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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



STEPHEN DE HACCOMBE was the son and heir of Jordan de Haccombe and Cecilia de Penpol. He was born around 1265 in the reign of Henry III.

His father died around 1289, in Edward I’s reign. As far as we know, Stephen was his only son.


On 20 Oct 1289 Cornwall Feet of Fines records:

Stephen de Haccombe, claimant, and Cecilia [his mother] who was the wife of Jordan de Haccombe, deforciant, as to the manors of Haccombe, Ridmor and West Clifford, and the advowson of the church of Haccumbe”. The finding of the court was: “to have and to hold of Stephen and his heirs. Should Stephen die without heirs, Cecilia being alive, the manors and advowson to revert to Cecilia. After her death, with reversion to the heirs of Stephen.

For this Stephen gave his mother “1 sore sparrow hawk”.

Cecilia was evidently in dispute with her son over the lordship of the three chief Haccombe manors. She appears to have believed they should be hers until her death. But she lost her case.

A sore sparrow hawk was a hawk in its first year, and not yet fully trained. It was not a particularly valuable recompense.

Stephen did, however, grant her the manors of Penpol, Anton and the advowson of Quethiock in Cornwall. Cecilia was the daughter of the lord of Penpol in Quethiock, so these would have been lands she brought to the Haccombes on her marriage.

Feet of Fines Cornwall–” Oct. 20, 1289.

Stephen de Haccombe granted to Cecilia, who was the wife of Jordan de Haccombe, the manors of Penpol (Quethiock) and Anton and the advowson of the church of Quethiock, with reversion, in case of her death, to Stephen.”

It was about this time that the 24-year-old Stephen married Margaret de Poltimore.


MARGARET de POLTIMORE.  Margaret, or Margery, was the daughter of Sir Richard de Poltimore. Her father was lord of this manor in East Devon, before it came to other ancestors of ours, the Bamfyldes. Sir William Pole traces the Poltimore family back for four generations.

Margaret’s father sold Poltimore to Sir Stephen de Montacute around 1280. We find numerous references to Penpol and the manor of Quethiock, which Stephen’s mother brought to the Haccombes. We do not find the same evidence for Margaret bringing Poltimore lands.


There was one child from this marriage, or only one who survived to adulthood. They followed the Haccombe family tradition in which eldest sons were named alternately Stephen and Jordan. He was born around 1290.


A.W. Searley, who gave a detailed lecture on the history of the Haccombes in 1918, traces Stephen’s career.[1]

“In the piecemeal, disjointed, and more or less conjectural, but brilliant attainments and strong personality of this great man stand out in cameo-like sharpness amongst his contemporaries. We can follow the salient point of his career and deduce his leading characteristics and personal attributes.”

We have an almost continuous record of Stephen’s actions, beginning with his employment against the Welsh in 1294 to his restoration of the church in 1328. For the time of King Edward I (1272-1307) Kinge Henry 3’ (1216-1272) Sir William Pole names both ‘Jordan Haccomb, of Haccomb, Kt’ and Stephen Haccomb, of Haccomb, Kt, sonne of Sr Jordan’ among the ‘best worth wthin this countye, havinge either dwellings or lands’.[2] For King Edward 2 (1307-1327) he names ‘Stephen Haccomb, of Haccomb, Kt.

We find him as a law officer, an MP and a military leader.

15 Oct 1294. Twenty-nine Devon knights, including Stephen’s former guardian Gilbert FitzStephen, Roger de Cokynton, Michael de Kirkham, etc, were summoned for military service to suppress a Welsh rising under Madog. Stephen de Haccombe was 24th on the list.

In 1303, an assessment of landowner gives us some picture of the manors Stephen held.

  1. Stephen de Haccombe held 1/3 fee of the Honour of Okehampton.
    Stephen de Haccombe held in Thurlestone 1 fee.
    Stephen de Haccombe held Haccombe, Clifford and Ringmore.
    Stephen de Haccombe held in Leghane ¼ fee.
    Stephen de Haccombe held Holne Buzun (Bozon’s Farm). By 1346 this had reverted to John de Chiverston.

