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)

Cory Tree



THOMAS MARSH was the younger of two sons of William Atte Marsh. He is thought to have been born in the early 15th century.

His father was a husbandman, and later a yeoman of East Langdon near Dover in Kent.

The Marsh family home was in the northern part of the parish called Martin or Marston. There had been a settlement there since at least Anglo-Saxon times. In AD 861, it is listed as Meretun, which means ‘farmstead by the pools’.

In the one document we have which names him, Thomas is a husbandman.[1] This is a bond dated 19 Jun 1474.

“From: John Whytton of West Cliffe parish, Kent, carpenter; Thomas Mersshe of East Langdon parish, husbandman; Simon Palmer’ of St Margaret’s at Cliffe parish, shipman; Robert Harneys of St Margaret’s at Cliffe parish, shipman, and made out to: William Sellyng, I, prior of Canterbury Cathedral Priory In 100s, payable as specified.”

The priory of St Augustine in Canterbury was the liege lord of East Langdon. The church there was dedicated to St Augustine.

In 1427, his father William atte Mershe, with two other men, had taken out a very similar bond to the prior and priory, also for 100s. These other men involved also came from West Cliffe and St Margaret’s at Cliffe. These are neighbouring parishes nearer the sea.

Both bonds probably involved rent for their farms.

William went on to become a yeoman, farming on a larger scale than a husbandman. We have only this one document for Thomas, so we don’t have confirmation that he too became a yeoman. The document is quite late on in his life, but he may have had to wait until his father died to move up the economic scale.


East Langdon lies halfway between Dover and Deal, about three miles from either, but it is further inland. Langdon means “a long ridge”.

The soil here is chalky and poor. It was not ideal farming country. We do not know what sort of farming Thomas did. The land is probably best suited to sheep. But modern farmers grow cereals there, and it is likely that Thomas did too. If he was a husbandman, he would probably have had a mixture of crops and livestock, to provide the essentials of living.

East Langdon today[2]

We have no information about Thomas’s wife. There is an online family tree that says he married Mary Ditton in 1442, but there seems to be some confusion between East Langdon in Kent and East Langton in Leicestershire, so this is unlikely to be reliable.[3] None of the other well-researched sources names her. The same tree says he died in London aged 90, but this seems unlikely.

We do know that he had two sons, Robert and William.[4] They were probably born in the mid-15th century. Robert moved away to live in Canterbury, but William stayed in East Langdon.

The eldest Robert had a son James Marsh of Canterbury, who had both a seat in the country and “a goodly stone house in Canterbury”. This speaks of a certain amount of family wealth.

We do not have a death date for Thomas, but he is thought to have died in the late 1400s or early 1500s. He probably saw the conclusion of the Wars of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York. This ended with the first Tudor King Henry VII taking the throne in 1485 and uniting both houses through his marriage to Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV.


[1] National Archives: CCA-DCc-ChAnt/M/267/2
[2] Geograph – East Langdon across a field. John Baker.
[3] https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/GK39-5QV/thomas-marsh-1400-1490
[4] jhc.info/marshthomas15xx




Cory Tree