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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



ADAM COPLESTON. The Coplestons were lords of the manor of Copplestone, a village 5 miles west of Crediton in mid-Devon. Sir William Pole calls them “an emynent family in this shire”.

He begins their genealogy with Adam’s father Richard, whose dates are given elsewhere as c.1295 – 1345/55.

Unusually for such a prominent family, none of the Coplestons were knighted. Instead, they occupied a rare rank, below that of knight,  of the White or Silver Spur.

Adam is thought to have been born around 1318. We do not know his mother’s name, or those of his siblings.


ALICE FERRERS was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Ferrers of Churston Ferrers, village a little to the south-west of Brixham on Torbay on the south-east Devon coast. She was born around 1317 in the reign of Edward II.

Alice had a brother William, who is also our ancestor, so she was not her parents’ heir.

Pole names two sons, John, who married Katherine Graas, heiress of Teigngrace, and Richard. There were also daughters.
  Agnes married Thomas Bampfield of Poltimore, north of Exeter. Elizabeth married Thomas de Chuderleigh, lord of the manor of Chudleigh. Margaret married Robert Hawkworthy  and Elinor married John Pollard of Way.

Their children were born in the 1350s, just after the Black Death. Adam and Alice obviously survived this plague, which killed up to half the population. It left landowners like them seriously short of labour.

Nevertheless, by the mid-century, most of Devon was under cultivation, except for the moors.

The Copleston and Ferrers families were evidently close. In 1379, John Copleston, William Ferrers and John Holbeme were pardoned for acquiring land from John Busshell in the manor of Teignweek, comprising a messuage, 2 mills, 1 carucate of land, 10 acres of meadow, and 8 librates of rents and appurtenances. They were fined a penalty of 10 marks (1mark was a third of a pound). [1]

In the same year, they granted similar properties in Teignweek, Newton Bushell and Bradley, acquired from John Busshell to his son John and to Joan and their heirs.[2]

These were manors on the outskirts of Newton Abbot, and close to Teigngrace, the home of John’s wife Katherine Graas.

Alice died about 1380, aged 62-63.

Adam died some time after 29 Nov 1384, when he was aged 65-66.

The arms of the Copleston family are: Argent, a chevron engrailed between 3 leopards’ faces, Azure. 

The crest is a fox passant, Azure.


[1] National Archives:231M/F/1
[2] National Archives: C 143/394/13





Sampson Tree