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)
WILLIAM DE BOYS and ELIZABETH DE HALBERTON (22)
WILLIAM DE BOYS was the fifth of that name to hold the manor of Halberton in East Devon.
He was the son and heir of an older William de Boys, born in 1270, towards the end of the reign of Henry III.
Halberton is a large village three miles east of Tiverton. It was sufficiently important to give its name to Halberton Hundred. A hundred was an administrative division within a county. Halberton was a large parish, including many smaller villages and hamlets.
One usually well-researched family tree gives William’s first wife as Isolda Lapy, but this is accompanied by a warning that she may not belong to this family group. She came from Denton in Norfolk, where there was another branch of the de Boys family, so she is probably not related to the Devon de Boys.
She is said to have died in 1296.
More reliable is his marriage to Elizabeth de Halberton in 1299. A pedigree in the Plea Rolls gives William’s wife as Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH DE HALBERTON. Nothing further is known about Elizabeth’s origins. If her surname is correct, then we assume she was from a local family.
William came into possession of the manor in 1315, presumably at the death of his father.
Shortly afterwards, the couple had at least two sons: William, born in 1316 and John, born about 118.
The Plea Rolls pedigree gives William and Elizabeth five children. Besides William and John there is another son Simon, who, like William, died without issue. There are also two daughters, Joan and Isabella.
While much of St Andrew’s church is later, it stands on the site of a church dating back to Saxon times, which was later rebuilt. The tower is thought to date from the early 14th century, around the time when William inherited the manor.
St Andrew’s, Halberton
In 1335 a writ was sent to the Sheriff of Devon saying that William de Boys, who held the manor of Halberton, owed £100 to Sir William de Albemarle, who held half a fee in Woodbury. The case was heard in 1334 before Thomas Gerneys, Mayor of Exeter, and Matthew de Crauthorne, Clerk.
£100 was a considerable sum.
Two years later, he was in more serious trouble. The Calendar of Patent Rolls has the following entry for 7 Mar 1337/8:
“Commission of oyer and terminer to William de Shareshull, John Inge Westminster, and John de Balegh, on complaint by Oliver de Dyneham, knight, that whereas, he has within his manor of Saunpford Peverel, co. Devon, infangthef, with all cognisances pertaining to the liberty of infangthef, and his bailiffs at the suit of Nicholas Brian had attached within the manor Thomas de Nottecombe with a mare which he had stolen from the said Nicholas, and imprisoned him there, William Boys of Halberton, Bichard atte Milne, Walter Weyfrank, Oliver de Esse. parson of the church of Assh Rauf, and others broke the prison and let the said Thomas go free with the mare.”
Infangtheif was a privilege granted by kings to feudal lords under Anglo-Saxon law. It permitted them to execute summary justice on thieves within the border of their manors.
The case was heard at Westminster. Sadly, we do not know the outcome, or the story behind the theft of the mare.
It is notable that the parson of Assh Rauf [Rose Ash] was a party to the prison break-in.
William survived the Black Death of 1349 but died three years later in 1352, aged 82.
The huge death toll would have created difficulties for a landowner with the loss of a substantial number of the peasants who worked his feudal land.
 G.Wrottesly, Pedigrees from the Plea Rolls. 1905.
 Devon Live
 National Arhives: C 241/105/12
 Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward III, vol 3. p.442, http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/patentrolls/e3v3/body/Edward3vol3page0442.pdf
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