In 1316 the ville of Thorlestone, with the assistance of Middleton (Milton) and Sourebozon (Sewer), was assessed to find a man-at-arms, and the lord of the same was Stephanus de Haccomb.

  1. There was a dispute between the Abbot ofTorre and divers families in Coffinswell concerning Robert Coffin’s (deceased) land. One of the witnesses to the settlement was Stephen de Haccombe.
  2. Thomas Braunton was admitted priest 17 July 1309 to the vacant chapel of Haccombe on the presentation of Sir Stephen de Haccombe, Kt. He is the first priest named. Stephen also held the advowsons of Nymet St George and Quethiock.


Stephen’s public duties often took him far from home.

1310. Stephen de Haccumbe was appointed one of the Justices of oyer and terminer (assizes) in Devon and Cornwall, for the trial of offenders indicted before the Conservators of the Peace. This commission was tested at Berwick-on-Tweed 16 Dec 1311..1311. 1311Stephen de Haccumbe, Knight of the Shire, was returned for Devon. Parliament met at London on the Sunday next before the Feast of St Lawrence, 8 Aug.
1311. Stephen de Haccumbe obtained his Writ de Expensis for attendance at such Parliament to the Saturday next after the Feast of St Dionisius, 9 Oct.
1311 Stephen de Haccom, Knight of the Shire, returned for Devon. Parliament met at Westminster by prorogation on the Morrow of St Martin, 12 Nov 1311. This seems like a second session of the preceding Parliament.
1311. Stephen de Haccom obtains his Writ de Expensis for attendance at such Parliament to Saturday next after the Feast of St Lucia the Virgin. Tested at Westminster, 18 Dec.
1311. Stephen de Haccombe and others were appointed to hear and determine the forestalling of a Trespass, and rehear the case of John de Mackeneye, Henry, late vicar of St Newelme and others.

1314. Inq. ad quod Damnun. “ Stephen de Haccumbe Sout Tawnton, vis franc pleg assis pains et ibidem’. Frankplege was an organisation in which men combined in groups of ten to act as securities for each other’s behaviour. Assize of bread, beer, etc was a rule presented by the authorities to regulate weights, measures and prices of commodities.

1315. John Dreynat succeeded to the chapel of Haccombe, 4 May 1315, on the resignation of Thomas de Braunton. The patron was Stephen de Haccombe.

1315. He was one of the witnesses to a debt of 2000 marks due to Hugh de Curtenay and John de Stonhouse from Robert de Maundewith.

1316. Sir George Carew in his Scroll of Arms says: “This man Stephen is painted in Ken Church in this coat of arms (Ar. 3 bends sable). Also I find that he was a knight in Devon in the tyme of K.E.3. I saw him very antiently in his coat armour in St Sidwell’s, and in Kirton Church. In my old book Haccumb Thurlestone was Stephen de Haccombe, 9 E 2.”

1316. Stephanus de Hakcombe certified pursuant to writ testified at Clipston, 5 March, as Lord of the townships of Thurleston and Milton Sourbozon in the County of Devon. 9 Ed.II.

1316. 4 Feb. Cl. R. Lincoln. Hugh de Courtenay puts in his place Stephen de Accumbe and Richard de Chessebeche to seek and receive the inheritance falling to him by the death of Isobella de Fortibus.

Isabella de Fortibus occurs several times in the Haccombe records. She was the daughter of the Earl of Devon and one of the richest heiresses in England. She owned land in Devon, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Yorkshire and Normandy. The younger Simon de Montfort acquired the rights to her remarriage after she was widowed, but she refused to marry him and hid for some time in a Hampshire priory and later in Wales. When her marriage rights were was granted to Edmund Crouchback, son of Henry III, she would not marry him either, though she allowed her daughter to. She died in 1293., with the priest Geoffrey de Haccombe at her bedside.

Hugh de Courtenay, the Haccombes’ overlord, became the first Earl of Devon of that name in 1335.

