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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)



NICHOLAS WAMPFORD. Sir William Pole tells us that Joan Wampford, who married John Keynes of Winkleigh in Devon, was the daughter of Nicholas Wampford.[1] The fact that Joan brought the manor of Efforde in Cornwall to the marriage shows us that this was the Nicholas Wampford who was lord of the manor there.

Stratton is a small market town a mile inland from present-day seaside resort of Bude on the west Cornish coast. One of the manors in the parish is Efford or Ebbingford, which, in the 14th century was held by the Wampfords.

An alternative spelling of the name is Waumford.

We know from Thomas’s IPM that Nicholas was the son of Thomas de Waumford, who held some of the same properties and died around 1334.

We are not told his mother’s name, but it is very likely that she is the Joan Aysshe who, in Nicholas’s IPM, had held land jointly with Nicholas’s wife for her lifetime, but was now deceased. She is likely to have remarried after Thomas’s early death.

At the time of Thomas’s Inquisition Post Mortem, Nicholas was aged 16, putting his birth in 1317-18. We do not have the name of any siblings, but we are told that a daughter of Thomas de Wauneford married into the Thurlbere family.

In 1329 a joint licence was issued for chapels at Efford, in Stratton, Cornwall, and at Whitelegh, in Black Torrington,, Devon, to Nich. de Wampford and Hugo Gros. This date may have been mistranscribed, since Nicholas would still have been a child, and his father still alive.

We have not been able to find who Hugo Gros was. He was possibly a member of Joan’s family, or related to Nicholas’s mother.


JOAN. We do not know the surname of Nicholas’s wife, or where she came from. We find her baptismal name in a document of 1399 which speaks of “a moiety of the manor of Efford, co. Cornwall, late of Nicholas Wampford and Joan his wife, tenants in chief of the king as of his castle of Launceston”.

Their eldest daughter Joan was “40 or more” when Nicholas died in 1398. This puts her birth in the 1340s. There was also a daughter, Eleanor.

Joan junior married John Keynes, and Eleanor marred John Durant.

The Wampfords held other lands besides Efforde, principally in Black Torrington, in North Devon, where they held the manor of Whiteleigh.

 The arms of these Wampfords were: Argent, a fess and in chief three mullets sable. A fess is a horizontal band, which in this case ran across the top of the shield. The background was silver and the fess and three fish black.

In 1378 a licence for chapels in Efford and Whiteleigh was issued to Johanna de Wampford and Johanna de Esse (Aysshe).[2] The former was Nicholas’s wife and the latter his mother, who had remarried after Thomas’s death.

Polwhele’s History of Cornwall (1816) gives the High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1378 as Nicholas Wampford.[3] More recent lists of Sheriffs have this as Ralph Wampford. If correct, we do not know how he was related to Nicholas. No other references have been found to Ralph Wampford

Since the Wampfords held the manor of Efford, it is likely that they lived in the manor house, or divided their time between that and Black Torrington. The present Ebbingford Manor dates from the 16th century, but may well stand on the site of the medieval manor house.

In 1602 the Cornish antiquary, Richard Carew, mentioned it in his The Survey of Cornwall:

‘Returning to the Westwards, wee meete with Bude, an open sandie bay, in whose mouth riseth a little hill, by euerie sea-floud made an Iland, and thereon a decayed Chapell : it spareth roade only to such small shipping, as bring their tide with them, and leaveth them drie, when the ebbe hath carried away the Salt water. Upon one side hereof, Master Arundel of Trerice possesseth a pleasant-seated house and demaines, called Efford, alias, Ebbingford, and that not unproperly, because euerie low water there affordeth passage to the other shore.’

Efford came to the Arundells through John Arundell’s marriage to Jane Durant, great-granddaughter of Nicholas and Jone Wampford.

Ebbington Manor[4]

Nicholas Wampford was High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1387.

A document dated 1387 Feb 15 tells us that Richard Tyrel of Trelonbis, Cornwall, owed £16 12s 6d to John Huwet, citizen and skinner of London.[5] Nicholas Wampford, Sheriff, replied that he had imprisoned Richard Tyrel of Trelonbys in the King’s gaol at Launceston.

Richard Tyrel was found to have a messuage and 100 acres of land in Trelonbis worth 10s. after expenses; one-third part of a corn-mill worth 2s.; one-third part of a fulling-mill in the same vill worth 2s.; one messuage, one curtilage, and one acre of land in Helstone worth 2s. a year. John Huwet received these in payment.

It is not until the end of his life that we see another side of Nicholas. For the first time, we learn that he was a merchant.[6]

1398 Jul 29
Debtor: Nicholas Waunford [merchant of Devon]
Creditor: Robert, the son of Robert Hull [merchant of Devon]
Amount: £100 for merchandise bought from him in the Staple.
Before whom: John Grey, Mayor of the Staple of Exeter.
When taken: 24/04/1395
First term: 30/05/1395
Last term: 30/05/1395
Writ to: Sheriff of Devon and Cornwall
Sent by: Henry Hull, Mayor of the Staple of Exeter; William Oak, and William Wilford, Constables of the Staple.


