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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



There is some uncertainty about the provenance of Matilda, second wife of Thomas L’Ercedekne, baron and governor of Tintagel Castle.  Some think she was the daughter of John Tracy of Trevisquite, north of Bodmin, since she was one of his heirs. But the Harleian MS 4031 states that she is the daughter of Lord John de Moeles of Kingskerswell.  This is the only contemporary reference to her parentage. We do not know what the rest of the document says.

JOHN DE MOELES.  John was the eldest son of Roger de Moeles, son and heir of the soldier and diplomat Nicholas de Moeles. We do not know his mother.

He was born in 1269, towards the end of Henry III’s reign.[1]His father Roger did military service in Wales, and was for a time Keeper of Llanbadarn Castle at Aberystwyth. He also served as a justice in English towns such as Winchester. He owned estates in Devon, Somerset, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.  As a consequence, it is difficult to know where John grew up. But the Moeles family of the 13th century is most commonly associated with Cadbury and Mapperton in Somerset. These were properties brought to the family by John’s grandmother, Hawise de Newmarch, on her marriage to Nicholas de Moeles in 1230. John was in his mid-twenties when his father died in 1295. He inherited his father’s estates in seven counties, from Devon to Buckinghamshire. He married Maud de Grey, in or before 1297.


MAUD DE GREY. Maud was 16 years younger than John. She was born in 1285, the daughter of Lord John de Grey and Maud de Verdun. Her father was Baron of Wilton and Ruthin on the Welsh border, one of the Marcher Lords.

She was probably 12 when she married John. In 1297 John was summoned to Parliament. The same year, King Edward I made an order to deliver to John de Moeles and his wife houses within the castle of Shireburn sufficient for them to dwell in, as the king has lent to John houses therein. Shirburn is 6 miles south of Thame in Oxfordshire. The following year, on 22 July 1298, John was at the Battle of Falkirk, when the English defeated the Scottish leader William Wallace. Next year, on 6 Feb 1299, John was again summoned to Parliament, this time as the first Baron Moels.In 1301, a group of barons wrote a letter to Pope Boniface VIII complaining about papal interference in Scotland. John was one of the signatories. On 12 Feb 1301 his seal was affixed to the letter, although he was not summoned to Parliament that year.

On 15 Sep 1302, , John de Moeles and Matilda his wife were querents at a hearing in York. (In those days, the names Maud and Matilda were interchangeable.) The deforciant was John de Sancto Amando. It concerned the manor of Northcadburi  in Somerset . John de Moeles acknowledged the right of John de Sancto Amandao as by his gift. If it happened that John de Moeles shall die without heirs begotten of Matilda, then after the decease of both John and Matilda the property should wholly remain to the right heirs of John de Moeles, to hold of the king.


In 1303 we have confirmation that John de Meles held ½ fee in Kings Cerswell, Dupeford, the Hundreds of Haytor and Stanburgh. [2] These were properties which had been given to his grandfather in 1230 at the time of his marriage. John held them until his death in 1310.Sir William Pole says of the lordship of Kingskerswell: “in Kinge Henry 3 tyme, ye lord Nicas de Mules, a counsellor of estate; he married Hawis, on of the daughters and heires of James de Newmarch, Lord of North Cadbiry, & had issue Sr John de Mules, wch had issue Sr Roger, wch had issue John Lord Mules, wch had issue Nicolas, Roger & John, successively lords of this mannor.” This introduces an extra generation between the earlier Nicholas and the earlier Roger.Oswald Reichel, who did considerable research into the manor of Kingkerswell in the early 20th century, concluded that the true succession was Nicholas, husband of Hawise, then Roger and then John. He discounts the earlier John, whom Pole places between Nicholas and Roger. He also makes the three brothers not John’s sons, but the sons of his younger brother Nicholas, who, he says, was John’s heir. More recent researchers have sided with Pole on the second issue, giving John and Maud, or Matilda, three sons: Nicholas, Roger and John. The duplication of first names can lead to some confusion about which man is mentioned in the records.The genealogies do not mention any daughters. This is a common practice. The names Maud and Matilda were used interchangeably at this period. It is likely that Maud or Matilda de Moeles would have had a daughter named after her. The single reference we have to a daughter Matilda, who married Thomas Lercedekne, is quite plausible. The site Magna Carta Ancestry names another daughter Joan, wife of Sir Henry Pomeroy. The Harleian manuscript, of which we do not have a transcript, names Matilda as the daughter of John de Moeles of Kingskerswell. This suggests that this Devon manor house was his principal residence.John’s grandfather, Nicholas de Moeles, had been granted the manors of Kingskerswell, near Newton Abbot, and Diptford, SW of Totnes, by Henry III about the time of his marriage in 1230.   The site lies on the west side of the valley on higher ground, the valley now draining to the river Aller which flows north to Newton Abbott and the river Teign. The site and buildings are orientated along the contours which run approximately north-south.  The current boundary defines a rectangular area roughly 32m by 80m.  The known building extends between the separate kitchen block to the north and the suggested a parlour with ancillary spaces at the south of the site, a run of 66m. Though the house was added to, the remains are among the most extensive for that period in Devon.             