1316. Stephen de Haccombe was lord of Sourebozon with Middleton (assessed with Thurlestone) and charged with the provision of one man-at-arms.

1317. Stephanus de Hakcombe was one of the Justices assigned to the County of Devon for the purpose of suppressing illegal meetings, etc. Commission tested at Windsor, 22 Nov. 10 Ed. II.

1317. The patron of Quethiock church in Cornwall was Stephen de Haccombe, Knight, of Haccombe in Devon, who at that time owned the large manor of Penpoll in Quethiock. It appears that Stephen held the patronage of this living du ring the time that Henry de Neweton, and William de Vautort were Rectors, 1317 to 1344, at which time it became a vicarage under the patronage of the Bishop of Exeter. Penpol had come to the Haccombes through Stephen`s mother, Cecily de Penpol.

1318. Stephanus de Haccombe was of the Justices assigned to the County of Devon pursuant to the award in Parliament for the settlement of damages sustained by the subjects of the Count of Flanders. Commission tested at York, 12 Ed. II.

1318. 7 May. “One third part of the advowsons of the Church of St Lallaway of Mahenyet together with one third of one messuage, two mills, and two ploughlands in Tregilla” was the subject of an action at law between Stephen de Haccombe as claimant and Reginald de Eglosmerther and Joan his wife, defendants.

1318. Stephen de Haccombe “liber waren” in Penpole, Est Anton (East Anthony), Haccombe, Ridmore, West Clifford, Bokelan the More, Leyham, Manadon, Tauton, Thurleston, Soure (Bozon). Free warren was a franchise to keep in an enclosure beasts or fowl that are by nature wild.

1320. Stephen de Haccombe one of the Conservators of the Peace in the County of Devon. Commission tested at Canterbury, 18 June 13 Ed.II.

1320. Stephen de Haccombe commanded to act vigorously in the execution of such commissions. Writ tested at Westminster, 7 Aug. 14 Ed. II.


Stephen and Margaret’s only child Jordan married Isabella de St Aubyn, an heiress from Georgeham in North Devon. A child, Cecily, was born of this marriage.

In 1320, tragedy struck the family. Jordan, died. He left no sons. From then on, Stephen and Margaret’s heir was his only child, their infant granddaughter, Cecily.

  1. A settlement was made by Stephen and his wife Margery on themselves for life and their heirs for life. If they had no issue, then to Cecilia and her heirs.

In due course, the widowed Isabella married Sir Robert Cruwys, soon to become lord of the manor of Cruwys Morchard, near Witheridge. She probably left Haccombe to live at Cruwys Morchard House.


There followed years when Stephen was kept busy raising soldiers for King Edward II.

1322. Estephne de Haccum one of the Commissioners appointed to raise and array the men-at-arms of the County of Devon, and also leader of such levies. Commission tested at York, 31 Oct. 16 Ed. II.

1322. Stephen de Haccombe. Instructions addressed to him concerning the march of such levy. Writ tested at Hasely, 10 Dec. 16 Ed.II.

1323. Stephen de Haccombe commanded to expedite the completion of the array of the Devonshire men-at-arms. Writ tested at Hasely. 8 Jan. 16 Ed. II.

1323. Stephen de Haccombe directed to enforce the general array in the County of Devon. Writ tested at Knaresborough. 15 March. 16 Ed. II.

1323. Stephen de Haccombe empowered in the same county to raise a detachment of 300 foot soldiers in the place of Nicholas Dauneye, unable to act. Commission tested at Westminser, 5 May. 16 Ed. II.

1324. Sir Stephen de Haccombe, Knight, returned by the Sheriff of the County of Devon pursuant to writ tested at Westminster, 9 May, as summoned by general proclamation to attend the great Council at Westminster on Wednesday next after Ascension, 30 May, 17 Ed. II.

1324. Stephen de Haccombe one of the Commissioners of array in the County of Devon with special powers. Tested at Guildford, 1 Aug. 18 Ed. II.

1324. Stephen de Haccombe one of the Commissioners empowered to raise a certain number of foot soldiers from the County of Devon, the city of Exeter excepted. Oath of office administered to him by the Bishop of Exeter, who is also directed to assist him in the execution of his duties. Tested at Guildford, 6 Aug. 18 Ed. II.

