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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)




JOHN PAUNCEFOOT. There are a number of family trees giving different lineages for Walter Pauncefoot of Compton Pauncefoot in Somerset. One of the most widely accepted makes him a younger son of Sir John Pauncefoot lord  of Crickhowell Castle and Alice Herle.

Most of our knowledge of John’s career is obtained from his parliamentary biography. [1] He was born on 17 Nov 1368 and died around 1445. He was the son and heir of Hugh Pauncefoot of Crickhowell and Hasfield and his wife Katherine. Crickhowell is a small town on the Welsh borders near Abergavenny in SE Powys.

Crickhowell Castle came into the Pauncefoot family through John’s great-grandmother Sybil de Turberville. The Turbervilles had built it aound 1121.

“The descent of the Pauncefoot family, which excelled in military engagements in Wales and the marches, especially under Edward I, may be traced from 1199, by which date Sir John’s ancestors were already in possession of Hasfield. Their estates also included the manor of Cowarne and the lordship of Crickhowell (on the borders of Herefordshire and Brecon), and Bentley Pauncefoot in the royal forest of Feckenham in Worcestershire.

John was still a minor when he inherited the family lands after the deaths of his uncle Grimbald, in 1375, and his  father, Hugh (Grimbald’s younger brother), some time before 1379. He became the ward of Philippa, countess of March, from whom Crickhowell was then held. His mother, Katherine, subsequently married Richard Ruyhale, a Worcestershire lawyer. After her death in May 1382, Ruyhale obtained custody of a large portion of John’s inheritance.

John came of age in November 1389 and obtained seisin of his estates six months later. It was not until he was considerably older, indeed not until 1431, that he procured royal confirmation of charters granted to his forebears in the 13th century, permitting them to have a market and fair at Cowarne, free warren on their other lands and a coney warren at Bentley. The precise value of his landed holdings is not known, although in 1412 those in Gloucestershire were said to be worth £20 a year.”

In 1392 John was associated with Sir Kynard de la Bere and others from the Herefordshire gentry in founding a chantry in St. Nicholas’s church, Norton, for the souls of their kinsmen

“He was knighted before August 1394, while he was when preparing to go to Ireland in the retinue of the lieutenant, Roger Mortimer, earl of March (grandson of his former guardian). Subsequently, by the earl’s grant dated 12 Sept. 1397, he received a life annuity of £20 charged on lands at Clifford (Herefordshire) and Glasbury (Brecon). The earl was killed in Ireland in the following year, but the annuity was confirmed by Henry IV in February 1400. It was then that Sir John offered his services as a soldier to the King, only to be wounded while taking part in the royal expedition to Scotland. As compensation, he was granted on 7 Feb. 1401 an annuity of £40 for life, from the issues of estate in Pembrokeshire. His wounds were, nevertheless, not so serious as to prevent his continuing to serve in a military capacity. Three months later he was commissioned with other prominent Herefordshire knights to raise a posse of the county to resist the invasion of Welsh rebels assembled in the lordship of Abergavenny. He was able to fight on the King’s side at the battle of Shrewsbury on 21 July 1403. In the confusion following the battle the sheriff of Herefordshire mistakenly believed that John had risen in insurrection against the King and in support of the Percys, and promptly put him, his followers and servants under arrest and confiscated their horses and personal property. Writs were sent for John’s release in August. Clearly there was little doubt as to his loyalty for on 8 Sept. he was ordered, under pain of forfeiture of his border castle of Crickhowell, to furnish and safeguard this stronghold with fighting men, victuals, armour and artillery, the Council being aware of the peril caused by the careless guarding of such places during the rebellion. The castle suffered under the attacks of Owain Glyndwr.”


Crickhowell Castle [2]

John also served as a JP.

He married Alice before 1406.


ALICE HERLE. She is sometimes given as Margaret Alice Herle. She is believed to be the daughter of Sir Andrew Herle and Julian(a) Rous. There are documents transferring some of Julian’s estates to Sir John Pauncefoot and his wife Alice

She was born in the late 14th century, and had a brother William. Her mother was a wealthy heiress, but her father had no known estates of his own.

She probably grew up either at her mother’s family home of Harescombe, or in Allensmore, where her parents are buried, both in Herefordshire.

Her father was knight of the shire of Hereford, representing the county in Parliament, and Sheriff of Herefordshire.

There are varying accounts of the number of their children. They included William, Thomas, Margery and Walter.

