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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)



HUMFREY KEYNES was descended from a long line of lords of the manor of Winkleigh Keynes. The parish of Winkleigh lies midway between Barnstaple and Exeter. The administrative area of the Winkleigh Hundred consisted of just this one parish.

Humfrey was the eldest son of John Keynes, who had become lord of the manor while he was still a minor.[1] The family had owned estates in five counties, but by Humfrey’s time, their lands had shrunk to Winkleigh.

His mother was Ellen. A list of feoffees entrusted with family matters suggests that her surname was Walrond, More, Kyrkeham or Whitinge.[ii]

We know from his father’s IPM that Humfrey was born around 1495-6. This was in the reign of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. He was probably born and lived in Court Castle, on the eastern edge of Winkleigh village. All that remains of it now is a massive tree-clad mound, with almost no signs of masonry.

He probably had siblings, but we have no record of them.

Humfrey was only eleven when his father died, leaving him as the heir, We do not know whether his mother remarried.


MARY WHITINGE came from another landowning family: the Whitinges of Woode in the East Devon parish of Kentisbeare. Her father John Whitinge was also lord of the manor of Prodehomeslegh. Her mother was an heiress, Anne Pauncefoot, of Compton Pauncefoot in Somerset.[2]

Mary was born in 1501-02, in the reign of Henry VII. That was the year her uncle Christofer died, leaving Mary’s father, who was his younger brother, to inherit the manors of Woode and Prodhomeslegh. The family home of Woode, where Mary grew up, was said to be a ‘mancyon place’.[3] It lies NW of the village and is now known as Woodbarton.

Her father’s IPM in 1529 shows that Mary, at 27, was the eldest of five sisters. There is gap of ten years between the second and third, and seven years between the fourth and fifth. This suggests there were probably other siblings, some of them perhaps boys, who died young. Her sister Agnes was born two years after her, but the others who survived were very much younger. The fourth daughter, Joan or Jane, was a nun at Wilton Abbey by the time she was 12, and may have been given to the monastery as an infant.


We can assume a marriage date for Humfrey and Mary around 1520. By now, Henry VIII was on the throne, and unhappy about the failure of his first queen, Catharine of Aragon, to produce a son.

Mary brought to the marriage lands in Cornwall. The properties were ‘1/3 of the moiety of the manor of Tresparvett’ and ‘1/3 of 2 tenements and gardens in Treburtell and Launceston’. There is a village of Tresparrett near the North Cornish coast, NE of Boscastle. West of Launceston lie Trebursye House and Farm. The 1/3 share suggests that this property may have been shared with other sisters.[4]

What is surprising is that there is no entry for Keynes in the Subsidy Rolls of 1523-27 for Winkleigh, and none for Humfrey elsewhere. The couple may have been living in a parish whose Subsidy Roll records were lost. Or Humfrey’s father may have died and his mother remarried. If they were all living at the Castle, Humfrey’s stepfather might have been listed as the principal taxpayer. The largest landowner listed for Winkleigh is Thomas Copleston.


We know of two children from their marriage. Anne is thought to have been born in the early 1520s.[5] Their heir was John. He was 24 when his father died in January 1450, and was therefore born in 1525-6.[6] Mary’s IPM says that ‘they had issue John Keynes & others’, so there must have been at least one more child.


Mary’s sisters married well. While Mary had moved 26 miles west to Winkleigh, Agnes went to live with Henry Walrond in his mansion of Bradfield near the Whitinges’ home in Kentisbeare. Isabell married Nicholas Ayshford, whose estate was Ayshford in Burlescombe, just a little further north. Joan left her abbey and later married Robert Fitz James.[7]

In 1509, the young Henry VIII came to the throne. His first wife Catherine of Aragon’s children all died or miscarried, except for Princess Mary, born in 1516. England had not had a queen regnant since Matilda in the 12th century, which had led to civil war between her and Stephen. Henry determined to get rid of Catherine and marry a wife who would give him a son. So began the campaign that was to end in the overthrow of papal authority and the founding of the Church of England.

In 1522 Humfrey and Mary would have seen the completion of the carved and painted Rood Screen in the church, which John Kelly made over a ten-year period, at the considerable cost of £54.6s.8d. They may well have contributed towards it. The screen was removed in 1761.[i]

Before the Reformation, there would have been many altars and statues in the church. Every parish had a number of guilds, dedicated to a particular saint. The community history of Winkleigh says: ‘There were eight guilds in Winkleigh. The most important was probably the Guild of All Saints; St George’s Guild was for the young men; St Katherine for the young women; St Blaize for the woolcombers; St Christopher; St Anthony; St Mary of Pity and St John the Baptist. Nearly everyone belonged to a guild – life membership was 3/4d. They then gave voluntarily whatever they could, often in goods or kind, as three rings of silver and a pair of silver slippers are recorded. Much of their income came from keeping cattle, sheep and bees. Wool and wax were important donations.