Two of Bishop Stapeldon’s sisters are our ancestors. In 1326, the Bishop, who was Edward II’s Treasurer, was murdered by a London mob, while defending the city against the uprising by Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer.

  1. Estephne de Haccombe. Instructions addressed to him as Commissioner of array, etc. Writ tested at Porchester, 19 Sep. 18 Ed. II.

Towards the end of that busy year, Stephen and Margaret were involved in a lawsuit concerning the manor of East Antony and the Antony Passage. The Antony Passage was a ferry across the Lynher, near where that river joins the Tamar, before it flows into Plymouth Sound. The defendant, Robert de Pyl, was the rector of Torbrian (Torquay). He is thought by some to be related to Margaret.

  1. Nov 12. Stephen de Haccombe and Margery his wife, claimants, by John de Chuddely in Margery’s place, and Robert de Pyl, deforciant; as to the manor of Yestanton (East Antony) and passage across the water of Yestanton. Stephen acknowledged the manor and passage to be the right of Robert as gift of Stephen. From this Robert granted to Stephen and Margery the said manor and passage and gave them up to them at court. To have and to hold to Stephen and Margery and the heirs of their body for ever. Should Stephen and Margery die without heirs, the manor and passage to revert to Cecilia, daughter of Jordan de Haccombe (who was then unmarried) and heirs of her body. Should Cecilia die without heirs, the manor and passage revert to the right heirs of Stephen to hold for ever.


Stephen continued his military service.

1324. Estephne de Haccombe. Marching orders addressed to him concerning certain detachments of the levies. Writ tested at Nottingham, 22 Dec. 18 Ed. II.

1324. Stephen is enumerated with the able-bodied Knights of Devon – not with the decrepit and infirm, and so was available for war service. Military age is thought to have been 15 to 60. So Stephen could not have been born before 1264. A Feet of Fines shows him to have been of age in 1289, when he obtained property from his mother-in-law. This narrows his birth date down to around 1265.

In 1325 we find his name in a list of knights given protection for those “going with the king beyond seas on his service”.[3] Hugh de Courteney, Stephen de Hakcombe, Hugh de Courteney the younger, William de Cheverston , John de Cheverston, William de Harewell going with the said Hugh.  Courtenay was Stephen’s overlord.

1325. Estephne de Haccombe. Various orders addressed to him as Leader of the detachments from the County of Devon, etc. Writ tested at the Tower of London, 20 Feb, and at Winchester, 1 May, 19 Ed. II.

1325. Estephne de Haccombe instructed to suspend the marching of the detachments of foot-soldiers of the County of Devon. Writ tested at Westminster, 10 July, 19 Ed. II.

1325. Estephne de Haccombe commanded to inspect the levies of the County of Devon, so that they may continue fit for service. Writ tested at Marshfield, 30 Sep. 19 Ed. II.

1325. Stephanus de Haccombe one of the Commissioners of Array in the County of Devon. Commission tested at Bury St Edmunds, 25 Dec. 19 Ed. II.

1326. Stephanus de Haccombe commanded to certify the names of persons liable to take the degree of Knighthood. Writ tested at Norwich, 25 Jun. 19 Ed. II.


In September 1326, Roger Mortimer and the Queen Isabella invaded England in a coup against King Edward II. Many of Edward’s troops refused to fight against them. In November, King Edward was captured in Wales. His favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger, was brutally executed and the king was imprisoned. Edward was forced to abdicate in favour of his 14-year-old son, Edward III. He was murdered at Berkeley Castle on 11 October 1327.

We do not know what side Stephen de Haccombe took in this civil war.

He continued to perform his duties under the new king.