 Kingskerswell Manor House

Plan of Manor House: http://swarch.net/data/uploads/kmh10-rep.pdf

The Magna Carta Ancestry site, gives the following summary of John’s career:

Maud de Grey married before 1302 John de Moels (or Meulis, Molis)  of Cadbury and Mapperton, Somerset, Kingscarswell, Diptford and Langford, Devon, Little Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, Over Orton and Stoke Bassett, Oxfordshire, etc, son and heir of Roger de Moels, Knt, of Cadbury, Somerset. He was born about 1269 ( 25 in 1295). They had three sons, Nicholas [2nd Lord Moels], Roger[3rd Lord Moels], John, Knt [4th Lord Moels], and one daughter Joan, (wife of Henry Pomeroy, Knt.) He served in the wars with the Scots, and was present at the Battle of Falkirk 22 July 1298. He was summoned to Parliament from 6 February 1298/9 to 16 June 1311, by writs directed Johanni de Moeles, whereby he is held to have become Lord Moels. He joined in the Barons’ letter to Pope Boniface VIII in 1301 as D’n’s  de Caudebury. John de Moeles, 1st Lord Moels, died 20 May 1310.

His inquest for Devon showed that he died seised of Carswille Regis, Dupeford, Haytorre hundred and Staboro’ hundred. In Hatherleigh he was leasing 2 virgates of land to John de Bosco for knight’s service. Other county inquests showed that John de Moeles, alias de Mules, de Mueles, held lands in Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Leicestershire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire.[3] Among the most distant of these was Saddington in Leicestershire, where in 1309 John de Moeles held the

manor extent.[4]

His Hampshire IPM was held at Southampton on 24 May 1310. It named as his heir Nicholas his son, aged 20 on the day of St Laurence last, his next heir. Nicholas married Margaret, daughter of Sir Hugh de Courtenay, He was summoned to parliament in 1311, but died without issue before 1315. His widow Margaret held Kingskerswell and Diptford in dower until her death in 1338.

The barony passed to the second son, Roger. He was married to Alice le Preux, daughter of  William de Preouz & Alice de Reigny. In 1325, he too died without issue, without ever taking possession of the Devon manors.

The remaining heir was the third son, John, husband of Joan Lovel. Their daughter Muriel married Hugh, son of Thomas Courtenay. Another daughter Isabella married William de Botreaux. John junior died just months before his sister-in-law. It was his two daughters who inherited the Devon estates when Margaret died. The manor eventually fell to the Courtenays.

On 16 Nov 1343 a commission of oyer and terminer was granted to William de Shareshull, Thomas de Curtenay, John Dauney, William de Bortriaux, John Inge, … on complaint by Matilda late the wife of Thomas Lercedekne … co. Devon… This strengthens the view that the Matilda was a hitherto unmentioned daughter of John de Moeles. As his surviving child, and in the absence of a male heir, she may have held that she had as much  right to her father’s estates as her nieces.


[1] Most biographical material is from the well-researched site www.teachergenealogist007.com
[2] Reichel, Oswald J., “The Hundred of Haytor in the Time of ‘Testa de Nevil’ AD 1244”, TDA vol.40 (1908)
[3] National Archives: C 134/15/7, 3 Edw.II.
[4] A Topographical History of the County of Leicester.:






Sampson Tree