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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)




WILLIAM PETTIT of Ringwould in East Kent was the son of the yeoman Valentine Pettit and his wife Helen Stokes. He was baptised at St Nicholas, Ringwould on St George’s day, 23 April 1600.

He had two older sisters.

The year after his birth, Queen Elizabeth died and the first Stuart king ,James I, ascended the throne.

William was only 15 when his father died in 1615. We do not have his father’s will, and Valentine may have died too unexpectedly to have made one. In any case, as the only son William would have been the major legatee. We would expect his father’s farm to pass to him.

There were still six years to go before William reached his majority at 21. It is likely that his mother, or some other trustee, would have managed his estate until then.

He married at 19, two years before he achieved his majority.


CHRISTIAN MARSH. Christian was married in the village of East Langdon in 1619. We do not have the early registers, but she is likely to have been baptised here. From the birth dates of her siblings, she appears have been born around 1605. It cannot have been earlier than 1602, when her parents married.

A website for Francis Marsh gives us details of her family. [1]

She is listed as the second child of Francis Marsh gentleman of East Langdon and Elizabeth Stockton of Ash. This would give her a birth date of about 1605. Since we do not have the date of her baptism, she could be the eldest child, born between 1602 and 1604.

The sister listed as the oldest girl died as an infant. There were three younger sisters and a brother.

Christian was brought up in East Langdon, a village three miles from the coast, between Dover and Deal.

The name Langdon means “long hill” or “long down”. It is the site of the ruined West Langdon abbey.

Christian was about seven when her mother died, probably following the birth of an only son. The following year, her father remarried. Her stepmother, Catherine, gave birth to a son and a daughter, half-siblings to Christian.

If Christian was the second child, then she was about 14 when she married William. If she was the eldest, she would have been about 17. It was not uncommon for higher class girls to marry young. They had the advantage of servants to do the heavy work while they were pregnant. Her bridegroom William Pettit was 19 when they married, also younger than usual.


William and Christian married in East Langdon on 26 Sep 1619.


Their first child, Francis, named after Christian’s father, was baptised in East Langdon on 11 Nov 1621.[2]

The couple made their permanent home in Ringwould. They had another nine children baptised there, three sons, followed by six daughters.

Baptisms. St Nicholas, Ringwould.
1624 Apr 8   William
1626 Sep 3   Valentine
1628 Aug 31   Richarde
1631 Mar 27   Elizabeth
1635/6 Mar 6   Mary
1637/8 Feb 2   Sara
1640/1 Jan   Margaret
1642/3 Feb 3   Anne and Jone

It is a measure of the comfortable economic status of the family that none of these children appears to have died in infancy.


By the time William and Christian had completed their family, the country was plunged into civil war.

Kent was largely untouched by the first phase of the war (11642-6). Most of the fighting was in the midlands and the south-west.

We have no way of knowing where the Pettits stood in this conflict.


William junior died towards the end of the first Civil War. He was buried on 8 Oct 1644 at the age of 20.

His father survived him by only six weeks. Will Pettit householder was buried in Ringwould on 18 Nov 1644. The nearness of their deaths may be coincidence, or they may both have succumbed to the same infectious disease.

William was only forty-four when he died. His father had also died in his forties.

William was a prosperous yeoman. At the time of his death, he was in possession of three houses, two of them rented out, as well as arable and pasture land. He was married to the daughter of a gentleman.

Christian was named as executrix of William’s will. [3]

All his children were then under age.

He left his daughters Elizabeth, Mary, Sarah, Margaret, Joan and Ann £20 each. This was to be paid to them when they reached the age of 24.

If the value of his corn, cattle, chattels and moveable goods did not exceed his debts and funeral expenses, then the balance of the legacy to the girls was to be made up by his eldest living son Francis out of the messuage and lands bequeathed to him.

Should any of his daughters die before the age of 24, then her bequest was to pass to Christian.

Christian was to receive  “my messuage lands tenements and hereditaments whatsoever situate lying and being in the said parish of  Ringwould” for her own maintenance and for the education and upbringing of his daughters and sons. William is concerned, not just for the maintenance, but for the education of his daughters. In contrast, Christian herself could only sign her will with her mark.

Christian was also to hold two small messuages or dwelling houses bequeathed to his sons Valentine and Richard until they reached the age of 24. Also the messuage, barns, stables and lands willed to his eldest son Francis, until the youngest daughter was 24.

