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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 BAMFIELD. There are a number of differing family trees for the Bampfyldes/Bampfields. There is some agreement that Thomas Bampfield was the son of John Bampfield and Joan Merton. Two others trees insert another two generations: John Bampfield, married to a Gilbert, and a younger John Bampfield married to a Cobham. This produces rather too many generations in the 14th century.

That said, there is a plea roll in 1418 to determine the right heirs of Elizabeth Charleston who died without issue. The pedigree given was John Bampfeld, son of Thomas, son of John, son of Isabel, daughter of John de Cobham.

Thomas was born before 1345, when he is mentioned in a deed by his father.

He survived the Black Death of 1349, that killed almost half the population.

His father died no later than 1363, while Thomas was still a minor.  Thomas inherited the family estates.

His mother married again, to Sir John Pomeroy, feudal baron of Berry Pomeroy castle.

By 1376 he was married to Agnes Coplestone.


AGNES COPLESTONE was, daughter of Adam Coplestone, by Alice Ferrers of Churston Ferrers, Devon, who was the daughter of Sir John Ferrers, son and heir of Sir Hugh Ferrers.[1]

Her father may be a younger son, rather than a lord of the manor. Her mother came from a more prestigious family.

The manor of Coplestone lay at the junction of the three ancient parishes of Colebrooke, Crediton and Down St Mary. It was not a parish in its own right, and had no church. A more recent village grew up around the ancient Coplestone Cross that marked this meeting place.

The granite pillar is thought to be either a boundary stone or the shaft of late Saxon cross. It is covered in intricately sculpted relief.

Copplestone Cross[2]

In 1376 Thomas granted the manor of Huxham with its advowson to feofees who included his brother-in-law, John Copleston. In 1381 John Copleston granted the manor back to Thomas Bamfield and Agnes his wife. This is the last record in which she occurs.

Older genealogist often assumed that a manor passed from father to son. Recent researchers have established that Thomas and Agnes had at least two sons, John and Thomas junior. When John died without issue, his manors passed to his younger brother.

There were also daughters. Agnes Bamfield, one of Thomas’s five children was probably born between 1377 and 1386. About 1406 she married John Prowse of Chagford, who was born about 1377, alive in 1447, and was the son and heir of John Prowse and Maud Cruwys, who all the authorities agree was the daughter and heiress of the cadet Prowse family of East Anstey. She and her husband received Chagford lands from trustees in 1435. [3]

Thomas senior’s principal estates were in Poltimore and Weston Bampfylde. But he held lands elsewhere. In a document of 1405, William Young of Upton Pyne said that he had a messuage, 160 acres of land, and 6 acres of meadow in Upton Pyne, in Devon, for the term of his life, inherited from Thomas Bampfield, worth 10s. a year after expenses.[4]

The Poll Tax of 1377 led to tensions that resulted in the violent Peasant Revolt in 1381. Afterwards, a new class of gentry emerged, renting land from the major nobility to farm out for profit. Thomas may well have been among these.

In 1392/3 Thomas established his rights over a serf in the manor of Huxham.

He died in March 1397, and was succeeded by his elder son John.


[1] Frederick Lewis Weis, Walter Lee Sheppard, William Ryland Beall, Kaleen E. Beall
Ancestral Roots Of Certain American Colonists Who Came To America Before 1700~
[2] Copplestone Cross – the National Archives.
[3] Weiss
[4] National Archives. C 131/219/4





Sampson Tree