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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)




RICHARD PETTIT. A fellow researcher has traced our Pettit family in Kent back to Richard Pettit of Ringwould. [1] The Ringwould registers go back to 1569. Richard is believed to have been born before 1550. He lived most of his life in the long reign of Elizabeth I.

There is a deed for 1525/6 in which Suzanna widow of “Kyngesdowne in the parish of Rengeweld” grants all her lands and appurtenances in Kyngesdowne to William Naylor of Deale and William Pettyt of Rengeweld sen to be held for Suzanna during her lifetime and afterwards for her daughter and her heirs. [2]

Given the date and place, there is a strong possibility that William Pettyt junior and William Pettyt senior are Richard’s father and grandfather, or grandfather and great-grandfather.


The village of Ringwould stands on high ground near the coast, 3 miles SSW of Deal. In medieval times it was one of 42 towns and villages that formed the coastal confederation based on the Cinque Port of Dover. Ringwould was then a market town. The parish boundary extends to the seashore, where we find the village of Kingsdown. Fishing was a significant occupation.

Richard, however, became a yeoman farmer. It is likely that his father was also a yeoman.

Ripple Mill, Ringwould  [3]


Richard would have taken his corn to be ground in a mill such as this.



JONE. We know from her burial record that Richard’s wife was named Jone, but we do not know her surname or where they married.

The estimated birth date of their firstborn child suggests that they married around 1565. This was a few years into the reign of Elizabeth I.


Their eldest child was Valentine, born around 1567, shortly before the start of the registers. He too became a yeoman.

We have the baptisms of four more children.

Baptisms. St Nicholas, Ringwould.
1569/70 Feb 2   Richard
1571/2 Feb 10   William
William was buried on 6 April 1573, aged one and a half years.
1573/4 Feb 24   George.
1576 Dec 19   Elizabeth

 The evidence suggests that Jone never recovered from Elizabeth’s birth. She was buried three months later, on 24 Mar 1577.

The baby Elizabeth would have been cared for by a wet nurse. She did not live to see her first birthday. She was buried on 9 Nov 1577.

Richard junior is not mentioned in his father’s will, and may also have died young.

For a good deal of their lives, Richard and Jone would have been in fear of invasion from the hostile forces of Catholic Spain and France, who wanted to dethrone the Protestant Queen Elizabeth. This threat came to a head with the arrival of the Spanish Armada in 1588. While anchored off Calais, it was scattered by English fireships.  Some of the fleet were damaged in the Battle of Gravelines. The rest were scattered by a storm and driven right around the coast of the British Isles, passing the shoreline of Ringwould parish on their way. A third of the Armada’s ships were wrecked.


Three years later, Richard Pettit yeoman was on his deathbed when he signed his will on 2 December 1591. [4] It reveals something of the extent of his property holdings.

He left his youngest son George “my house sett lying and being in the parish of Ringwould above Crathersole.”

“Also three acres and rod of land being in the parish of Ringwould on the north west side of the said house adjoining to the lands of the heirs of John Gillowe southwest to the land of Thomas Philpott the elder north west and to the land of Mrs Sidley north east.

One acre of land more lying in the north field between the land of Thomas Philpott the elder north west and the land of Mrs Beare north east.

One half acre lying in a shott called Baggershouse shott lying between the land of the heirs of Robert Brett east and the land of Thomas Adams north west.

Seven rodds in the furlong the highway going from Ringwould to St Margarets through it joining to the land of William Martin south east and to the land of the said heirs of Robert Brett toward the north west.

One half acre and half a rodd lying in the Chanckpitt shott between the land of Beatrice Martin on the southeast side and the heirs of Robert Brett on the northwest side.

Five rods lying in the mede adjoining to the lords lands east and south east and the lands of Luke Philpott north west.

Three rodds of lands more in the medes heading upon Rogers Close south west and Luke Philpott on the north west side and to the land of Beatrice Martin south east.”

Though George seems at first sight to receive most of the bequests, the eldest son Valentine is Richard’s residual legatee. His legacy is likely to have been considerably more than George’s.

“I give and bequeath to my son Valentine the house where I now dwell and all other my land and tenements whatsoever not willed within the county of Kent or the where to him and to his heirs for ever.”

Valentine is his sole executor.

The witnesses are  “Richard Pettit by his mark Nicholas Homewood by his mark  James Brett by his mark and Mr John Est the writer.”

The Richard Pettit listed among the witnesses is unlikely to have been Richard senior’s son, since he receives no bequest in the will.


Richard Pettit was buried in Ringwould on 28 Jan 1591/2. He was probably in his early fifties.



[1] Kit Withers. www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pettit-1803
[2] Lambeth Palace Library. Abstract available from  National Archives CM 31/140.
[3] Peter Kesby. http://www.peterkesby.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/PKP_Images/AK_deal/AK015-wheat-field-leading-to-ringwould-windmill-portrait.jpg. Ripple Mill is 19th century, but windmills were a feature of the Kent countryside long before that.
[4] www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pettit-1803





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