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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)




HENRY FRAUNCEIS was the son of Henry Fraunceis of Frances Court at Killerton in East Devon. We do not know his mother’s name.

Henry was probably born at Frances Court. This is a farmhouse in the parish of Broadclyst, just south of the present-day Killerton House. Five generations of the Fraunceis family had lived there before him. [1]

Since he died in 1457, we might expect a birth date around 1400, depending on his age when he died.


ELIZABETH BAMPFIELD. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Bampfield and Agnes Pederton of Poltimore in East Devon.[2] Poltimore is only 3 miles from Killerton, where Henry grew up. No doubt they knew each other as children.

The Bampfields are ancestors twice over. Elizabeth’s sister Thomasine married Walter Pauncefoot. Her brother William married Walter’s sister Margaret, and her brother Peter married another Pauncefoot sister Maria. The families obviously belonged to a close social circle.


Henry is the first of the Fraunceis family we know to have lived at Combe Florey in Somerset.[3] We do not know when or how he acquired Combe Florey House. It probably came to him through his grandmother Alice de la Hele, who is said in Burke’s Landed Gentry to have been “cousin and heir of William de Percehay, of Combe Florey”.[4]

Combe Florey is a village 6 miles NW of Taunton and 8 miles from the Devon border. It takes its name from ‘Combe’ meaning ‘valley’ and Florey from Hugh Fleuri, who was lord of the manor around 1166,  though some think Hugh may have derived his name from ‘the valley of the flowers’. More recent occupants of Combe Florey House were Evelyn Waugh and later his son Auberon.

In the late 13th century Sir Simon Meriet de Hestercombe and Merriott and his wife Lucy came to live in the manor house at Combe Florey. There are effigies in the church of St Peter and St Paul of their son Sir John and his two wives. The Percehay family mentioned by Burke are also associated with Hestercombe, a stately home in Cheddon Fitzpaine, just north of Taunton.[5]

The Meriets were succeeded by the Fraunceis family, who lived in Combe Florey from around 1400 to 1800.[6] Henry appears to be the first of these.

Old manor house, Combe Florey

 We do not know whether others of the Fraunceis family stayed on at Frances Court.


The earliest Fraunceis monument in Combe Florey church is the tomb of Henry and Elizabeth’s son Nicholas Fraunceis who died on 5 June 1480. Near the font is the tomb of his sister, Agnes Molins, widowed daughter of Henry Fraunceis. She died on 21st June 1518. Since Nicholas died nearly 40 years before his sister we assume he died quite young. Henry and Elizabeth were probably raising children towards the middle of the 15th century.

Nicholas and Agnes are their only known children. There may have been others.

Burke lists two of Henry’s ancestors as knights. Henry is the first to be designate by Burke as “Esq.”.

Esquire historically was a title of respect accorded to men of higher social rank, particularly members of the landed gentry above the rank of gentleman and below the rank of knight.

Burke’s Landed Gentry gives Henry’s death date as 1457, towards the end of the reign of Henry VI. This was the time when Richard of York was fighting to oust the mentally incapacitated king, opposed by Queen Margaret of Anjou.

We do not have a death date for Elizabeth.


[1] Burke’s Genealogical and Historical History of the Landed Gentry, Vol 1. “Gwyn of Ford Abbey”.
[2] https://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=PED&db=ancestorsearch&id=I24998
[3] Burke
[4] Burke.
[5] https://bishopslydeardbenefice.org/combe-florey-st-peter-and-st-paul/
[6] https://bishopslydeardbenefice.org/combe-florey-st-peter-and-st-paul/





Sampson Tree