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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)

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FRANCIS MARSH came from a long line of yeoman farmers in the East Kent village of East Langdon. His father was Robert Marsh and his mother Christian Begent of Dover.[1]

He was born around 1581, in the reign of Elizabeth I.

He was the child of both parents’ second marriages. On his father’s side, he had two half-sisters, another having died in infancy before Francis was born. There were probably half-siblings from his mother’s earlier marriage to Peter Wappole too, but we do not know their details. He had a full older and younger sister, and an older brother.

Francis would have been about seven when the Spanish Armada sailed up the Channel, intent on invading Kent. The Marsh family would surely have gone to the nearby cliffs to see the fleet of about 150 enemy ships in the waters between Dover and Calais, as well as the English warships. It was the largest fleet ever assembled in Europe and would have been a terrifying prospect. In the end, it was not the English commanders Drake and Hawkins who saved them, so much as the English weather. A gale swept the Armada on to the North Sea and around the British Isles, where most of the ships foundered. It is likely to have been a sight that Francis would remember all his life.

In the family tradition, he became a yeoman farmer, meaning that he had a substantial acreage.


He had evidently fallen out with his kinsman John Marsh. Two days before his first wedding, he was bound over to keep the peace. [2]

Francis Marshe of Marton, yeoman, in £10, to appear, do and receive and to keep the peace towards John Marshe of the same; sureties, John Goodwyn, gentleman and Thomas Brome, maltman, both of Dover.”
11 May 1602

Marton is today known as Martin. It is a hamlet in the north of East Langdon parish, where the Marshes’ farm was.

There were a number of John Marshes in this family. This may have been Francis’s uncle or a cousin.


ELIZABETH STOCKTON. Her surname is variously written as Stockton, Stoughton or Staughton.

We do not have a baptism for her, but she is said to be the sister and co-heir of Thomas Stockton of Ash.[3] Ash is a village 3 m west of Sandwich, on the road to Canterbury.

If she was a co-heir, then she had at least one sister. The name of their father is not given, let alone their mother.

From the date of her marriage, we should expect a birth date of around 1575, or perhaps later, since a gentleman’s daughter might marry younger than a working woman. Both Edward and Thomas Stoughton of Ash appear in document of that time. Either of them could be her father, though other sources make Thomas the son of Edward, so the latter was perhaps her grandfather.

Both appear as gentlemen.

We know that Thomas moved to Canterbury, so Elizabeth’s may be the following baptism.

Baptism. All Saints, Canterbury.
1583 Aug 25  Elizabeth Stockdon and Mary Stockdon.

Baptism. St Paul’s Canterbury.
1582/3 Jan 14  Elizabeth Stoughton

Frustratingly, these registers do not tell us the father’s name.

But there is a strong possibility that Elizabeth’s baptism is in a parish whose registers do not go back that far, or have not yet been made available online.

Thomas Stockton of Ash is said to be the great-great-grandson of Sir John Stockton, Lord Mayor of London. It is likely that Elizabeth was also descended from him.

The Stocktons lived at the aptly-named Moat Farm in Ash, where the Tudor farmhouse stands on a moated site.


Elizabeth and Francis were married in Sutton-by-Dover, a village two miles north of East Langdon. This probably means that Elizabeth was living there at the time. We have found no documents to link the Stockton family to Sutton.

 Marriage. Sutton-by-Dover.
1602 May 13  Fraunces Marshe and Elizabeth Staughton

 We know of seven children from their marriage, five girls and two boys.
Joan 1604, who died as an infant
Christian, who married William Pettit
Elizabeth 1606, who married John Parra. mor
Robert Marsh of Marton 1612
Francis 1614. The source for this genealogy has him as the son of Francis and his second wife Catharine, but this confuses him with a younger son, born in 1652. This older Francis became the perpetual curate of Guston by Dover. He seems to have predeceased his father.

Church attendance was compulsory, so the Marshes would almost certainly have been in church when the rector lost his temper with John Marsh.[4]

‘John Harrison of East Langdon, clerk, at East Langdon, being rector of the church there, during a celebration of Communion in the church insulted John Marsh of East Langdon, being one of the parishioners, in the following words “thou arte a slovenlie and beastlie fellowe, thou blowest thy nose, thou cloyest my Stomacke, I will have thee sett downe lower “in the said church.” [8 Jan. 1609/10 appeared and discharged by general pardon]’

We do not know whether this was the same John Marsh that Francis had fallen out with previously.

