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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



RICHARD KINGE. Since Richard married in 1574, we should expect his baptism to be around 1550. The Tiverton registers begin in 1559. There are several Kinge baptisms in the 1560s. Some of these may be Richard’s siblings, but the register does not give the father’s name. The impression is of a considerable extended family who had been in Tiverton for some time.

This is borne out by the Lay Subsidy Rolls earlier in the 16th century. In the 1525 Roll for Tiverton, there are two Kings: John Kyng, assessed at G2, and another John Kyng, assessed at W1. G means goods and W wages. They could be father and son, with the younger John having no property of his own. They are at the lower end of the economic scale, without being paupers.

In the 1545 Roll there is only one of this surname: Hugh Kyng, assessed at £2. Again, he is among the lowest rated. He could be a son of the older John in 1525. There are a few entries that are illegible, including one that begins with “John”.

The 1569 Muster Roll was taken only five years before Richard and Annis married. It listed every able man over 16. Richard is not among them. If he was living in Tiverton then, he must have been either under 16 or disabled. The former would give him a birth date no earlier than 1554.

In this Muster Roll there are no Kings in the very long list of those parishioners wealthy enough to provide extra arms. There are two billmen: John Kyng and Roger Kinge. Since Richard named his first son John, there is a strong probability that the former is his father.


ANNIS ADAME. We would expect a similar birth date for Annis. Again, we have not found her baptism. In this case, she may have been born outside Tiverton. There are no Adams in the Lay Subsidy Rolls or in the Muster Roll. The Adams entries in the parish register begin with the burial of John Adams in 1565. He is one of several who could be her father.

At her burial, her name is given as Agnes.


The name Tiverton means “town on the two fords”. It stands on the banks of the rivers Exe and Loman.

During the 16th century, the town grew rapidly to become a centre for the woollen industry. In the course of thirty years during the reign of Elizabeth the population nearly doubled. Wealthy wool merchants lavished money on St Peter’s church. Tiverton was particularly celebrated for its kersies. Kersey was a coarse woollen cloth, lighter than broadcloth. Over time, it was replaced by serge. Tiverton was among many Devon towns exporting their cloth to the continent.

St Peter’s, Tiverton [1]


The couple married in 1574, well into the reign of Elizabeth I.

Marriage. St Peter, Tiverton.
1574 Jul 18  Richard Kinge and Annis Adame

 There were seven children from this marriage, six boys and finally a daughter, Elinor.

Baptisms. St Peter, Tiverton.
1576 Jun 13  Jno
1578/9 Jan 31  Alexander
1581 Aug 31  Willm
1585 Jul 9  Xpofer & Richard
On 7 Sep 1587 Christopher was buried, aged two.
1587/8 Jan 31   Nicholas
1589/90 Feb 3  Ellnor

Tragedy struck in 1691. The country was hit by a recurrence of the plague, that had devastated the country in 1340s. It again rampaged through Devon between 1589 and 1593. Tiverton had one of the highest death tolls in the county. In the 1580s the average number of burials was 80 a year. In 1587 it rose to 170. It reached its peak in 1591 at 550, a tenth of the population.

Two-year-old Christopher may have been an early victim in 1587, when the normal death rate doubled. Or he may have succumbed to one of the more usual childhood illnesses, to which twins, often born prematurely, were particularly prone.

The annus horribilis  came in 1591. Agnes, and all five of their remaining sons died. Three of the boys were buried on the same day.

Burials. St Peter, Tiverton. Sons of Richard Kinge.
1591 May 26  Nicholas, aged three.
1591 Aug 12, Agnes, wief of Richard Kinge.
1591 Aug 22  Richard, aged six.
1591 Aug 22 Alexander, aged twelve.
1591 Aug 22  William, aged ten.
1591 Sep 11  John, aged fifteen.

Only Richard senior and their daughter, one-year-old Ellnor, remained.

It is probably this Richard Kinge who, on 2 Nov 1591, married Margaret Crudge at St  Peter’s.

We have not been able to find Margaret’s background. She too may have been widowed in the plague.

We have found no children from this marriage.

Even after this disaster, Tiverton’s tragedies were not yet over. Around the turn of the century, there were two major fires in the town. The first, in 1598, was allegedly started in a frying pan, when two elderly women tried to use straw to cook themselves pancakes because they had no wood. It spread rapidly and “consumed 400 houses and several chapels; and destroyed goods and merchandize, then valued at £150,000. Notwithstanding this calamity happened in the day-time, 33 persons perished in the flames.”

The second was on 5th Aug 1612. King James had ordered a holiday to celebrate his preservation from the Gowrie conspiracy. A Tiverton dyer did not observe this holiday and put his boy in charge of the furnace so that they could continue to work. But the boy, eager to finish early so that he could join in with the holiday, stoked the fire too high. When a dog fight distracted his attention he quickly lost control. It was known thereafter as the “dog-fight fire”. “600 houses were consumed, about 30 only escaping the fire: the loss in goods, merchandize, &c., was estimated at £200,000.”[2]

A woodcut shows the use of firehooks to drag down burning thatch.

                        The fire of 1612 [3]

Margaret, wife of Richard Kinge, died in 1624. She was buried on Dec 15.

In 1625, 53 houses in Tiverton were destroyed by a flood.

Richard’s burial is probably the following.

Burial. St Peter, Tiverton.
1629 May 31  Richard King of Tiverton.

“Of Tiverton” means that he lived in the town, rather than in the outlying countryside.


[1] Tiverton History: March 2020.
[2] Lysons, Daniel and Samuel, Magna Britannia, Vol. 6: Devonshire. 1822 Thomas Cadell.
[3] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fd/Firehooks.1612.p





Sampson Tree