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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



ALEXANDER TAKELL. We have traced the origins of Elizabeth Takell, who married Anthony Snell in Chawleigh in 1591, back to a probable birthplace in Rose Ash. The surname Takell is rare in Devon, but there were Takells in Rose Ash from the earliest records, and more there than in other places.

“ROSE-ASH, formerly called Ralph Esse, is a pleasant village, on an eminence …rising in bold hills on the east and north.” [1] This was sheep farming country.

We first meet Alexander Takell in the 1545 Lay Subsidy Roll for Rose Ash.

He is one of four men of that surname. John Takell sen, assessed at £15, is among the third highest rated taxpayers in the parish. Twenty years earlier he had appeared with a much lower rating, presumably because he was then a younger man who had not reached the full extent of his prosperity.

Also in the 1545 Roll are three new names: John Takell jun at £5, James Takell at £1 and Alexander Takell at £1. The likelihood is that these are John Takell senior’s sons. John junior was probably the eldest.

Alexander evidently grew up in a well-to-do family. In this rural setting, they were almost certainly yeoman farmers.

Rose Ash [2]
The Takells probably raised sheep on hills like these.


Moving on another 24 years, we have the 1569 Muster Roll for Rose Ash. There are only six occurrences of this surname, and its variant spellings, in the surviving Muster Rolls for all of Devon. Three of them are in Rose Ash.

They are: Alexander Tacle, who is one of the presenters of the Roll, Alexander Tacle, harquebusier, and Robert Tacle, archer.

The pattern of succeeding generations makes it likely that Robert is Alexander’s son.

The question arises, was the harquebusier Alexander the same as the presenter?

There is a will of Alexander Takell of Rose Ash, drawn up in 1588 and proved in 1589. If this is Robert’s father’s will, we should expect some reference to Robert, but there is none. If there were two Alexanders, and the harquebusier is a younger man, then we should expect that he too is the presenter Alexander’s son. He would not necessarily include his brother Robert in his will.

This evidence seems to point to Alexander the presenter being an older man, either over 60 or too infirm to bear arms. He would appear to have at least two sons, Alexander junior and Robert.

The Rose Ash registers do not begin until 1591, so we have no information about Alexander’s wife.

Alexander junior’s will contains an unusual clause, desiring that the glass be left in the windows and not removed. Window glass was coming into use in more prosperous households in the Tudor dynasty. It did not become common in ordinary houses until the early 17th century. Clearly, Alexander was proud of his glazed windows, and did not want the glass sold off.

He leaves bequests to servants and to the poor of Rose Ash. The biggest legacy, £3, goes to John Uphame when he comes of age. Another bequest to Margery Uphame, wife of Anthony Uphame, suggests that she is his daughter and John his grandson. There are bequests to Henry Takell and his wife Marie, and to their children Arthur and Catherin Takell. Henry is probably Alexander’s son. Margery Takell, daughter of Thomas Takell, may be another grandchild. Rose Takell of Lapford may be a daughter or a daughter-in-law.

The surname Buyssey occurs many times. One is Alexander’s servant Philippe Buyssey. But the number of other people of this name, and the nature of their bequests, suggests that they are family members.

A bequest of fleeces confirms the impression that the Takells were sheep farmers.

His wife Jane is his executrix and residuary legatee.


In the 1581 Subsidy Roll there is only on Takell listed in Rose Ash. Alexander Takle is rated at G6, a little above average for the parish. There is no mention of a second Alexander or of Robert, though we know that the Alexander whose will we have died in 1588/9 and Robert Takell was buried in 1598. This can be explained by the fact that the 1581 Roll does not include those rated for wages or goods at under £3.

It does not answer the question of whether the Alexander listed is the older or the younger. If the older one had died, the difference between the sons’ ratings of G6 and under G3 could be accounted for by Alexander junior being the eldest son and inheriting most of his father’s wealth. Or it could be that he was lower rated, like Robert.

It leaves the date of the older Alexander Takell’s death uncertain. We can only say that it was some time in the long reign of Elizabeth I.

[1] White, Devonshire Directory. 1850.
[2] ©Martin Bordman. Creative Commons licence.   https://s0.geograph.org.uk/photos/27/23/272395_866624e4.jpg




Sampson Tree