Charlotte image

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)



HUGH SOUTHCOMBE. We first meet Hugh in the 1524 Subsidy Roll, where he was taxed in the parish of Crediton.[1]

In the same Subsidy Roll, Maud Southcombe is assessed for land at £1 in the parish of Chawleigh. In his Inquisition Post Mortem, by far the largest of Hugh’s land holdings is in Cheldon, the parish adjacent to Chawleigh. Women who were householders and liable to tax were usually widows. It seems reasonable to suppose that Maud may be Hugh’s widowed mother.

In 1493, John Hyll alias Southcombe granted a number of estates to his brother Henry and his heirs. There is a considerable overlap between these properties and those Hugh held at his death in 1539. There is therefore reason to believe that Henry Hyll alias Southcombe was Hugh’s father. This supposition is strengthened by the fact that Henry held land in Chawleigh, but this does not appear in Hugh’s Inquisition Post Mortem. Either Henry or Hugh might have granted it to Maud.

Hugh was the son of a landed gentleman.

In his Inquisition Post Mortem, dated 1539, Hugh’s son and heir William is said to be “aged 40 years and more”.[2] This would put his birth in the 1490s. From this we may deduce that Hugh was born around 1470.

The War of the Roses had ended, with the throne passing to the House of York, but Richard of York was now battling to depose the young King Edward IV.


We do not know whom Hugh married.

A lawsuit of 1544-51 names ‘William son and heir of Hugh Southcombe’.[3] William was therefore their eldest surviving son, though not necessarily their eldest child. If William was “40 years and more” in 1539, we can deduce that his parents probably married in the 1490s.

Hugh’s father died sometime between 1493-1524, probably in the earlier part of that period. By 1514 Hugh was a landowner. He leased 12 acres of land in “Langlegh called Nether Stykerigge” to Thomas Isaak and his wife Alice.[4] Nether Stykerigge appears to be Stikeridge in the parish of Cruwys Morchard. The Sir ? Coffyn, from whom Hugh held the property in Langlegh, was probably one of the family whose seat was at Portledge Manor near Bideford.

In 1522 Hugh leased 120 acres with 3 houses in East Tapps and Okehays, in Oakford parish, to Richard Radford and Joan his wife. We have reason to believe he was related to the Radfords.

By the time of the 1524 Subsidy Roll, Hugh would have been in his 50s.






Kenton John



G 5

G 20





Dunsford Edward


G 4




Spreyton Richard 1
Crediton Hugh L 8
Down St Mary Richard W 1
Broadwoodkelly Richard 2
Iddesleigh John 2
Chawleigh Maud L 1
Meshaw William W 1
Mariansleigh Robert



L 12

G = goods, L = land, W = wages. The amount is the annual income in £s.

The surviving tax rolls for Southcombes in Devon show Hugh Southcombe assessed for land at £8 in the parish of Kyrton (Crediton). Presumably he had made his home there. Crediton is a large parish. Only 6 people out of 433 were assessed for land. The highest was L20; Hugh was the second highest. The rest were assessed for goods or wages. The highest rated by far was G100.[5] Hugh was a landowner of some standing and was styled as a “gentleman”.[6]

His Inquisition Post Mortem shows that Hugh held land in a number of Devon parishes. They lie mostly in the triangle formed by Crediton, Tiverton and South Molton. By far his largest holding of land was in Cheldon,[7] which accords with Westcote’s statement in his View of Devonshire.

In the same Subsidy Roll Hugh’s son William may be the William Southcombe taxed for wages in Meshaw.

Richard Southcombe, who appears in the Subsidy Roll for Down St Mary, assessed at £1 wages, may be a younger son or Hugh’s brother. Whether he is also one of the Richards who appear in the 1543-6 Subsidy Roll at £1 in Spreyton or £2 in Broadwoodkelly is uncertain.

In 1525 Hugh handed over one of his properties in trust to feoffees, for the use of Margaret Butler, to revert to Hugh or his heirs at her death.[8]

It is possible that this was a marriage settlement for his daughter.

17 Henry VIII [5 October 1525]

Feofment in trust.
(1) Hugh Southcombe.
(2) Hugh Stucley, esq., John Gifford of Halsby, esq., Nicholas Denys, esq., John Moreys, and Gilbert Gale.
All lands of (1) in Bynford (in Stockleigh English parish) Minchendown (in Woolfardisworthy), and Guntlond (in Poughill).
Recites that the premises are granted to (2) to hold to the use of Margaret, wife of Philip Butler, during her life, and then to the use of (1) and his heirs.
Seal of (1) attached.

All these properties were on the list of estates Henry Hyll alias Southcombe received from his brother in 1493.

We find that in 1530 Hugh leased 34 acres with 3 houses at Crosse in Poughill to John and Alice Lovell. Cross Farm lies close to the village centre.