The Marshes enter our records as yeomen, but they were going up in the world.

In 1616, a grant of arms was made to John Marsh, son of John Marsh deceased, of Marton. Sometime before 1633, this was confirmed to Francis Marsh of Marton by Sir William Segar, Garter King of Arms.

Quarterly, gules, and argent, in the first quarter, a horse’s head, couped at the neck, argent.

He was still “Francis Marsh of Marton” in Feb 1634, when he was made overseer of the will of Thomas Marsh the elder of Marton. But at some point in the next seventeen years he moved to Sandwich, a town 7 miles north.

The Civil War broke out in 1642. Kent was mostly for Parliament, though the picture was by no means uniform. In the early years, Kent saw little fighting. Roundhead soldiers smashed things in Canterbury Cathedral that they deemed Popish, but their leader apologised afterwards.

By 1647, the country was in the hands of Parliament. In June that year, they issued an edict that Christmas festivities were illegal. No church services were to be held on 25 December, there must be no festivities, no making of ‘plum pottage or nativity pies’, no hanging of holly, rosemary or bay at the street-door, and that the shops must open. This provoked a riot in Canterbury.

Rebels seized the coastal castles and the magazines of arms at Sandwich and other towns. The revolt was eventually put down by Lord Fairfax and the New Model Army.


We know from Francis’s will that he married a second wife, Catharine. When he made this will in 1654, the two children from this marriage, Francis and Elizabeth, had not yet reached the age of 22. This means that they must have been born after 1532.

This leads to the following marriage:

Marriage. St Mary, Sandwich.
1649 Dec 9  Francis Marsh and Katherin Asherendenn

Francis’s first wife Elizabeth had probably died not long before this. We do not have the East Langdon burial register to know the date.

On 15 Oct 1650, there was a burial in Sandwich of Elizabeth, wife of Francis Marsh, but this is after the wedding with Catharine, so it must be a different Francis Marsh. We know that there were other men of that name in Sandwich.

The name of Francis’s second wife is spelt Katherin in the parish registers, but Catharine in her and Francis’s wills. Since she was unable to sign her name, she would not have been aware of the difference.

Francis came from a long line of yeoman farmers, who had recently risen to the status of gentlemen and been give their own coat of arms. Catharine was from a different family background. Her brothers were a grocer and a tailor.

Francis was probably nearing 70 when he married Catharine.

Three children were born from this second marriage:

Baptisms. St Mary, Sandwich.
1651 Dec 9  Francis. This first Francis evidently died.
1652/3 Jan 6  Francis
16 54 born Apr 7, bapt Jun 7  Elizabeth

England was under the rule of Oliver Cromwell in a Republican Commonwealth in 1654, when “Francis Marsh of the town and port of Sandwich in the County of Kent, gentleman” made his will. He signed it on 8 July, only a month after little Elizabeth was baptised.

It seems that all was not well between him and Catharine. Francis evidently had reason to believe that she would put pressure on his son Robert, whom he made his executor, to obtain larger bequests for her and her two children. He had already settled the family house on her. He introduced a punitive clause to forestall this.

He calls his adult children from his first marriage “my beloved daughters” and “my beloved son”, but Catharine is just “my now wife”..

