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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



THOMAS TOREL was the son and heir of John Torel and Margery de Abyndon. He was born at the family home of Torrells Hall in West Thurrock, around 1332. West Thurrock is on the Thames estuary in Essex.

He would still have been a teenager when the Black Death struck the country in 1348. It is thought that up to half the population died.

Thomas and his parents survived.


ELIZABETH MARSHALL.  She was the daughter of Robert Marshall. She had at least one brother, also Robert, their parents’ heir. Her brother was a knight, so it is possible that her father was too.


Thomas and Elizabeth married in the 1350s, not long after the Black Death had ravaged England . Their son Richard was born around 1354.


Thomas was in his mid-twenties when his father died in 1355. A document of that year says:

Thomas Torel to settle land and rent in Little Thurrock on himself, Elizabeth his wife, and the heirs of their bodies.”[1]

Thomas inherited from his father the family’s traditional role of Serjeant Naperer, overseeing the king’s table linen on occasions such as the coronation. The Torels had held this office since at least as far back as 1130.[2]


His mother died the following year. She left part of the manor of Bepton, Sussex, which had been gifted to her for life by her husband, to her son Thomas, “aged 24 years and more”. Bepton was divided into Estcourt and Westcourt. The Torels held land in Estcourt. This manor had been passed down through the Torel family since the marriage of William Torel to Alice de Basseville in the late 13th century.


Thomas and Elizabeth held land in Buckinghamshire, as well as in Essex and Sussex.

There was a lawsuit on 27 Oct 1357.

Peter de Knotteshale, querent, and Thomas Torel and Elizabeth, his wife, deforciants. [3]

12 messuages, 200 acres of land, 35 acres of meadow, 12 acres of pasture, pasture for 2 horses and 6 oxen and 7 shillings, 5 pence and 1 halfpenny of rent in Wengraue and Roulesham.

Peter has acknowledged the tenements and pasture to be the right of Thomas. For this, Thomas and Elizabeth have granted to Peter the tenements and pasture and have rendered them to him in the court, to hold to Peter and his heirs, of the chief lords for ever.

Warranty by Thomas and Elizabeth and the heirs of Thomas.

The deforciant  was the current holder of the land and the querent was the one claiming it.


In 1363 a Commission de wallis et fossatis was granted to William de Wauton, chivaler, Thomas Torel and Thomas Belhous, at Westhurrok, co. Essex.[4]

There was major flooding on the Thames estuary in the late 14th century. A Commission de wallis et fossatis was constituted to enforce the construction and repair of embankments and ditches.

Flooding may have been a factor in the decision of the  next generation of Torels to move away from coastal Thurrock, 16 miles inland to Willingale Doe.

Medieval fish weir [5]


In 1371 there was an enquiry into lands in Worcestershire. The querents (claimants) were Robert Marchal, Thomas Torel and John the parson of the church at Bubbyngeworth. The deforciants (occupiers) were Roger Marchal and Margaret his wife.

We have no previous record of Torel family lands in Worcestershire, but the juxtaposition of the names Thomas Torel and Robert Marchal leads us to believe that these are the same men whose names appear together in other documents of this family.

Bubbyngeworth is Bobbingworth in Essex, only 4 miles from Willingale Doe. This strengthens the belief that the other parties are also from Essex.

Robert Marchal could be either Elizabeth’s brother or her father. Her brother’s heir was the Torel’s son Richard. We do not know the relationship between Elizabeth and Roger Marchal. His name appears on other documents concerning the Torels. He could be another brother of Elizabeth. He administers her lands after her death during Richard’s minority.

The case concerned the manor of Westmancote, which lies in the village of Bredon, near Tewkesbury. The agreement was that Roger and Margaret acknowledged the manor to be the right of John, and have rendered it to John, Robert and Thomas, to hold to Robert, Thomas and John and the heirs of John.

It was warranted by Roger and Margaret for themselves and the heirs of Margaret.

For this, Robert, Thomas and John have given them 200 marks of silver, quite a substantial sum.[6]


We do not have a death date for Thomas, nor an Inquisition Post Mortem into his estates. He must have died between 1371 and 1375.


Elizabeth survived him. The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex  tells us:
Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Torrell, held, for term of her life, as joint feoffee with her late husband, 100 acres of arable , 20 of meadow, 60 of pasture and marsh, in Chaldwell and Little Thurrock, and 3l. 16s. 8d. rent assise, of the King in ca. by the 4th part of a knight’s fee, viz. to be the King’s Napperer in his Houshold, and also by the service of paying 2 s. a year- called Ward-silver, to the Hundred of Berstaple then in the hands of the Earl of Kent. She dyed in 1375, and was succeeded by her son and heir – Richard, then 21 years old”


In the same year, 1375, there was  a “grant to the king’s esquire, Roger Mareschall, of the keeping of the Blatherwycke, lands in Little Thurrock, co. Essex, late of Elizabeth Torell, who held in chief, until the full age of her heir, together with the marriage of the latter, and so from heir to heir; provided that he find fit sustenance for such heir and support the real services and other charges incumbent on the lands.” [7]

[1] National Archives. C 143/315/1
[2] Philip Morant, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex.1763.
[3] National Archives. CP 25/1/20/93, number 22.
[4] Patent Rolls. Edward III
[5] Research Gate. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/James-Galloway-3/publication/336667233/figure/fig2/AS:815689518546944@1571486944254/Reconstruction-of-a-medieval-fish-weir-painting-by-Simon-Dick-reproduced-courtesy-of.jpg
[6] National Archives. CP 25/1/260/24, number 10.
[7] https://archive.org/stream/calendarofpatent16grea/calendarofpatent16grea_djvu.txt



Sampson Tree