The Bynneforde property of the 1525 deed occurs many times in a file of leases showing the Southcombes to be owners of messuages, lands and tenements there. Bynneforde is in the parish of Stockleigh English, 9 miles north of Crediton. Five Southcombes are named in successive deeds. The first two are Hugh and William.[9]

The first of these deeds is dated 30 March 1536, the 27th year of Henry VIII. It is a lease for lives for ‘messuages, lands and tenements in Bynneford in the parish of Stockelegh Englishe, all of which Robert Slee lately held.’ The landlords are Hugh Southcombe, gent, and ‘Huga Stukelegh, esq., Nicholas Denys, Gilbert Gale and John Nonys, feoffees to the use of the said Hugh Southcombe at the instance and desire of Hugh Southcombe.’ Margaret Butler of the 1525 deed was still alive and the lease named the tenants who should take over from her. These new tenants are Thomas Bradford and Alice his wife and Robert their son, the lease being passed on again as the first two died. There was a consideration (initial payment) of £12.6s.8d, and a rent of 26s. 8d. (after the death of Margaret Butler the wife of Philip Butler). The heriot (death duty) was, as was usual, the deceased tenant’s best beast. This deed was a suit of court at the grantor’s court at Crose (Cruwys Morchard?).[10]

                                                           Binneford today

Bynneforde is a farm in the valley beside Binneford Water, which forms the boundary between the parishes of Stockleigh English and Kennerleigh

The Bynneford family had sold these lands to Nicholas Radford in 1423.[11] John Hyll alias Southcombe was said in 1493 to be the kinsman and heir of Thomas Radford. That would make Hugh also related to the Radfords, unless the connection was through John’s wife.

In 1454 the owners were Robert Wilford, John Way and John Radford.[12] The next deed is the 1536 one, naming Hugh as the landlord.

Hugh’s son William later owned it. It does not appear in the list of estates in Hugh’s IPM, so that it may be that Hugh handed it over to William before his death.

Henry Hyll alias Southcombe had received the manor of Poughill from his brother. Hugh owned two properties in Poughill, but we have no evidence that he was lord of the manor there. Sir William Pole says that the manor passed from the Poghill family to Nicholas Radford, and when he died without issue, to his sister Joan, who married into the Prowse family. Nicholas Radford was a judge who was murdered at the instigation of his godson, Sir Thomas Courtenay, around 1455.[13]     


During Hugh’s lifetime, the crown was changing hands almost too fast to follow. Edward IV, who had come to power in the War of the Roses 22 years earlier, died in 1483. His son Edward V was only a child, and his mother’s family were deeply unpopular. The dead king’s brother was able to usurp the throne the same year, as Richard III. The little princes in the Tower of London were murdered. Two years later, Henry Tudor landed in his native Wales, and led a small army to defeat Richard at Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. So began the Tudor dynasty. Its first monarch, Henry VII, died in 1509, when we conjecture Hugh would have been in his 30s. The crown passed to his son, Henry VIII. Henry then reigned for 38 years.

Hugh lived through the momentous decade of the 1530s. The clergy declared Henry VIII to be the supreme head of the Church in England, Anne Boleyn was crowned and beheaded, Elizabeth I and Edward VI were born, Sir Thomas More was executed, the monasteries were dissolved and sold off to the gentry, the king ordered the English Bible to be kept and read in every church, and registers of baptisms, marriages and burials had to be kept in every parish.

His largest estate at his death was in East and West Cheldon. This is not said to be leased to anyone else, and it may be that Hugh had by now made his home there. No property is listed in Crediton.

Hugh died on 8 Aug 1539.[14]

His Inquisition Post Mortem, to determine what land he had held and who should inherit it, was held in Exeter on 19 November 1539.


[1] T.L. Stoate (ed), Devon Lay Subsidy Rolls 1524-1527 (www.thebookshop.org.uk)
[2] National Archives: C 142/61/49. IPM Series II, 31 Hen. VIII.
[3] A2A: C1/1217/42-43.
[4] IPM Hugh Sowthcomb, National Archives
[5] T.L. Stoate (ed), Devon Lay Subsidy Rolls 1524-1527 (www.thebookshop.org.uk)
[6] A2A: Shelley of Shobrooke (DRO)  Z1/30/18
[7] IPM Hugh Southcombe 1539, National Archives.
[8] A2A: Shelley of Shobrooke (DRO)  Z1/48/21
[9] A2A: Shelley of Shobrooke (DRO)  Z1/30/18-26
[10] A2A: Shelley of Shobrooke (DRO)  Z1/30/18
[11] A2A: Shelley of Shobrooke (DRO)  Z1/30/15&16
[12] A2A: Shelley of Shobrooke (DRO)  Z1/30/17
[13] http://www.kristinhall.com
[14] IPM Hugh Sowthcomb, National Archives.




Sampson Tree