‘The Guilds resembled the friendly societies of later days, caring for people in times of sickness, distress and death. The accounts were administered by the Four Men and the goods, money and records were all kept in the parish chest in their charge.

‘The Guild all had their own altars in the church, but these were destroyed in the time of Queen Elizabeth I in the wave of protestant reformation which swept the country. The Guilds are heard of no more and the churchwardens took over the caring for the poor of the parish.’[ii][

In 1526, the names of Humfrey and his son John appear on a lease for a fishery in Uffculme, in east Devon.[8] It was the custom in Devon to sign a lease for the duration of three named lives. In this case, the first name is Henry Walrond, with Humfrey, and then young John, expected to inherit the tenancy after him. Henry Walrond was Humfrey’s brother-in-law, being married to Mary’s sister Agnes.

Reference: 1926 B/W/ET/14/16
Creation dates: 1526
Scope and Content
Lease for lives

  1. John Bourchier, Lord Fitzwarren,
  2. Henry Walrond, Humphry Keynes, esq., and John his son

Premises: fishery in Uffculme manor

In fact, Humfrey died a few weeks before Henry, so the lease would have passed straight to his son.

We do not know when Humfrey’s father died and he inherited the manor of Winkleigh Keynes.

Mary’s father died in 1530. He had managed to arrange it so that his daughters inherited his lands in Devon and Cornwall, and they did not pass to a more distant male heir.[9] The daughters’ inheritance included land in Payhembury. The manor of Upton Prudhome lay at the foot of the ridge on which stands the Iron Age hillfort of Hembury.

In his will John left Mary and Agnes, the two eldest daughters, ‘all my plate of silver and silver gilt and parcell gilte and bugilt’. Also, ‘all my stuffe and householde both brasse and pewter with al maner of hanginges bedding’, with the proviso that their mother should have the use of these for her lifetime.

In a codicil, he gave Mary’s sister Isabell a third share with Mary and Agnes of ‘all my plate stuffe of household all my bedding naprye coffers with all hanginges kechyn stuffe with all brewing vesselles and all other trumprye of householde as all my waynes caryngs and ploughgere’, provided that she married.[10]

To begin with, their mother Anne lived on at Woode, but then she decided to return to Compton Pauncefoot in Somerset, where she was born.

In 1531, the country was shaken by Henry VIII’s rejection of papal authority and the creation of the Church of England, with the king as its supreme head ‘so far as the law of Christ allows.’

The following year, the vicarial tithes of Winkleigh were leased to Humphrey Keynes, Esq., and John Norys for a term of three years, commencing April 23rd, 24th Henry VIII. (1532). They were valued at £21 8s 9d. a year.[11] It seems that Humfrey was probably by then lord of the manor.

In 1533 Mary’s mother Anne died in Compton Pauncefoot. She left yet more estates to her daughters.

Her will stated that for seven years, her stepbrother Robert Willoughby was to live at the ‘mansion place’ of Compton Pauncefoot and enjoy the revenue from it. Thereafter ‘my said recoverers shall stand and be seised of and in the chief capitall mansion of Compton Paunscefote, with the gardyn and orchards barton and domynycall or demean lands thereto belonging and also of the wood there called Holcombe Wood and of Custome mille there being with the course of water, lettes, spryngs, werys and fastenyng of the same and with the advowson of the Chauntrye of the same manor to the use of Humphry Keynys and Mary his wife on condition they dwell there at all tymes except when the pestelence is reynyng.’[12]

Robert Willoughby was one of the feoffees Anne had appointed in 1531, and her residuary legatee. In 1534, soon after her death, her daughters and their husbands jointly sued him. They claimed the deeds of the manor of Compton Pauncefoot from him.[13]

They also sued John Ford, a tenant of the manor of Pridhamsleigh, for unpaid rent, and Richard Cole, Steward of Honiton, who refused to admit the plaintiffs to a burgage (land or tenements) there.

1534 was the year that saw the final break with Rome, with the Act of Supremacy confirming Henry, not the pope, as head of the Church in England.

In 1535 the Church House was built in Winkleigh, at a cost of £28.14s.4d. The upper floor consisted of one large room, where the chest for the ‘Four Men’, who oversaw the church, was kept.[14] Church ales would have been brewed on the ground floor, for church funds. No doubt Humfrey contributed money towards the building.

