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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




MATTHEW CLEVEDON.  We have no firm information about Matthew’s birth. There is an online family tree which has him as the son of John Clyvedon and his wife Elizabeth, born around 1345. John was from Charfield, Thornbury in Glos. It names one sister Margaret.

I have been unable to find confirmation of this. The name Matthew is used by earlier generations of this line, but other records have Margaret as the heiress of John Clyvedon, implying that there was no son.

Matthew is believed to be descended from the family of that name in Clevedon on the Bristol Channel coast.


Matthew Clevedon was of the parish of Woodborough in Wiltshire We learn most about him from “Notes on the Documentary History of Zeales” [1]  This tell us that

“By the end of the reign of Edward III [1327] the manor [of Zeales] had come into the hands of Matthew de Clivedon, and it is clear that he acquired it by purchase. He was descended from a Somersetshire family, who derived their name from Clivedon, or Clevedon, on the Bristol Channel, a manor which in the Domesday Survey was held by Matthew de Moretaine, who is supposed to be their Norman progenitor. As the elder line of the family had ended in a female, this Matthew must have been a member of a collateral branch.

“He was married twice. By his first wife he had at least two sons, and to provide for his second wife and her issue a settlement was made by final concord in 50 Edward III [1377], between John Wykying, John Pykering and Eobert Combe, plaintiffs, and Matthew de Clyvedon and Joan his wife defendants, whereby the manor of “Seles” and five messuages, one carucate of land, 3s, rent, and rent of a bunch of cloves, in Mere, Calecote, Seles, Wolverton, and Lyttel Ammesbury, Wiltes, and seven messuages, thirty acres of land, twelve acres of meadow, and thirty acres of wood, in Grayspore, Somerset, were limited to the said Matthew and Joan and the heirs of their bodies; remainder to Alexander, son to the said Matthew, in tail; remainder to Richard, brother of Alexander, in tail; remainder to the heirs of the body of the said Matthew to be begotten; remainder to John de Berkelee, Chiv, and his heirs.”

We do not know the name of Matthew’s first wife. Alexander and Richard were children of this marriage.

This settlement was evidently made after Matthew’s marriage to Joan, but before the birth of any children.


There appears to be only one child. His name is supplied by British History Online in its account of the manor of Lower Zeals in Woodborough, in the Vale of Pewsey.

“After 1354 a portion of the manor of Woodborough, Wilts, may have been acquired by Matthew Clevedon whose family, like the Riverses and Thomas of Zeals, also had interests in Zeals. In 1386 Matthew declared that John Berner had not released to him the land of Thomas of Zeals, and it is likely that the then unconsummated conveyance later took place. Matthew was dead by 1391 when his lands were settled on his son, John Clevedon.”[2]


The Wiltshire Community History tells us more about Zeals.

“Zeals is the only place-name in Wiltshire beginning with a ‘Z’ although this should really be an ‘S’ as the name comes from the Old English ‘sealh’ meaning a small willow or sallow and the early name was Seale, Sela and several variants of these. In Wiltshire dialect small willows were called ‘sallies’, doubtless derived from the same early word….

“At the time of the Domesday Book (1086) the land that is now Zeals was divided between two owners. Gozelin Riviere (Jocelyn Rivers) owned the estate of Lower Zeals, that later became known as the Manor of Zeals Clevedon or Clivedon. Alvied (Alfgeat) owned the estate of Higher Zeals that later became the manor of Zeals Aylesbury. Apart from the area of pasture both estates were very similar with land for 3 ploughs, a small area of meadow, a similar area of woodland and a mill. In Lower Zeals there was only a small area of pasture but there was 40 acres in Higher Zeals. There was a considerable difference in population with Higher Zeals being twice as large as Lower but it is doubtful if the difference in pastureland would have accounted for many of these people. Using modern interpretation of Domesday it is likely that the total population was between 125 and 145, with 40 to 50 at Lower Zeals…

“What became the manor house of Zeals Clevedon was probably on the site of the present Zeals House and there was a small village around it. The settlement later disappeared, possibly removed by the landowner or devastated by illness, and a new settlement seems to have appeared at Long Cross.”[3]

Zeals House, site of the former Zeals Manor House[4]



JOAN. We do not know her maiden name.

After Matthew’s death, Joan took over his estates, until her son John was old enough to take on the lordship of the manor.

The “Documentary History of Zeales” continues:

“We learn from the Zeals Court Rolls that after the death of Matthew he was succeeded by his widow, Joan, who held a court there in 9 Richard II [1386], and 8 Henry IV [1407].

John de Clivedon appears as Lord. He succeeded to the settled estate as the son of Matthew and Joan.


We do not have a death date for Joan.



[1] Notes on the Documentary History of Zeals – Wiltshire and Swindon
[2] https://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=ancestorsearch&id=I55489
[3] Wiltshire Community History. https://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getcom.php?id=261
[4] https://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/thumbnail4.php?src=../gallery/building/zeals_picP03099.jpg




Sampson Tree