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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)




WILLIAM PAULET. He was the son of Sir Thomas Paulet and Margaret Burton. The Paulets were country gentlemen of standing. They owned many estates, particularly in Somerset.

William was born around 1405. His birthplace is given variously as Goathurst, Rode or Street.


ELIZABETH DENEBAUD. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Denebaud and Florence L’Arcedekne. She was born in 1414-15, around the date of the Battle of Agincourt.

At 14 she was an only child. If she had other siblings they died young.

Her father’s family had for generations been the owners of a considerable estate in Hinton St George, Somerset. Her mother’s family home was the castle of Ruan Lanihorne in Cornwall.


Elizabeth married young. She was 14 in 1429 when her father died, and was already married to William. The couple had made their first home at Rode. This was then a thriving market town on the Somerset-Wiltshire border, on the River Frome.[1]


Elizabeth’s father left estates in Somerset, Dorset and Cornwall, but none in Devon. Elizabeth was his sole heir. She thus brought considerable lands and wealth to add to William’s estates. They moved house to her childhood home at Hinton St George, which then became the seat of the Somerset Paulets for generations.

This 15th century coat of arms signifies the marriage of Wiliam Paulet to Elizabeth Denebaud It combines the three swords of the Paulet family with the red lion of the Denbows.


Around 1430 Nicholas Yonge, parson of Stocklinch Magdalen, granted the manor of Goathurst to William Poulet of Hinton St George.[2] Goathurst, in Somerset, occurs frequently among the lands of the Poulets.

This was only one of the many estates of this family.


William was knighted by Henry VI [1422-61] for valour in France.[3] He may have fought against  Joan of Arc.


Collins’ Peerage names four daughters and a son. The Devon IPMs for both William and Elizabeth, dated 1499, give Amyas’s age as 40. This would make him born in 1459. This seems inexplicably late for a couple married by 1429. Internet family trees give the following dates for the children, which may be estimates. [4]

Elizabeth 1441
Florence 1445
Christian 1449
Amias 1454
Alice 1458

It may be that William’s military service kept him from home for considerable periods. There may have been earlier miscarriages, stillbirths or children dying in infancy. One possible reason for such difficulty in rearing a healthy family can be syphilis in the father.

There is no suggestion in the records that Elizabeth Denebaud had died and the mother of William’s children was a second Elizabeth.


It is estimated that between 1455 and 1607 some 50,000 people were forced off the land by the enclosure acts. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says of this period that: “the 15th century knight of the shire was changing from a desperate and irresponsible land proprietor, ready to support the baronial feuding of the Wars of the Roses, into a respectable landowner desiring strong, practical government.”


Amias married another family member, Margaret, daughter of John Paulet of Basing in Hampshire.

The Paulet family were supporters of the Lancastrian cause in the Wars of the Roses.

Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, was a distant claimant to the throne. He initially supported Richard of York, but when the latter became King Richard III, Buckingham switched allegiance to his cousin, Henry Tudor. In 1483 raised forces from his estates in Wales and the Marches to put Henry on the throne. But Henry’s ships ran into a storm, which also caused havoc with Buckingham’s army. He was captured by Richard and beheaded.

Amias’s life was in danger when he was attainted as a supporter of Henry. This must have been a cruel blow to his parents. But their only son’s rights were restored in 1485, when Henry seized the throne after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. He became the first Tudor king, Henry VII.

Amias was knighted in June 1487 after the Battle of Stoke, when Henry’s  Lancastrians won a decisive victory over the Yorkists.

He became Sheriff of Somerset and Dorset three times.[5]


William’s health must have been failing. In 1487, Amias took possession of his parents’ estates, including the house at Hinton St George. In return, William and Elizabeth reserved for themselves an income of  £100 p.a.

William and Elizabeth would have had a close relationship with Amias’s children. There are hints in Amias’s will that there may have been a  problem with their grandson Hugh, Amias’s eldest son. Amias leaves the residue of his estate to “my son and heir Sir Hugh Poulet, knight, my executor, charging him to be frendely to my sons John Poulet and Henry Poulet and to use himself gentilly amongst my tenants and servants”.[6]


William’s IPM for Devon gives the date of his death as 3 Oct 1491. died on 2 Oct the following year, apparently very old.

Elizabeth lived on until 1497. She died on 17 Nov.

With their combined estates, their only son Amias became one of the greatest landowners in Somerset. He rebuilt  the house at Hinton St George between 1487 and 1538.


Internet family trees offer the following information about his sisters. Some dates may be estimates.

Elizabeth married Sir William Carey of Cockington in Devon in 1456.She died in 1458. We imagine she died in childbirth.

In 1464 Florence married John Ayshford of Burlescombe in Devon.

Christian married four times. Henry Hull of Larkbeare in Devon, in 1466, Nicholas Chichester of Raleigh in Devon in 1469, Sir William Martin of Athelhampton, Dorset in 1499,and Sir James Chudley of Ashton in Devon in 1505. She no doubt carried a desirable dowry from her landed parents and her successive husbands.

Alice married her distant cousin, Sir John Paulet of Basingstoke in Hampshire, in 1468. She became the mother of the first Marquess of Winchester. She died after 2 Jan 1525.

Amias’s second wife was Lora Kellaway. Their grandson, another Sir Amias Paulet was the gaoler of Mary Queen of Scots.


[1] IPM John Denebawed’, esq. 1429. [WSL]
[2] National Archives: A2A.  Manorial Records  H\452/1  1347-1619. Somerset Archive and Record Service.
[3] Arthur Collins, Peerage of England. www.books,google.co.uk.
[4] freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hwbradley./aqwg1327.htm
[5] Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 43.
[6] Weaver, F W, Somerset Medieval Wills (1383-1558)





Sampson Tree