Charlotte image

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)



BARTHOLOMEW HOLWAYE. The succession of 16th century Holways is a matter for speculation, based on tax and muster rolls.

There appears to be a single family of this name in East Buckland, a little village high in the southern foothills of Exmoor. Bartholomew was probably the son of Thomas Holwaye, who appears in the 1569 Muster Roll as one of three parishioners wealthy enough to contribute a special levy of arms and armour, and also one of the three leading parishioners presenting the Muster Roll. He thus grew up in a respected and fairly affluent family.

Since Bartholomew’s name does not appear on this Muster Roll, either in East Buckland or another parish, we can assume that he was then under 16. This means he was born after 1553.

Bartholomew’s father  died in 1576, leaving a substantial estate. In the Subsidy Roll of 1581, the only Holway who is a tax-paying householder is Bartholomew himself. He was assessed as having an income of £5 a year from goods. This was about average for the parish. At this stage, he appears to be less affluent than his supposed father, but he was probably still a comparatively young man .

There is then a gap in the records until the 1642 Protestation Returns, which show five Holway men in the village. These include John Holway and John Holway junior, who are probably father and son. John Holway senior must have been born in the last quarter of the 16th century, and it is reasonable to assume that he is Bartholomew’s son. It is possible that any of the others, Paul, Philip and Richard, may also be a son, but they could equally well be of a younger generation. We infer that Bartholomew had died by then.

Kennedy, Joseph; North Gate and Rolle Quay, Barnstaple; Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/north-gate-and-rolle-quay-barnstaple-95394

Most, possibly all, of Bartholomew’s life was lived in the reign of Elizabeth I, 1558-1603. Nearby Barnstaple had long been a thriving port, and now Bideford was vying for importance. Even out-of-the-way East Buckland would have news of Devon’s sea-dogs, Drake, Raleigh and Grenville, and their exploits on the high seas. Much of Devon’s serges were traded overseas, and Devonians relied on England’s sea-power to safeguard their prosperity.


[1] Art UK. https://d3d00swyhr67nd.cloudfront.net/w944h944/DEV/DEV_BARN_PCF3.jpg




Sampson Tree