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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



JOHN TAKELL. In 1538 Henry VIII ordered that every parish church should keep a register of baptisms, marriages and burials. The majority of parishes do not have records going back that far. The oldest registers have been lost or become illegible.

We have traced our Takell ancestry back to a likely source in Rose Ash. The surviving Rose Ash registers begin in 1591, too late for some of our 16th-century ancestors. We have to look for other sources: Lay Subsidy Rolls of taxpayers, Muster Rolls, wills, records of land ownership.

With the families of yeomen farmers, we typically find a man rated quite lowly for tax, then appearing twenty years later with a much higher rating, along with new names assessed at a lower rate. This suggests that he is now an older man with sons of taxpaying age. A generation later, he disappears from the records, and one of the younger men is now more highly rated.


Our earliest information about the Takells of Rose Ash comes from the Lay Subsidy Rolls.

In the 1524 Roll we find John Takell assessed for goods at a modest £3.

By the 1546 Roll, John Takell sen is among a group of five men assessed at £15. Only two men are rated higher: at £40 and £30.

Also in the 1545 Roll are John Takell jun at £5, James Takell at £1 and Alexander Takell at £1, all appearing for the first time. The likelihood is that they are John Takell senior’s sons. The higher rating suggests that John junior is the eldest.


If John was paying tax in 1524 he was probably born around the turn of the century, in the reign of the first Tudor king Henry VII. He lived through the reign of Henry VIII, the upheaval of the break with Rome, the founding of the Church of England, and the dissolution of the monasteries, with the loss of the educational and social services they provided.


The Takells are now among the more affluent parishioners. In this rural parish, they are likely to be yeoman farmers. Rose Ash stands high on a ridge 6 miles SE of South Molton and NW of Tiverton. Farmers here would principally have been raising sheep. They contributed to the thriving wool trade, for which Devon was famous.

Bickwell Farm, Rose Ash [1]

 The Takells would have lived in a farmhouse like this.

 In the absence of parish registers, we have no information about John’s wife.


Since John was alive in 1546, he probably witnessed the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549. People in Cornwall and Devon rose up against the introduction of the English Book of Common Prayer and the banning of church services in Latin. The flashpoint in Devon was in Sampford Courtenay, some way south of Rose Ash, but the reverberations would have been felt throughout the county as the rebels marched on Exeter and were defeated in a battle at Clyst St Mary.

One of the grievances fuelling the rebellion, besides the changes to familiar church services, was the introduction of a tax on sheep. This would certainly have affected the Takells.


We do not find John in the 1569 Muster Roll for Rose Ash, so we presume he died between 1545 and then.


[1] On the Market. https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQShO0-8qd8eM93bfDHaJK9yJILBREBQjJW0w&usqp=CAU




Sampson Tree