Winkleigh Church House and Almshouses[i]

1535 also saw the introduction of the Settlement Act. Everyone was assigned a parish of settlement, in which they had the right to live. Settlement could be acquired by birth, work, or marriage. Parishioners became the responsibility of their parish of settlement if they fell on hard times. Vagrants, pregnant women, or the infirm who did not belong to that parish were hustled on to the next one, before they could become a charge on the rates. If necessary, they were even transported in a wheelbarrow.[15]

In 1536 Henry VIII dissolved the smaller monasteries with an income of less than £200. They became the property of the Crown. Two years later, the larger monasteries fell. Henry sold their extensive property to laymen. With them went a great deal of provision for education, health care and care of the poor. These then had to be replaced from secular sources.

Mary’s younger sister Joan had already left Wilton Abbey, where she had been a nun from childhood. She married Robert Fitz James and died young, probably in childbirth.[16]

It may have been about this time that Mary’s old home of Woode in Kentisbeare lost the family chapel, which had been part of the manor house since the 14th century. Or it may have been demolished after the house was leased in 1541 to the strongly Protestant Sir Gawen Carew. Judging from their carvings, some of the stones were reused in the construction of outbuildings.

In 1540, the seven years for which Mary’s step-uncle, Robert Willoughby, had been granted possession of her mother’s manor house of Compton Pauncefoot came to an end. There is no firm evidence that Mary and Humphrey moved to Somerset to take up the bequest, which required them to live there, but it seems that they probably did so. In the following century, two Jesuit brothers, George (1630-1659) and John Keynes (1625-1697) were born there.

Keynes, George, alias Brett (1630-1659), Jesuit, of Compton Pauncefoot. Born in 1630 died in the Philippine Islands.[17]

Keynes, John (1625-1697), Jesuit. Born at Compton Pauncefoote, about 1625. He was probably a brother of George Keynes. Died at Watten, near St. Omer, 15 May 1697.

Around the 1540s, Humfrey and Mary’s daughter Anne married John Cruwys, who succeeded as lord of the manor of Cruwys Morchard.

In 1541, Sir Gawen Carew, who had made a name for himself as a soldier, sailor and merchant, sold his estates in Kent and returned to his native West Country. He leased Woode from Humphrey and his brother-in-law Henry Walrond. [18]

John Whiting’s daughters acted jointly, with their husbands, in managing the estates he left them. In 1545 there was a lease for three lives of The Breach in Cullompton, from the heirs of John Whiting of Wood, esq. and their husbands, including Henry Walrond, to John Hake.[19] The girls’ grandmother was a Hake.


Mary and Humfrey died in middle age. Mary was 46 or 47.

She died on 14 April 1548, a year after the death of King Henry and the succession of his  young son Edward VI. An Inquisition Post Mortem was held, not immediately following her death, but after the death of her husband two years later. It was to investigate what land she had held, and who should inherit it. She had by then no land in Devon, Upton Prudhome having been taken over by the Ayshfords, the family into which Isabell had married. She still had her share in the two Cornish properties. Humfrey held these lands until his own death. The income from them then passed to their son John.

KEYNES, Mary wife of Humfrey.  4 Edw.VI. [1549/50]
Chancery Inq.p.m. Ser.II. Vol.90 (24)
Writ dated at Westminster 12 Feb. 4 Edw.VI. [1546/50]
Delivered into Court 24 March by William Harvy, gent.

Inquisition taken at Launceston 19 March 4 Edw.VI. [1549/50] before Hugh Trevanyon, Knt., escheator, after the death of Mary Keynes late wife of Humfrey Keynes, esq., by the oath of William Vyell, esq., Richard Graynfeld, esq., Richard Sawle, esq., William Tredenek, John Coysgan, Oliver Tre. . . , . . . . Kyllyowe, Robert Smythe, John Cottell, Thomas Cottell, John Brendon of Luchely, Harvey Ferchild, John Beare, John Brode, & Thomas . . . . who say that Mary Keynes was seised of 1/3 of the moiety of the manor of Tresparvett, held of William Bellowe & Robert Dylon, esquires, of their manor of Aysshtorne, by ½ a knight’s “Feemorteyne”; worth by the year, clear, 16s. 8d. 1/3 of 2 tenements & 2 gardens in Treburtell & Launceston held of the King in free socage as of the late priory of Launceston, by fealty & 11d. rent, worth, &c. 5s. 4d.

Thus seised, she married Humfrey Keynes, they had issue John Keynes & others.

Mary died, & Humfrey held the lands till his death on 24 January last past. [1549/50].

Mary Keynes died 14 April 2 Edw.VI. [1548].

John Keynes, son & heir, then aged 23. He has received the profits of the said fourth part [sic] since his father’s death.