“John Pauncefoot did not serve on any royal commissions between 1403 and 1422, a period of nearly 20 years. The reasons for this are unclear, although ill health caused by his war wounds may have been one. In the course of this period while loosening his ties with Herefordshire he was strengthening those with Gloucestershire. He headed the list of electors at the Gloucestershire elections to the Parliament of 1407 (a Parliament actually held at Gloucester.  Sir Thomas Fitznichol, grandfather of John’s godson, and John’s own feoffee, Thomas Mille, who was  possibly Alice’s stepfather, were returned.

His old injuries did not prevent him travelling abroad. In October 1409 he took out royal letters of protection to go overseas. His omission from public employment may be partially attributed to other similar journeys. At the Gloucestershire elections of 1411 he stood surety for Mille and Robert Whittington, and he himself was returned by the local gentry two years later, at Parliament’s first meeting after Henry V’s accession. In subsequent years, the King was anxious to secure the Welsh marches during his forthcoming expedition to France. He took action to prevent renewed uprisings in support of the fugitive lollard leader, Sir John Oldcastle. The latter’s erstwhile friends were all required to undertake not to join in insurrections nor to succour Oldcastle in any way. John Pauncefoot was among those who helped to provide securities of £1,000 that John ap Harry would keep his word.

He then served on the King’s campaign in France, in the retinue of Edmund, earl of March, son of his former lord. Shortly after sitting in Henry V’s last Parliament, in December 1421, he was appointed to the Gloucestershire bench, his first royal commission since 1403. Then, in May, he became sheriff of the county for the first time.

Under Henry VI John became more active in local administration, officiating for two more terms as sheriff of Gloucestershire and one in Herefordshire. Ex officio he held the parliamentary elections of 1422, 1423, 1427 and 1435. In November 1428 the Council authorized him to spend £200 on repairs to Gloucester castle, under the supervision of the prior of Llanthony. He was making preparations to travel abroad again in May 1431, and by 20 July he had reached Rome where, at the Papal Curia, he appeared as proctor for Bishop Spofford of Herefordshire. There is evidence that in May 1432 he was holding office as steward of the court at Minsterworth, Gloucestershire, a manor then owned by the duchy of Lancaster, although as there is no other record of his stewardship this seems to have been a temporary appointment. When members of the gentry throughout the country were required in 1434 to take oaths not to maintain malefactors, Sir John did so in Gloucestershire. Among those with whom he was now connected was Henry Bourgchier, count of Eu (afterwards Viscount Bourgchier and earl of Essex), both of them being feoffees of the manor of Dymock which had once been held by John’s stepfather. He and his co-feoffees apparently took possession of the manor from Merbury in order to sell it, but then became involved in several long and complicated lawsuits in Chancery and other central courts, which were not to be settled until 1438.

By then John Pauncefoot was 70 years old. Besides the litigation over Dymock he now had to face other disputes. First, he quarrelled with the abbot of St. Augustine’s, Bristol, about an annual rent of £2 10s. from the manor of Ashleworth which one of his ancestors had granted to the abbey. But a more serious matter brought him into conflict with one of the highest in the land: Richard, duke of York. In September 1444, with the assistance of his son-in-law, William Tracy of Toddington, and Miles Scull, the deputy justiciar of South Wales, among others, John Pauncefoot effected an entail of his castle, manor and lordship of Crickhowell by which it was settled on himself and his son, Thomas, in survivorship, with remainder to other descendants of his father, Hugh. This in itself could not give the duke, from whom (as the earl of March’s heir) Sir John held Crickhowell, much cause for concern. But in the following month the feoffees granted that the reversion of the property, in default of heirs, should fall to the King, from whom Crickhowell was thenceforth to be held for an annual rent of one red rose and the service of one knight’s fee. York, incensed, petitioned the Parliament of 1445 alleging that John by ‘grete and sotill imaginacion’ had attempted to disinherit him, and obtained a royal licence to sue in Parliament, through his counsellors, for restitution. There is just a hint that there may have been political motives behind John’s actions: his son, Thomas, was probably already married to Margaret Swynford, niece of John, Lord Beauchamp of Powick and daughter of Sir Thomas Swynford, the kinsman of York’s opponents the Beauforts. But, of course, he may have been prompted by an entirely different and more personal grudge, such as the failure of York to pay his annuity from the March estates.

John Pauncefoot probably died shortly afterwards. His eldest son, William, on whom he had settled Bentley some 27 years previously, had predeceased him, and his heir was the next son, Thomas, who was to represent Gloucestershire in the Parliaments of 1447 and 1449.”

His younger son Walter inherited estates in Somerset and Hampshire.


[1] https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1386-1421/member/pauncefoot-sir-john-1368-1445
[2] http://history.powys.org.uk/history/crick/crick7.gif





Sampson Tree