1327. Appointment of Hugh de Courtenaye, John de Stonore, Stephen de Haccomb, and John Inge upon petition in Parliament by the prelates, earls, barons and commonalties of the realm, asserting that the perambulations made in the forests on both sides of the Trent in the time of King Edward I were not observed – to assemble the keeper of forest beyond Trent, or his substitute, and all the foresters of fee and verderers of the forests in Devon, to make right peramblulations in that county, were not made in that King’s time, according to the Charta de Foresta of King Henry III, and to return the same before Christmas. 22 July. 1 Edw III.

1327. June 8, York. Commission to Stephen de Haccoum and others, to enquire by jury of the County of Devon, as to piracies committed on that coast, to arrest any found to be indicted therefor, and to make return from time to time of their names. By K and C.


On 23 Dec, 1327, Sir John Lercedekne obtained a licence from the Pope to marry Cecily, daughter . and heiress of Jordan de Haccombe by Isabel, daughter of Mauger de St Aubyn, she being within the prohibited degrees of affinity (Calend. Papal Reg., II, 166).

Sir John took over some of the responsibilities which fell to Cecily as the Haccombe’s heir.


Amid all his public commissions, Stephen found time to seek justice on a personal score.

1328. Feb 28, York. Commission of oyer and terminer by Philip de Columbariis, John Inge, etc, on complaint by Stephen de Haccombe, that Thomas de Marleberge, Henry de Corsten, John Conyng, and others, took away his bull, twenty-four oxen, and twenty cows, with £45 at Stoke Deneys, county of Somerset.

1328. John de Bello Campo and Nicholas Dauny were associated with Philip de Columbariis and others in the commission on the complaint of Stephen de Haccombe.


Nearing the end of his life, Stephen turned his thoughts towards the church of St Blaise, within a stone’s throw of the manor house at Haccombe. Searley writes:

  1. “In this year Stephen restored and altered the church founded by his grandfather, and also made arrangements for the endowment of an Archpresbytery; but death intervened before the intention could be carried into effect: In Epis. Reg, Grandisson, II f.5, under date 19 July 1328, we find: Memorandum quod xiij Kalendas Augusti Venerablilis Pater et Dominus Johnannes, etc, ad instanciam et requisitionem Domini Stephani de Haccombe milites, dedicavit Ecclesiam Parochialem de Haccombe ac duo Altaria de eadem, nec non Cimeterium, ejusdem, etc. The reference to two altars is very interesting, for Powell suggests that ‘the space at the end of the north aisle beyond the first arch may have been a chantry, and divided from the nave by a wood Gothic screen. It [the church] had long been disused and at the time of my visit (11 Nov 1811) was fitting up.’ This conclusion is highly probable.

“Built by Sir Stephen de Haccombe about the middle of the 13th century; enlarged and beautified by his grandson in 1328, Haccombe remains today one of the smallest, but most beautiful Early English churches in the diocese. The nave and chancel (together about 56’ x 16’) are separated from the aisle (50’ x 10’) by four painted, unusually thick, red sandstone arches, supported by short octagonal columns without plinths. The typical Early English Pointed Caps of Beer stone are impressive in their massive simplicity.”

The church contains a number of tombs. W.G. Hoskins says the brasses and effigies are among the best in Devon.[4] There is also an unusual mailed arm projecting from the wall, which may once have held a lamp.


  1. 13 Oct. Between Stephen de Haccombe, claimant, and John de Chuddeleghe, deforciant, as to the manors of Haccombe, Redemore (Ringmore) and West Clifford, except the advowson of the church of Haccombe, and the manor of Penpol (Quethiock), except the advowson of the same. Reversion to Cecilia, daughter of Jordan de Haccombe.

It was John de Chuddeleghe who took Margaret`s place in the lawsuit of 1324 concerning East Antony and the Antony Passage. He may be related to her.


Stephen died late in 1330.

A deed of John de la Bury, Attorney of Hugh Dounfrevyle, dated at Exeter, Tuesday after the Feast of St John the Baptist 1330, acknowledges the receipt of 25s from Sir John de Ercedekne, Stephen`s grandson-in-law. It was the repayment of a debt by the executors of Sir Stephen de Haccombe, who died in Come-in-Tynhede. Combeinteignhead is a neighbouring parish, now combined with Haccombe.


