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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)




WALTER PAUNCEFOOT. There are a number of Walter Pauncefoots in Somerset and elsewhere. It is not always easy to distinguish between them and decide their relationship to each other. But the will of Walter Pauncefoot who died in 1485 makes it clear that he was the lord of Compton Pauncefoot and the father of another Walter who inherited those estates.

He is likely to have been born around 1425, near the beginning of the reign of Henry VI.

A third Walter Pauncefoot, who may be his father, was Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1425-6. He belonged to one of the leading families.  He married  Elizabeth Whitton.[1] Other genealogies have Walter’s mother as Thomasine Bampfylde. It is possible that Elizabeth was a second wife.


?DANVERS.  There is an unreliable family tree of the Pauncefoots which names Walter’s wife as ‘d/o Danvers’.[2] No independent confirmation of this has been found. Nothing more is known about her.

Danvers is not a common name in the south-west. There were a few at Powderham in Devon either side of 1500, and in Enmore, Somerset, west of Brigdewater, in the 16th century.[3]


Walter’s will names three children: Walter, his heir, Mary and Henry.


The Pauncefoots possessed a number of manors which had been passed down from their ancestor Bernard Pauncefoot in the Domesday Survey. We know that in the 15th century this Walter Pauncefoot was in possession of the manor of Mainstone in Hants, later known as Pauncefoot Hill. [4]

The principal residence of this branch of the family was Compton Pauncefoot in Somerset, close to the Iron Age and Arthurian hill fort of Cadbury Castle.


Walter lived to see the end of the Hundred Years War in Europe, but this was followed by the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses in England. Edward IV took the throne for the Lancastrians in 1461, but the struggle continued. In 1483, the Yorkist Richard III became king. Two years later, Henry Tudor defeated him at Bosworth Field, and ushered in a new dynasty as Henry VII.

Walter was a knight, and may have taken part in some of these battles.

That year, 1485, Sir Walter Pauncefoot died. He was a wealthy man. He left money for the building of a new church in Compton Pauncefoot and for a chantry, where a priest could pray daily for his soul and for those of his immediate family. He also left several yards of differently coloured silks to be made into vestments.[5]

The church at Compton Pauncefoot dates from the 15th century. It is clear from Walter’s will that he played a part in funding the building and, in particular, endowed the south aisle. The work was still in progress when he died.

It was evidently a significant time for new church buildings. He left legacies for the work in several other parishes.

St Mary, Compton Pauncefoot


1485  Walter Pauncefote, Knt.

          [16 Logge Fo 118]

15 June AD 1485.  I, Walter Paunssfote the elder, knight, ordeyn this my present testament and last will in maner and forme folowyng:-

   I bequethe my body to be buried in the parish chirche of Cometon Paunssefote in the south ile there.

 Also, I bequethe to the said chirche, to the making thereof, 10 marks; and 20li to the making of myne ile there, with that that the parishons there will endever themself to full fynyshe yt after theaduice of myne executours.

Also I bequethe to the works of the chirche of Northecatbury, 6s 8d.

To the chirche works of the chirche of Southecatbury, 6s 8d.

To the chirche works of Mapertone, 6s 8d.

Also, to the chirche works of Blacforde, 6s 8d.

Also, to the chirche works of Yerlingtone, 6s 8d.

Also, to the chirche of Westonbaunfelde, 6s 8d.

Also, to the chirche works of Charletone, 3s 4d.

Also, I give to Walter my sonne and myne heire, a pott of siluer, and three bolles of siluer, and with all other plate of myne of siluer, and my cheyne of golde. And also my stuf of householde, and my two weynes with thapparell, except the oxen that long therto. And I will the said Walter my sonne after his decesse leue the said cheyne of golde, with all other stuff of plate of siluer afor specified, to his sonne and his heire. Also I bequethe to the same Walter my sonne all my purchesse londes and tenements in my manor of Comtone Paunssfote.

Also I bequethe to Henry, my sonne, all my purchesse londes that I have purchessed oute of the manor of Comtone. Also a hole bed with the apparelled performed, and one brasyne pott with a panne, and another brasyne pott being in the keeping of Babcary of Shirborne.

Also I yeve to my daughter Mary a hole bed with the apparelled complete and performed, one pott and one panne of brasse, and in money 10 mark toward her marriage. Also two oxen at Cometone and all my rother bestes that Pepir my seruaunt hath in his keeping.

Also I will that myne executours purchesse 10 mark worth lond to found a chauntrey at Cometone Paunssfote, to pray for my soule, my fader, my moder, and all my children soules, to a prest singing dayly yf he be disposed, and onys a weke specially to say dirige for the said soules forevermore.

Also I will that myne executours cause to be made in vestementes to the said chauntry my 3 yerdis of Crymsyne silk, 3 yerdis of tawny sild, and 2 yerdis of black silk, being in my cofer at Cometone Paunssfote, as soon and in as godly maner as they can ordeyn.

The residue of all and everych of all my goodes above not bequethin, I yeue to myne executours, therewith to do and dispose for my soule and the soules aforespecified in almes detes and dedes of charite after their discrecions. And I make the said Walter, my sonne, and Petre Bamfelde myne executours, and I yeve to the said Petre for his labour 10li of money.

Theis wytnesse:- Maister Henry Sutton, clerk, chanon of Sarum, Notary papal and imperiall; Maister John Sparwell; Richard Wise and William Wynne, Notary imperiall, and other moo.

Proved 18th July in the year abovesaid, and administration granted to the executours.

[This will is written in English]


Richard Whiting says that Mary married William Bampfield,  Walter junior married Thomasine Bampfield and Henry married Alice and died in 1522, leaving a daughter Margery.

Mary is probably Margaret in the previous generation, who married William Bampfylde of Politimore. Similarly, it was probably Walter’s father who married William Bampfylde’s sister Thomasine. Henry is more plausible. There is a record of Alice, widow of Robert Jerard, marrying Henry Pauncefoot of Compton Pauncefoot in the early 16th century.[6]


[1] “Wiltshire archaeology and natural history magazine”, www.archive.org.
[2] Richard Whiting. Whiting of Wood: A Mediaeval Landed Family, typescript in DRO
[3] IGI
[4] From: ‘Parishes: Romsey Extra and Infra’, A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 452-469. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=56858.
[5] Somerset Medieval Wills. H. Weaver.
[6] homepage.ntlworld.com/richardtravell/richardtravell/STRODE.xls





Sampson Tree