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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)



JOHN KEYNES was born in 1472-3. He was the eldest son of John Keynes, lord of the manor of Winkleigh Keynes, and his wife Joan.

In 1476, when John was a small boy, his father handed over the manor to William Yeo and Otho Gilbert, by a deed of enfeoffment, but two years later, the ownership passed back to John senior, Joan and their heirs, of which the principal was John junior. [1]

The following year, in June 1479, his father died. John was only six.

The Inquisition Post Mortem into John senior’s death took place in Exeter. Otho Gilbert was in charge of the enquiry as the escheator. The investigation confirmed that the manor had been transferred to William Yeo and Otho Gilbert, but said nothing about its subsequent return to the Keynes family. Clearly, by modern standards, Otho Gilbert should not have been in the chair when his own interest was at stake.[2]

What effect that ruling had on John and his mother is unclear. In 1494 John’s mother was said to be ‘seised of the manor’ when she died. They probably remained at Winkleigh Castle, with Joan managing the manor during John’s minority.

John was about 13 when Henry Tudor’s forces defeated and killed Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. The victor became the first Tudor king as Henry VII.

As John neared his majority at the age of 21, there was a dispute over whether he was the rightful lord of the manor of Winkleigh. Possibly Otho Gilbert, one of the two men to whom John’s father had enfeoffed the manor in 1476, still had designs on it. A commission was set up by a court at Westminster ‘to enquire as to concealed lands in Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, & Wilts.’ Winkleigh Keynes was one of these.[3]

Before the Devon enquiry could meet, John’s mother, Joan, died, most likely in March 1494, as stated in her IPM, though the enquiry into the ownership of the manor puts it as March 1493.

The enquiry in Exeter in May noted the enfeoffment to William Yeo and Otho Gilbert in 1476, but confirmed that ‘at the request of John Keynes they demised the same to said John, Joan his wife, & the heirs of John, by their charter dated 24 Dec. 18 Edw.IV. [1478]. The manor is held of the King’s honour of Gloucester, by knight’s service, worth &c. £10.’  It went on to say that ‘Joan survived her husband, & died seised thereof’. Since Joan was in possession of the manor at the time of her death, the inference was that John, now 20, was the irightful heir.

In October of that year, 1494, the Inquisition Post Mortem into Joan’s death was held, also at Exeter. This confirmed that John senior had been seised of the manor when he died. John was now 21, and established beyond doubt as the rightful lord of the manor of Winkleigh Keynes.

The mound of Court Castle, Winkleigh

IHis eldest son was born in 1495-6, so it was probably about this time that John married.

ELLEN. We know from his IPM that John Keynes’ wife was Ellen. One researcher names her as Ellen Walrond. This may be a misreading of a clause in a charter of 1507 relating to “Ellen Walrond for her marriage”. But the same document refers to “Ellen his wife”, and their son was by then 11 years old, so this would appear to be a different, unmarried, Ellen.

All the same, there seems to be a connection with the Walrond family. In a charter of 1496, John Keynes appointed as feoffees [trustees] two Walronds, two Mores, one Kyrkeham and one Whytyng. These are families we often find intermarrying or associated with one another. One of them is probably Ellen’s family.

Humphrey Walrond was one of the feoffees, and John and Ellen named their son and heir Humphrey.[2]

He married the niece of George Whytynge, who was another of the feoffees.

From John’s IPM, Humphrey appears to have been born around 1495-6, when John was in his twenties.

Some five years later, on 20 Nov 1500, a deed was signed in Shaftesbury confirming George Whiting, Humphrey Walrond, John Kirkham and others as recipients of the manors of Stokewake, Hulle and Caundleswake, which John Keynes conveyed to them in return for a perpetual annuity of £24 for himself and his heirs.[3] George Whiting’s niece Mary was later to marry John’s son Humphrey.

It was a time of prosperity for sheep-rearing landowners in Devon. The Merchant Adventurers exported cloth to the profitable Antwerp market. It was a less happy scene for villagers, who saw the land enclosed for sheep and lost both agricultural holdings and rights of pasture on the common. In 1504 an Act of Vagrancy was passed, because of the large numbers who had lost work on the estates and took to the roads.

John died on 26 May 1507. He was about 34-5,

At this time, Inquisitions Post Mortem tell us what lands the deceased held, not the cause of death. John may have died prematurely through illness, accident or warfare. The last of these is unlikely in 1507.

