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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)

Sampson  Tree



JOHN BAMPFYLDE. We have pursued the Bampfyldes as lords of the manor of Politimore through two centuries with some difficulty. There are a number of conflicting pedigrees. In the majority John is the elder son of an older John and his wife Joane, who may be an heiress of the Cobham family.

He was probably born in the late 14th century.

Poltimore is a village 4 miles north of Exeter. John’s ancestor, another John, had been given the manor by his tutor at Exeter Cathedral School in 1298, The Bampfyldes who had previously lived at Weston Bampfylde in Somerset, thereafter made their home there.

John, as the elder son, inherited Poltimore manor, as well as other estates. His younger brother Richard became lord of the manor of Columbjohn in the neighbouring parish of Broadclyst.


AGNES PEDERTON was the daughter, and the only known heir, of John Pederton and Cecilia Turney of Hardington.

Hardington, is in Somerset, 4 ½ miles NW of Frome. The present Hardington Farm was once the site of a substantial manor house, and probably Agnes’s home.


John and Agnes are thought to have married in the early 15th century.

Agnes brought the manor of Hardington to the Bampfyldes through her marriage to John. There are a number of Bampfylde memorials in the Hardington parish church.

In view of the uncertainties in the Bampfylde trees, it is good to have physical evidence of John and Agnes. There is a memorial slab in the chancel of the church of St Mary the Virgin at Poltimore.


Hic jacent Johnes
Bampfeld & Agnes Uxor
eius Pater & Mater Willi
Bampfeld qui his ecclesiam &
campanam fieri


1390 Here lie John Bampfeld and Agnes his wife, father and mother of William Bampfeld, who [plural] had this church and bell tower built.[1]

 William is generally credited with building the present church in Poltimore in the 15th century. The memorial slab shows that the work had been begun earlier by his parents.

This is probably true, but the date of 1390 is problematic. It is not thought to be the date of John’s death but of the founding of the church. This conflicts with other evidence that John’s grandfather Thomas Bampfield was still alive in 1400, and possibly quite young. The stone was recut in 1840 and British Listed Buildings believes the date to be an error, and have suggested that it should be 1490.

The church has been dated to the late 15th century, with later additions. But there is evidence from the base of the tower that this may originally have been earlier. This older tower would be the work of John and Agnes.

St Mary the Virgin, Poltimore [2]

We know of four children of this marriage. William was the heir to Poltimore. The second son, Peter, inherited his mother’s estate of Hardington. There were two daughters, Thomasine and Elizabeth,

William became Sheriff of Devon. He married Margaret, daughter of Walter Pauncefoot, thus cementing an extraordinary close connection between these two families. The second son, Peter married Maria, Pauncefoot’s youngest daughter. Their sister Thomasine married Walter Pauncefoot junior. Another daughter, Elizabeth, married Henry Fraunceis of Combe-Flory in Somerset. [4] The Bampfylde and Pauncefoot families owned the adjacent manors of Weston Bampfylde and Compton Pauncefoot in Somerset

There is a document of 1428-30 showing that John Bamfeld was then the Escheator for Devon and Cornwall. [3] The task of an escheator was to investigate the estates of dead landholders to see which of them should revert to the Crown.

The English cloth industry flourished in the early 15th century, particular.ly in the south-west. It led to the growth of a class of cloth merchants, as well as benefiting the landed gentry on whose lands sheep were farmed.

We do not have death dates for John and Agnes. John is thought to have died in the 1450s, and Agnes before that.

The male line of the Bampfyldes continued a colourful history, but our own Bampfylde ancestry ends with this generation, and the line is continued through the marriages of Thomasine and Elizabeth.


[1] Wikimedia Commons. John Bampfield 1390 Poltimore Church
[2] Online Faculty System. Poltimore: St Mary the Virgin.
[3] National Archives. E 153/2140
[4] Powell; Phelps, William, The History and antiquities of Somerset, vol.1.


                                        19. PAUNCEFOOT-BAMPFYLDE


Sampson Tree