Mary did not live to see the Prayer Book Rebellion. The year following her death, 1549, saw violence break out at Sampford Courtenay, only four miles south of Winkleigh. It started with the murder of the parish priest, who had obeyed the royal decree to conduct the services in English, instead of Latin, and abandon his elaborate vestments. It ended with the siege of Exeter and a bloody battle nearby. A list of names and addresses of many who took part does not include any from Winkleigh, but the parish must have felt the shock of these events.[20]

Sir Gawen Carew, the tenant of Mary’s old home of Woode, and his brother Sir Peter were the loyalist leaders who suppressed the rebellion at the battle of Fenny Bridges, seven miles south of Kentisbeare. Sir Gawen was an ardent Protestant. In 1554, in the face of resurgent Catholicism under Mary I, he fled the country from Weymouth. Under Elizabeth’s reign he returned to Devon, where he died in 1584. His tomb is in Exeter Cathedral. His second wife, Lady Mary Guildford, great-aunt of Lady Jane Grey, is buried in the Whiting aisle of Kentisbeare church.

After Carew’s departure, Woode was occupied by William Walrond, who leased the Keyneses share from Humfrey.


Humfrey survived Mary by less than two years. He died on 24 Jan 1550. Henry Walrond died the same year. Woode became the second home of the Walrond family, after Bradfield.

KEYNES, Humfrey, Esq.                                4 Edw.VI [1549/50]
Chancery Inq.p.m.  Ser.II. Vol.90 (61).
m.1.  Writ dated at Westminster 12 Feb. 4 Edw.VI. [1549/50]
m.2.  Devon.

INQUISITION taken at Exeter Castle 15 March 4 Edw.VI. [1549/50] before Thomas Tremayn, esq., escheator, after the death of Humfrey Kaynes, esq., by the oath of Edmund Specott, Richard Pollard, Nicholas Fortescu, esquires, John Prous, Thomas Browne, Anthony Gifford, Robert Wither, Thomas Copleston, Hugh Pruyst, John Newcomb, John Eire, Robert Harte, John Marshall, Edmund Penfound, John Stroberyge & John Chechester of Widesworthy, gentlemen who say that Humfrey Kaynes was seised of the manor & hundred of Winkley Kaynes, held of the King’s honor of Glositer, by ½ a knight’s fee, worth by the year, clear £10.

Humfrey Kaynes died 24 Jan. last past. [1549/50]

John, son & heir, aged 24.

Almost immediately, John sold the manor to George Escott of Chawleigh. ‘Documentary evidence suggests that from the mid 16th century there was a large scale transferment of properties and estates within Winkleigh Keynes and Winkleigh Tracey (Molland 1949,

[1] Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description  of the County of Devon,(1791), p.432.
[ii] Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem and other Analogous Documents preserved in the Public Record Office. Henry VII. Volume 3. p.240. https://archive.org/details/calendarofinquis03great/page/240/mode/2up?view=theater
[2] IPM John Whityng 1529; Richard Whiting, Notes and Materials towards a history of Whiting of Wood – A Mediaeval landed family, 1974 (MS in DRO).
[3] IPM Christofer Whityng 1501; IPM John Whityng 1529
[4] IPM Mary wife of Humfrey Keynes 1549/50
[6] IPM of Humfrey Keynes, 1549/50. [WSL]
[7] Whiting
[i] Lawrence Molland, A History of the Parish of Winkleigh in the County of Devon, (MS in WSL) p.116.
[ii] McLean, p.38.[8] www.a2a.org.uk
[9] IPM John Whityng 1529
[10] Debbie Kennett
[11] Charles Worthy, The History of the Manor & Church of Winkleigh in the County of Devon, (William Brendon & Son, Plymouth, 1876), p.36.
[12] Medieval Wills, Somerset, Somerset Record Society Vol. XXI, Weaver, the Rev. F. W., 1905. 1533. Anne Whiting (14 Hogen); and Richard Whiting, Notes and Materials towards a history of Whiting of Wood – A Mediaeval landed family, 1974 (MS in DRO).
[13] Whiting
[14] Lesley McLean, ed., Winkleigh: A View of their Parish by the People of Winkleigh, (Beaford Arts Centre, 1997), p.38.
[i] Historic England; Church House and Almshouses, Winkleigh.[15] Lawrence Molland, A History of the Parish of Winkleigh in the County of Devon, (MS in WSL), p.166.
[16] Whiting.
[17] The Somerset Roll: An Experimental List of Worthies, Unworthies and Villains born in the County. Compiled by Arthur L Humphreys, London, Strangeways, sold by Hatchards, 187 Piccadilly, MDCCCXCVII
[18] Whiting
[19] A2A.org.uk: 1926 B/W/L/6/1
[20] Rose Troupes, The Western Rebellion, Appx. L.
[21] http://www.southwestrda.org.uk/downloads/sub-section.asp?SubSectionID=42&lang=




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