We know a great deal about Stephen de Haccombe`s activities, but little about his personality. That does not stop A.W. Searley from exercising his imagination:

“We can yet see the stalwart, massive figure; the stern, serious face, clean-shaven except for the moustache, like that of his grandfather. We can see the hard features relax into an illuminating smile at the sight of his little granddaughter Cecily, for whom he always carried much care and affection. We can yet see him striding through the woods at Haccombe, as resplendent in shining armour, heading a group of retainers down to the ancient ford at Hackney, when setting out on his numerous journeys… A fine example of that numerous class who unselfishly devote their lives rather to the welfare of their county than to their own personal advancement. Feared, respected and loved in his lifetime, his works live after him.”

Searley notes that there is no monument to Stephen in the church he renovated. He comments: “Sir John Lercedekne, finding so much money alienated from his wife to the Church, may have looked on the whole transaction with a wry face, and somewhat naturally considered the Archpresbytery was in itself a sufficient memorial. He had nine sons and did not call any of them Stephen or Jordan.”

Somewhat belatedly, Margaret de Haccombe was granted letters of administration by Bishop Grandisson on 22 Jan 1333. The document was signed in Chuddelegh.

Stephen`s wish to endow a chantry was not fulfilled in his lifetime. In 1341, Sir John Lercedekne, husband of Stephen`s granddaughter Cecily, made good that intention.

In reference to the ” Haccombe Archpresbytery,” an article published in the Parish Magazine, taken from the notes of the Rev. W. Willimott, a former Vicar of this parish, states as follows :
” The foundation deed of the Archpresbytery sets forth that Sir Stephen Haccombe had proposed to make the endowment, but was prevented by death ; that Sir John Lercedekne, Knight, the heir to his property, had fully entered into his views and wishes, and with the concurrence and approbation of Bishop Grandison, had erected an establishment here for six priests, the superior of whom was to be denominated the Archpriest. and endowed it with the tithes of Haccombe and of S. Hugh de Quedyocke, or Quethiock, in Cornwall, the patronage of which Sir Stephen had acquired previously to his death. These six clergymen were indeed Chantry Priests — they were daily to sing the canonical Hours in choir and two Masses, the first of the office of the day, the second in honour of the Blessed Virgin.”

The foundation deed of the Archpresbytery laid out the duties of the six chantry priests and a list of the people they were to pray for. These included Margaret, the relict of Sir Stephen Haccombe. She, like all the others on this list, was then living. Other provisions were made for masses for the repose of the souls of departed family members, beginning with the founder, Sir Stephen de Haccombe, Knt.

Another name on the list of those to be prayed for was Robert de Pyl, clerk. He was the Rector of Torbrian, whose was a party to the dispute with the Haccombes over the manor of East Antony and the Antony Passage. This strengthens the belief that he may be a family member. It has sometimes been claimed that a grave slab with a cross in Haccombe Church marks his tomb. But there seems no good reason why he should be buried there. He was not Haccombe`s rector.

Today, Haccombe is the only church in the country to have an Archpriest. It is somewhat equivalent to a Rural Dean.


We do not know when Margaret died. But she is thought to be buried in the church at Haccombe.

“Beneath an arch, under a window in the chantry or north aisle, is a female recumbent figure in wimple and long flowing dress, holding in her hand a shield, on which are the Haccombe arms.” [5] Her pillowed head is supported on two mutilated censing angels. Her hair is hidden by a veil. A gorget covers her throat. Her long flowing mantle is gathered up under her arm. A tight-sleeved garment shows under this. Pointed shoes rest on a dog. The hard red sandstone is coloured with distemper.

It is generally accepted that this is Margaret.



[1] A. W. Searley, “Haccombe, Part I, (1086-1330)”,  Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1918. Information on Stephen Haccombe is mostly derived from this.
[2] Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description  of the County of Devon,(1791), p.48.
[3] Calendar of Patent Rolls.
[4] W. G. Hoskins, Devon.
[5] George Oliver, Ecclesiastical antiquities in Devon. Photograph: www.churchmonumentssociety.org







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