Three days before his death he made a charter settling debts and making provision for other payments, including the maintenance of a priest to pray for his soul. He was clearly awaiting death.

His IPM reads:[4]

John Keynes, esquire.
Inquisition 16 November, 23 Henry VII [1507]

He was seised in fee of the under-mentioned manor and messuages &c, and by his charter dated 27 May, 10 Henry VII [1496], enfeoffed Humphrey Walrond, esquire, John More, William Walrond and John Kyrkeham, who survive, and Maurice More and George Whytyng, now deceased. Afterwards, by his charter dated 23 May, 22 Henry VII [1507], he willed and declared that the feoffees aforesaid should by charter assign a yearly rent of 20s issuing from the under-mentioned messuages &c in Weryngston [Wryngeston in the parish of Awliscombe, East Devon] to Amelia Sedburgh for life, with clause  of distraint in case of non-payment, and that Ellen, his wife, and the said feoffees should take all the issues and profits of Wynkelegh and Weryngston until the following payments shall have been made therefrom:- the debts of the said John Keynes, to wit 22l 13s 8d to John Browne, 30s to Geoffrey Taylour, 20s to William Pyke of Exeter ‘tayllour’, 26s 8d to Maud Ballewyke and any other debts that may be proved before them. 10 marks to Ellen Walrond for her marriage, 40s to Ellen Holwey for her marriage, and 100l for the maintenance of a priest, as ordained in his testament, and in otherways for the salvation of his soul at their discretion.

He died 26 May, 22 Henry II [1507]. Humphrey Keynes, aged 11 years and more, is his son and heir.

DEVON. Manor of Wynkelegh Keynes, worth 10l, held of the king, as of his honor of Gloucester, by half a knight’s fee.

12 messuages, 100a land, 20a pasture, 10a wood, 20a meadow and 40a furze and heath in Weryngston, worth 4l, held of the prince, as of his honor of Bradnynche by knight’s service.


IPM  John Keynes.[5]
Writ 4 July, 22 Henry VII [1507], inquisition 16 February, 23 Henry VII [1508].

He held no lands at the time of his death; but long before his death he was seised in fee of the under-mentioned manors, and by indented charter dated 20 November, 15 Henry VII [1499], granted them to Humphrey Walrond, John More, William Walrond, John Kyrkeham, Maurice More and George Whytyng, to hold during the life of Ellen his wife, and to her use, as her dower and jointure of all his manors &c, rendering 24/. yearly to him and the heirs of his body. Maurice More and George Whytyng are dead; and the remaining feoffees are seised of the manors to the said use.

He died 26 May last. Humphrey Keynes, aged 11 years and more, is his son and heir.

DORSET. Manor of Stokewake, worth 40 marks, held of the abbess and convent of Shaftesbury by the service of being indoor (intrincecus) steward of the house of Shaftesbury to array the said house on the day of the installation of every abbess.

Manor of Hulle, worth 7l held of John Chokk. knight, lord of Mapowder, by service of fealty and 4d yearly at Michaelmas.

Manor of Candellwake alias Candell, worth 10l, held of the abbot and convent of Cirencester (Cicestr) by service of 1d. yearly at Michaelmas.


We do not know how long Ellen survived him, and whether she remarried.


[2] Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description  of the County of Devon,(1791), p.432.
[3] Richard Whiting. Whiting of Wood: A Mediaeval Landed Family, 1974 (MS in DRO).
[4] Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem and other Analogous Documents preserved in the Public Record Office. Henry VII. Volume 3. https://archive.org/details/calendarofinquis03great/page/240/mode/2up?view=theater
[5] Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem and other Analogous Documents preserved in the Public Record Office. Henry VII. Volume 3. https://archive.org/details/calendarofinquis03great/page/258/mode/2up?view=theater[1] IPM John Keynes 1494 [WSL]
[2] IPM John Keynes 1480.
[3] IPM John Keynes 1494
[4] Lawrence Molland, A History of the Parish of Winkleigh in the County of Devon, (MS in WSL), p.65.
[5] Lesley McLean, ed., Winkleigh: A View of their Parish by the People of Winkleigh, (Beaford Arts Centre, 1997), p.38.
[6] Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description  of the County of Devon,(1791), p.432.
[7] Richard Whiting. Whiting of Wood: A Mediaeval Landed Family, 1974 (MS in DRO).
[8] Molland, p.116.
[9] McLean, p.38.




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