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)
EARLY HELES (23)
Among our medieval ancestors are the Heles of Hele in East Devon.
Burke’s Extinct Baronetcies tell us that:
“Heale, Heal, or Hele, a manor in the parish of Bradninch, in the Hundred of Hardridge, in the North of Devon, was, from the earliest time of which any record exists… in the possession of the family, which had its dwelling there, and gave it a name.
O A R Murray adds:
“Hele is an old family name in Devon where they held a manor in the parish of Bradninch from an early date. One of the first on record was Roger De la Heale who was lord of Heale, temp. Henry III [1216-1272]. The family is conjecturally descended from Erchenbald, who held lands from the Count of Mortain, recorded in the Domesday Book (1086).”
Hele is a small village one mile from the larger town of Bradninch. It lies 8 miles NE of Exeter, on the road to Cullompton.
Bradninch was then a flourishing market town, whose prosperity was based on wool.
Hele does not have its own church, but lies within the parish of Bradninch. The church in Bradninch is dedicated to St Disen, but that dates only from the 19th century. Previously it was St Denis (or St Dionysius). St Denis was an Irish hermit, who came to England in the 7th century and built his church here. The present church, however, dates from the 15th century. The early Heles would have worshipped in a more modest building.
“The herald’s visitations commence with
“SIR ROGER DE LA HEALE, Lord of Heale, in th reign of Henry III [1216-1272], fifth in descent from whom, through several knights named Roger and Nicholas, was
“WILLIAM DE LA HEALE, who left issue two sons.”
Sir William de Pole is more exact, and takes the lineage two generations further back.
“In this parish [Bradninch] lieth Hele, thauncient dwellinge of that name. In King Henry 2 tyme [1154-1189] Bartholomew de la Hela dwelled in this place, whom succeeded Roger, Sr Roger de Hele, Kt, & Sr Roger his sonne, Nicholas, Roger, Willam, & Nicholas Heale, wch died anno 1 of Kinge Henry 5 [1413-14], whose only daughter Alis was married unto Willam Franceis, of Francescoort, adjoynynge, by wch marriage the famyly of Franceis increased into a very fayre estate, and hath contynewed this land ever sithens.”
Stirnet gives a succession which is almost identical to Pole’s, and offers more dates:
“Bartholomew de Hele (a temp Henry II who r. 1154-1189)
Roger Hele of Hele
Sir Roger Hele of Hele (a temp Henry III who r 1216-1272)
Roger Hele of Hele (a 1298)
Sir Roger Hele of Hele (a 1310)
William Hele of Hele
(A)Nicholas Hele of Hele (d 20.09.1413)
m Alice Percehay (co-heir, cousin to William de Percehay of Comb Flory)
Alice Hele (b c 1363)
m William Francis of Brixham, later of Hele & Comb Flory.
(B) Roger Hele (a 1400)
William Hele of South Hele in Cornwood, South Devon.”
This omits the first Nicholas, between the third and fourth Roger. He may have been the older brother of the fourth Roger who died without issue.
Among the “Auncient Gentlemen” of Devon, Sir William Pole lists:
Bartholomew de Hela held Hele, neere Bradnidge in King Henry 2 tyme [1154-1189], & Sir Roger de Hele in Kinge Henry 3 [1216-1272]. The land descended unto the heire general. The same contyneweth in the shire, & divers families of ye name are at the present.
Sadly, we do not know enough about these earlier generations to warrant a separate file on each. We do not know who they married, or what other children they may have had. Nor do we know anything of their exploits, other than that they held the manor of Hele.
An exception to that is a Geni family tree that lists the children of the first Roger Hele, son of Bartholomew, as: Roger, Otho ; Alice ; Clarice and Margaret. 
This tree also says that the third Roger Hele inherited the manor between 1299 and 1310.
But this proceeds straight from the third Roger to William, father of Nicholas,who married Alice Percehay, and his brother Roger, missing other generations listed by Pole and Stirnet.
Pole gives us the coat of arms of Sir Roger de Hele:
Arms: Sir Roger Hele, of Hele, Gules, 5 fusils in bend Argent, on each an Ermine spot.
The same arms were held by Sir John Hele (1541-1608), sergeant-at-law and MP.
 John Burke, Burke’s Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland and Scotland. 1838.
 O A R Murray, “Hele Family”. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, p. 21.
 Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon,(1791)
NEXT GENERATION: 22. HELE