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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 DE PAULET was the younger son of William de Paulet of Pawlett and Cruk in Somerset and Legh Paulet in Devon. He is thought to have been born about 1301.[1]


William de Paulet died in 1325. John’s brother William, of Street and Littleton, died without issue, leaving John the sole heir. He was lord of Pawlett and Gotehurst in Somerset and Legh Paulet in Devon.


The Village lies hidden in a sheltered spot on the edge of the Quantocks, 3 miles from Bridgwater.

The correct pronunciation that villagers use is Go-thurst.

St Edward’s Church 

The church’s dedication is unusual, to St Edward, King and martyr. This young Saxon King was murdered by his stepmother Elfrida in 978. This suggests that there was a church on this site before the Norman Conquest.

The tower is 14th century.

The south aisle was the cause of some friction between the Halswell and Paulet families in the 16th century which required arbitration by a ‘mediacion of friends’. They signed an agreement which gave the Paulets the south aisle and a plot of land north of the Chancel to Sir Nicholas Halswell so that he could build a chapel for himself and his heirs. [2]


John de Paulet  married Elizabeth de Reigny.


ELIZABETH de REIGNY was the daughter and heir of Sir John de Reigny who held the Somerset manors of Sheerstone, Rode and Melcombe in North Petherton, and Staulegh in Milverton.

Arthur Collins, in his Peerage of England says: “She was such a considerable heiress, that Sir John Paulet, her son, sealed with the arms of Reyney in 15 Rich. II [1391-2] viz. Gules, a pair of Wings conjoined in Lure, Argent.[3]

A lure is a bunch of feathers on a line, used to recall a hawk.

The Paulets greatly increased their lands by advantageous marriages.


The couple had three sons, two named William and another John.


The Black Death entered England in the summer of 1348. The disease may have been brought by soldiers and sailors returning from the Hundred Years’ War, or by a visiting spice ship from the east.

The Paulet family survived the Black Death. But the aftermath would have presented problems for landowners like the Paulets.

With the labour force devastated, workers were demanding better pay. In 1351, the Statute of Labourers attempted to hold wages and prices at the level they were before the plague. The Statute enabled landowners to seize vagrant able-bodied men and compel them to work for the statutory wage. Labourers who refused could be imprisoned, flogged and branded. The measure failed. Labourers absconded to the towns, where they could disappear into the crowd and easily find new work. Feudal landlords were obliged to commute the former duty of peasants  to give them agricultural service. They substituted money rents. Many could not manage their estates as before and let out manor lands to tenants.

John died in 1356.

We do not know when Elizabeth died.


The first son William, of Charlton Adom, died around 1360. The second William, of Beer, Gotehurst and Combewith, lived much longer, and died around 1428. Their other son, Sir John Paulet, of Pawlett, Rode, Melcombe, Sheerstone, Gotehurst, Staulegh and Legh Paulet, married Margaret de Cartuther and Elizabeth de Credy.



[1] Genealogical information from Winn, Colin G., The Pouletts of Hinton St. George (London: Research Publishing, 1976.)
[2] www.quantockonline.co.uk
[3] Arthur Collins, Peerage of England. www.books,google.co.uk.





Sampson Tree