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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



WILLIAM DE BOYS/DE BOSCO was the fourth of a string of William de Boys holding the manor of Halberton in east Devon, three miles east of Tiverton. He was the son and heir of Sir William de Boys/de Bosco.

Sir William Pole has an entry for Overton in Halberton: “Henry de Swetton held in King Henry 3 tyme; and Adam de Granges, which had married Jone, Henry de Swetton’s daughter, whose daughter Amicia was wife unto William de Bosco of Halberton.”[1]

Henry III had a long reign, from 1216 – 1272, so it is difficult to date this precisely. But an Adam de Granges is recorded in 1272, and William’s son, William junior, married Elizabeth de Halberton, so it seems most likely that Amicia de Granges is this William’s wife.


AMICIA DE GRANGES. Pole tells us that she was the child of Adam de Granges and Jone de Swetton. Since they lived in Overton in Halberton, the family were near neighbours of the de Boscos.


The couple had one known child, also William.

They may also have had a daughter Sybilla, unless she is William’sister. There is a document, thought to be of the late 13th century, in which Nicholas Webb of Kingsbridge enfeoffes Roger Sutorus le Foghel with a house and moor which Nicholas had of the gift of Sibilla daughter of William de Bosco lying on the east of the King’s highway in Kingsbridge. There was an annual rent of two silver pennies to be paid quarterly to the chief lord of the town of Kingsbridge and a sheaf of flowers to Sibilla and her heirs at the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist. [2] We know of no other William de Bosco in Devon at this time.

The feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist may be a significant date. The church in Halberton is dedicated to St Andrew, but within it there was a guild or fraternity of St John the Baptist. There was probably an altar in the church dedicated to the saint, and members of the fraternity would pay to keep candles burning before it. Such fraternities also provided help to members in difficulties, and to the poor, and paid for burials. Some guilds were even responsible for the maintenance of bridges in the parish.

Both women and men could be members of a guild, though some fraternities were confined to a single sex. If Sibilla had been a member of the Guild of St John the Baptist in Halberton, then the feast of his Nativity would be a significant day for her.

John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus. He went into the desert, wearing camel skins, and eating the locusts and wild honey. He preached a message of repentance and called for his followers to be baptised in the Jordan. Jesus accepted baptism at his hands. John was imprisoned by King Herod and beheaded at the instigation of Herod’s wife Herodias.

Image of St John the Baptist[3]

Kingsbridge is at the head of the long inlet that forms the mouth of Avon in the far south of Devon. It is 46 miles from Halberton. Sibilla very likely moved there when she married.


In 1290 William was witness to an undertaking by Robert le Engleys to Hugh de Peverel of Sandford not to claim land in Talaton if a more rightful heir appeared.[4]

Edward I is credited with establishing Parliament on a regular basis. In 1295 he decreed that not only secular and ecclesiastical lords should be members, but there should be two knights from each shire and two representatives from each borough. Instead of simply assenting to decisions made by the ruling magnates, they were now given authority to ratify decisions made by Parliament.

Parliament provided the king with an income by imposing lay subsidies – taxes based on wealth.


In 1307 William de Bosco was again a witness, this time to a quitclaim by Margaret de Dinham, Lady of Hemyock, to John Prior of Taunton concerning the manor of Middeldone.[5]


There is a very fine rood screen in St Andrew’s church, but this dates from around 1400. However, the parclose screens, at the sides of the chancel, have been dated to around 1300. This would have been when William was lord of the manor, and when he and Amicia, if she was still alive, were worshipping in the church.


William almost certainly died in 1315, when his son William came into possession of the manor.


[1] Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description  of the County of Devon,(1791).
[2]  National Archives:215M/T21
[3] Christian Iconagraphy. St John the Baptist.
[4] National Archives: AR/1/1048
[5] National Archives AR/1/557






Sampson Tree