losmore of Creacomb where he was born, aged 23’ was called as witness in a libel case.  The court summary is not dated but the previous case was heard on 4 November 1572 and the following one on 21 January 1573 [both dates in New Style]. So the younger John was probably born c.1549.  By chance, the complainant was John Dodge ‘of Aysh Rasse [Rose Ash] where he was born, aged 28’, so he may have been a son of the James Dodge of Creacombe who was assessed in 1549-1552 but who left the parish to live in Rose Ash. [3]


We do not know whether John appeared for the complainant, John Dodge, or for the defendant.

By now, the bloody reign of Queen Mary was over, and the country was well into the Elizabethan era.


We have no information about the woman John married, or the date of their marriage. The early Creacombe registers have been lost, and only a few Bishop’s Transcripts remain. From these we learn that a James Loosemore had children baptised there in 1607 and 1610. Since there appears to be only one Loosemore family in this tiny village, it is reasonable to assume that James is John’s son. James was probably born around 1570-75. This would place John’s marriage in the early 1570s, or just before.

We do not know if there were any other children.


Since we do not know when John Loosemore senior died, it is not certain which of them the tax assessments in the latter half of the century refer to.

Other assessments follow for 1571, John Loysemore is one of four parishioners, assessed this time on land valued at 40s.; James Dodge is assessed on land valued at 12s.  The only other extant 16th century returns are those for 1582 and 1592, in each of which John Losemore is the sole name in Creacombe to be assessed on land, in each valued at £3.[4]

In fact, in 1581, John Losemore was rated for land at £3, the widow Joan Wyther for land at £2, and James Doidge for goods at £10.

It certainly seems likely that the 1592 assessment is for John junior, and probably the previous one too. John was thus a leading parishioner of Creacombe, and at least a landed yeoman. New farms were being developed on the uplands of Devon at this time.


This was the period when Elizabeth was having Catholics executed as traitors. In 1581 the fine for not attending Anglican service was raised from 1s a Sunday to a massive £20

a month. We do not know where the Loosemores’ sympathies lay, but John would no doubt have been one of those who had to enforce these laws.

Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed in 1587, and the Spanish Armada defeated in 1588.


We can assume that John died some time after the Subsidy Roll of 1592, taken when he was 43.




[1] Act and Deposition book of Barnstaple Archdeaconry Court 1570-1579, deposited at NDRO, accession no. 1127EA/AD1, transcr. P Christie as Of Chirche-Reves, and of Testamentes, pub. 1994 by Devon Family History Society, pp33-4.
[2] W.G. Hoskins, Devon¸(David & Charles,1972), p.378.
[3] W.R. Loosemore, Loosemore of Devon, an outline family history. www.loosemore.co.uk. Chapter 8.
[4] Loosemore.






Sampson Tree