1398 Oct 11Debtor: Nicholas Waunford.
Creditor: Robert, the son of Robert Hull.
Amount: £100
Before whom: John Greytune, Mayor of the Staple of Exeter
When taken: 24/04/1395
First term: 30/05/1395
Last term: 30/05/1395
Writ to: Sheriff of Devon
Sent by: Chancery.
Endorsement: Thomas Pevere, Sheriff, replies that Nicholas was not found in his bailiwick. He has delivered to Robert, the son of Robert Hull the messuages, lands, rents and two-parts of the hundred in the writ.
Inquisition and return: Date to be returned: 18.11.1398 The Sheriff had replied to an earlier writ that Nicholas had a messuage, a carucate of land, and a rent of 30s. in Lachebrook and Bridgerule [Black Torrington Hundred], and a messuage, a carucate of land and a rent of 40s. in Black Torrington [Black Torrington Hundred], Pyworthy [Black Torrington Hundred] and Bradford, a messuage and a furlong of land in Halwill [Black Torrington Hundred], and two-parts of the hundred of Black Torrington, which altogether are worth 150s.

This includes some properties we have not heard of before, mostly for small parcels of land.

The reason Nicholas could not be found is that he had died. The properties were evidently valued so that they could be sold to pay the debt, though it would need considerably more to meet the debt of £100.

Both Nicholas and Jone died in 1398. We have their IPMs for Cornwall, but not for Devon,


Writ, 17 June, 21 Richard II
CORNWALL. Inq. taken at Stratton, Tuesday after St Edward the Bishop, 22 Richard II.
He was seised in his demesne as of fee of the under-mentioned manor and gave it by his charter to Richard Sergeaux, knight, William Freludek, late vicar of the church of Stratton, and William Penwonan, chaplain, to hold for the life of Joan Aysshe, now deceased, and Joan, wife of the said Nicholas, at a rent of 6d. yearly, and all the tenants attorned to them except Nicholas Bromford, who held a yard in Stratton called Crabbehaye by a rent of 1d. yearly. The said Richard, William and William granted all their estate in the manor to the said Joan and Joan and all the tenants attorned to them except the said Nicholas Bromford, so that the said Nicholas Waumford died seised of 7d. rent and the reversion of the manor.
Efforde. The manor, held of the king of the castle of Launceston as of the duchy of Cornwall, except a messuage and a carucate of land in Wasteprayshele, held of John Fareweye and Agnes his wife as of the right of Agnes of the manor of Penalym by knight’s service.
He died on Tuesday before Whitsunday, 21 Richard II. Joan, wife of John Kaynes of Wynkelegh, daughter of the said Nicholas, aged 40 years and more, and John Duraunt, son of John, son of John, son of Eleanor, daughter of the said Nicholas, aged 7 years and more, are his heirs.
C. Ric. II File 101 (7)


Joan Aysshe was Nicholas’s mother.

Nicholas’s heirs should have been his daughters, Joan, who was married to John Keynes, and Eleanor, who married John Durant. But Eleanor had predeceased her father, leaving her 7-year-old son to inherit her share.

The writ for Joan’s IPM was issued a month later.


Writ, Oxford, 16 July, 23 Richard
CORNWALL. Inq. taken at Stratton, Tuesday before the Assumption, 23 Richard II (1399)
She held no lands in chief. She held the under-mentioned manor of Efforde for term of her life of John Keynes and Joan his wife, one of the daughters and heirs of the said Nicholas, and of John Durant kinsman and other heir of Nicholas, to wit, son of Eleanor the other daughter and heir of Nicholas, by fealty and 6d. yearly. The reversion of the said manor belongs to the said Joan and John Durant.
Efforde. The manor, held as above. The said heirs hold it of the king as of the castle of Launston as of the duchy of Cornwall by knight’s service, except a messuage and a carucate of land called Wastpreyhele, parcel of the said manor, held of John Fareweye and Agnes his wife in her right as of the manor of Pennalym.
She died Sunday after SS Peter and Paul last past. The said Joan is aged 40 years and more and John Durant is aged 8 years. The next heirs of the said Joan late wife of Nicholas are not known.
C. Ric. II File 109 (12)


The feast of SS Peter and Paul is Jun 29. In 1398 the next Sunday was July 2.


[1] Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description  of the County of Devon,(1791)
[2] Ed. John S Amery, E Windeatt, Hugh R Watkins and R Pears Chope, Devon & Queries, Vol X1, No. 28, 1920-21.
[3] Rev. Richard Polwhele, History of Cornwall, Vol. IV. 1816
[4] Facebook: Ebbingford Manor Holiday Let.
[5] National Archives: C 131/34/31
[6] National Archives.C 41/188/15, C 31/214/21



Sampson Tree