When he reached the age of 24, Valentine and his heirs would receive the small dwelling house, homes, backside and appurtenances to the same, situated in Ringwould parish near the Parsonage gate, now occupied by John Abbott.

Also at 24, Richard and his heirs would receive his other small messuage with the backside and roughly one rood of land with the accompanying appurtenances, situated in Ringwould near the place called Furlongs, now occupied by George White Read.

If either of these two sons died without lawful issue, their inheritance would pass to their older brother Francis.

When his  youngest sister reached the age of 24, Francis and his heirs would receive “the messuage wherein I now dwell together with the barns, stables and buildings and all my lands arable and pasture whatsoever and wheresoever (not before willed)”, subject to a yearly payment of £15 to his mother. Christian’s allowance was to be paid in quarterly instalments.

His “will and desire” was that Francis should assist Christian “in the occupying the premises before given & bequeathed to her best advantage towards her maintenance and the education and bringing up the rest of my children before mentioned And that my said wife and Executrix shall allow unto my said son & her son Francis Pettitt for his pains and care in the premises sufficient & competent mornitey name until my said youngest daughter then living shall attain the said age of twenty and four years”.

He appointed as overseers of his will “my loving & worthy friends Francis Marsh of Martin in the parish of East Langdon gent and father in law & Francis Deering Minister of Gods word in this said parish of Ringwould.

The will was signed on 2 Nov 1644, “in the twentieth year of the reign of King Charles over England”. This was probably just the conventional form of dating supplied by the lawyer. It may also mean that William was not a dedicated Parliamentarian seeking to dethrone King Charles.

The will was witnessed by his father-in-law Francis Marsh, Francis Deering and John Verrier.

It was proved on 17 Dec of the same year.


During the second phase of the Civil War (1647-9), there were Royalist uprisings in Kent. The fleet anchored in the Downs off Deal declared for the King. Royalists seized Deal, Walmer and Sandown Castles. The tide turned when Lord Fairfax defeated the Royalists at the Battle of Maidstone in 1648. Walmer Castle was repossessed by the Parliamentarians. Deal and Sandown Castles surrendered after the Battle of Preston, later that year, which put an end to this phase of the war.

Kent played no part in the third Civil War (1649-51).


Christian survived William by nearly 30 years, but did not remarry.


In 1656, her father Francis Marsh died and left her ten shillings.


Christian died in 1673. By then, Cromwell’s republican Commonwealth was long over and Charles II had been on the throne for 13 years.


Christian Pettit, widow of William, signed her will with her mark on 27 June 1673. [4]

She asked that she should be buried in Ringwould churchyard next to William’s grave.

Ancient yews in St Nicholas churchyard  [5]


She left five shillings each to her daughters Elizabeth, wife of Richard Bold, and Mary, wife of John Castle .

Her daughter Sarah, wife of Giles Brett, received all her wearing apparel.

Ann, one of the twin youngest daughters, was apparently still unmarried. She received one brass platter, one pewter platter, one pair of sheets, one brass skillet and one joynt stool.

The remainder of Christian’s goods were to be divided equally between Margaret and Jone, who also seem to be unmarried.

She appointed the younger twin Jone her executrix.

She names only one son. The oldest, Francis, principal heir to William’s estate, had died six years earlier. Christian does not mention their other son, Richard. He had probably also died. We have not found a burial for him, either before or after 1673, but it could have taken place in another parish.

She leaves to the remaining son Valentine “one bed which I usually lie on with all the furniture thereto belonging, one chest one brass platter, one box, one great chair, Also I leave in the hands of my executrix the sum of sixty pounds for the sole use of my son Valentine to be disposed of as necessity shall require for the maintenance of him during his natural life, and if the said Valentine do not him to spend the said sixty pounds, what shall be left after his decease I give to my executrix.”


On 8 Jul 1673 we have the burial in Ringwould of “Widow Petitt householder”.

Christian’s will was proved on 1 Aug 1673.



[1] http://www.jjhc.info/marshfrancis1656.htm
[2] Kit Withers. www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pettit-1803
[3] Kit Withers. www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pettit-1803
[4] Kit Withers. www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pettit-1803
[5] https://dnaexplained.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/st-nicholas-ringwould-churchyard9.jpg?w=584&h=435




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