 In the Name of God Amen, The eighth day of July in the year of our Lord god one Thousand six hundred fifty four, I Francis Marsh of the town and port of Sandwich in the County of Kent, gentleman being in reasonable good health and of sound and perfect memorie, the Lord be therefore praised doe make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following, ffirst and principally I bequeath my soul unto Almighty god who gave it me. And my bodie I bequeath to the earth whereof it was first framed directly to be interred at the discretion of my loving sonne Robert Marsh whom I doe hereby nominate and appoint to be sole executor of this my last will and testament. Also I doe give and bequeath unto my youngest sonne Francis Marsh and unto my youngest daughter Elizabeth Marsh and to either of them the sum of fifty pounds of lawful money of England at their and either of their several and respective age and ages of two and twenty years to, And if either of my said younger children happen to die before they attain the said age Then the portion or legacy of him or her so dying shall remain and goe unto my said sonne and executor And until my said younger children Francis and Elizabeth Marsh attain the said age of two and twenty years severally I give and bequeath unto each of them towards their maintenance the sum of five pounds a year of lawfull money of England, half yearly to be paid unto them by my said son Robert my said executor at Michaelmas and our Lady by equal porcions the first payment to be made on which of the said days shall first and next happen to be full five months next after my decease. And whereas I have alradie settled on Catherine my now wife by deed All that my messuage wherein I now live with the appurtenances to the said messuage belonging, situate and being in the parish of Saint Mary in Sandwich aforesaid which in regard to the small portion of [articles?] and had with her in marriage is a large proportion of my estate And therefore I do give and bequeath unto her my said wife out of my personal and other estate whatsoever only tenne shillings of lawfull money of England to be paid unto her by my said son and executor within one month the next after my decease, Also I give and bequeath unto my beloved daughter Christian Pettitt widdowe and Elizabeth Paramor wife of John Parramore and to each of them the sum of tenne shillings of like money to be paid unto them and either of them within one month next after my decease And I do give and forgive unto him my said son and executor all sums and remaines of money whatsoever by him to me by any way so due owing or demandable, And all the rest and residue of my goods, chattels, household stuff, implements of household and estate whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature quality or degree soever the same shall exist and be (my debts, legacies and funeral charges being first paid and deducted), I do hereby give and bequeath unto him my said beloved son and executor Robert Marsh. Also I do give and devise unto him said son Robert Marsh and to his heirs for ever All such messuages, land, tenements and hereditaments whatsoever and wheresoever the same are or shall be found whereof I now stand seized And which I have not already settled by deed, And I do hereby renounce all former wills by me made and do declare this to be my last will testament Provided always and my will and meanings further is that if my said wife Catherine shall interrupt, molest or trouble my said son and executor in the execution of this my will and not be contented with what I have herein bequeathed to her and to her two children Francis and Elizabeth Marsh my said son and daughter Then my said son and daughter Francis and Elizabeth Marsh shall have only five pounds apiece at their respective ages of two and twenty years, And all former legacies, gifts and bequests to them my said son and daughter Francis and Elizabeth Marsh and to either of them in this my will bequeathed and given shall cease be void and not paid. Anything herein contained to the contrary whereof notwithstanding, In witness whereof I the said Francis Marsh have to this my last will and Testament set my hand and seal dated this day and year first above written Francis Marsh sealed published acknowledged and declared to be the last will and testament of the said Francis Marsh the said eight day of July one thousand six hundred fifty four in the presence of Oliver Arthur, John Dennith, Valentine Norwood.

This Will was proved at London before the Judge for Probate of wills and granting administration lawfully authorized the thirteenth day of March in the year of our Lord God (according to the computation of the Church of England) one thousand six hundred fifty six by the oath of Robert Marsh the natural and lawful son of the said deceased and sole executor named in the said Will to whom was committed Administration of all and singular the said deceaseds goods, chattels and debts he being first sworn (by Commission) well and truely to administer.

 Francis did not die immediately, but two and a half years later.

 Burial. St Mary the Virgin, Sandwich.
1656/7 died Feb 7 bur Feb 12  Mr ffrancis Marsh

The title “Mr” was then only given to gentlemen.

Catharine, too, died the following month. She was buried, not at St Mary’s, like Francis, but at St Peter’s, Sandwich. It may have been her family’s church.

Burial. St Peter’s, Sandwich.
1656/7 19 Mar Katherine Marsh widow of Mr Francis Marsh

She too left a will “being weake and sicke of bodie”.

She makes her brother Richard Asherinden of Sandwich her executor. She gives him all her possessions to hold in trust for her two children until they reach the age of twenty-one. When Elizabeth reaches her majority, she is to receive £100, the residue to go to Francis.

If either of them dies before reaching twenty-one, then her brother Richard is to receive £10 and her brother Stephen £5. Her cousins Mary Deire and John Deire would receive twelve shillings each. The remainder would go to the surviving child.

If both of them die before reaching their majority, Mary and John Deire are to receive £5 each. The rest of her estate is to be divided equally between her two brothers or their heirs.

There is no mention of her stepchildren.

The will was signed with her mark on 14 March 1656/7 and proved on 20 Apr 1657.


Francis and Elizabeth’s son Robert, whom Francis had made his executor, emigrated to Pennsylvania with his wife Sarah.



[1] Much of the genealogical information comes from https://jjhc.info/marshfrancis1656, but I have taken a different view of Francis’s second marriage, based on his will.
[2] National Archives: QM/SRc/1602/90
[3] https://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/mm4ae/marsh03.php
[4] National Archives: QM/SI/1610/1/10




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