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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



SIR JOHN CARY was the eldest son of Sir John Cary senior and his second wife, the heiress Jane de Bryan. He was born in 1350, in the reign of Edward III, just after the devastation of the Black Death.

The Carys are widely held to come from Castle Cary in Somerset, but but research has proved that to be untrue.[1] Their true home is probably St Giles on the Heath, a village once in Cornwall but now in West Devon. It lies close to the Cornish border, 5 miles north of Launceston, between the river Tamar and the Cary brook. The manor of Kari was the only one listed in this parish in the Domesday Book. The Cary family are thought to have originated here in the 13th century.

St Giles on the Heath, River Tamar [2]

 Together with his brother Sir William Cary, John was twice Member of Parliament for Devon.


MARGARET HOLLEWAY was the daughter and heiress of Robert Holleway from the manor of that name in North Lew, NW of Okehampton. She was born in 1354 and appears to be an only child. Her mother’s name is unknown.

They married in 1376.

Their children include at least four sons: Robert 1375, John 1377, William 1378 and Thomas 1379.

John purchased the manor of Clovelly, the home of his grandmother Margaret Bozon. Clovelly is a fishing village on the steep-sided north Devon coast. The Carys are not thought to have made their home there.

John was a strong supporter of Richard II. He rose to become Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1386.

When King Richard was accused of selling out English interests to the French in the Hundred Years War, he was effectively removed from power and his place taken by the Lords Appellant. His supporters, including Sir John Cary, were summoned before the Merciless Parliament of 1388 and convicted of treason. Like many others, John was initially sentenced to death, but this was commuted to banishment to Ireland with a pension of £20. His lands and goods were forfeit to the Crown. These included Hardington Mandeville, part of Chilton Cantelo and premises in Trent in Somerset.

Part of his land was bought by Sir William Hankford of Annery in the North Devon parish of Monkleigh. This was probably an act of friendship. Sir William was a fellow sergeant-at-arms with John. John’s eldest son Robert later married Sir William’s daughter Jane.

Prince, in his Worthies of Devon,  says “On the fifth of November, 1387, he was by the King Richard II, made Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and advanced to be a Judge of the land; who being now placed in a high and spacious Orb, he scattered the Rays of Justice about him with great splendor. In his post he continued many years, manifesting in all his actions, an inflexible Virtue and Honesty; and indeed it fell out at last that he had an extraordinary occasion laid before him, for the proof and tryal thereof, upon which we find him as true as steel, for the greatest dangers could not affright him from his duty and Loyalty to his distressed Master, King Richard II, unto whom he faithfully adhered when most others had forsaken him.’ After the king was put to death by Henry IV, Sir John was banished and all his goods and lands confiscated for his loyalty to his royal master.”[3]

In fact, King Richard did not die until1399, probably on the orders of his successor Henry IV, while he was a prisoner in Pontefract Castle.

Thomas Westcote, in A View of Devonshire, says: ‘I will speak of Sir John Cary, Baron of the Exchequer in the time of Richard II. This knight neither able nor willing, like a willow, to bow with every blast of the wind, so confidently and freely spoke his mind, opposing the proceedings for procurators to take the resignation of his master, King Richard, his true and undoubted Sovereign, that there-upon he was dis-officed, his goods and lands confiscated, and himself banished.”[4]


John died in exile in Waterford, Ireland, on 28 May 1395.

The attainder was revoked in 1398, but this was too late for John. His eldest son Robert managed to recover some of his lands.


We do not have a death date for Margaret, nor do we know whether she accompanied John to Ireland.


When William Cary submitted his returns for the Heralds’ Visitation of Devon in 1620 he said that John and Margaret’s second son John junior had been Bishop of Exeter in 1419, but this is thought to be incorrect.


[1] http://www.advsolutions.com/carey/castlecariresearch.htm
[2] Big Cottages. https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR8xqd3qzIfjMAk2k0ftZ99JFQva-ViKgsjLw&usqp=CAU
[3] John Prince, The Worthies of Devon, 1810.
[4] Thomas Westcote, A View of Devonshire, 1630.




Sampson Tree