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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)



GRIMBALD PAUNCEFOOT. There are two schools of thought about Grimbald’s parentage. A number of online family trees have him as the son of Geoffrey (or Godfrey) Pauncefoot and Sybil de Canteloupe.

Perhaps more reliably, the history of the manor of Hasfield in Gloucestershire, owned by generations of Pauncefoots, names him as the son and successor of Richard Pauncefoot, who was lord of the manor in 1221 and who died in 1249.[1] This descent is supported by the rather less reliable Baronetage of England.[2]

There is general agreement on this side that Richard’s wife, and Grimbald’s mother, was Isabel. What is less certain is her surname and how often she married.

If he was Geoffrey’s son, then he may have had a brother Lemuel.


SYBIL de TURBERVILLE was the daughter of Hugh de Turberville . We do not know her mother’s name.

Around 1121 an early Turberville built a motte and bailey castle at Crickhowell. Sybil brought it to the Pauncefoot family on her marriage to Grimbald  around 1270. Grimbald refortified in stone, adding several substantial towers and a bailey. He granted it to his father-in-law Hugh de Turberville and his wife for life. [3]

As well as Crickhowell Castle, she brought the manor of Gwernvale as part of her wedding dowry.[4]


The couple had at least two sons: Grimbald junior, who outlived his father but died without progeny, and Emerick (Aumary) who inherited the Pauncefoot states


The Pauncefoots and the Turbervilles served under the Marcher Lords. These were Norman nobles, on the border between England and Wales. They kept down the indigenous Welsh, sometimes with great cruelty, though there was also intermarriage

 The second Barons’ War of 1264-7 was fought between a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort and royalist forces loyal to Henry III, led first by the king himself, and later by his son, the future Edward I. Grimbald Pauncefote played a leading part in the defence of Gloucestershire against Prince Edward in 1264. He was later an important figure in military affairs in Wales and the Marches.

There is an interesting story about the siege of Gloucester by Prince Edward.

“One section of the town wall was left undefended, and it was here that the attackers, headed by John Giffard, broke through. Grimbald Pauncefoot, who had earlier besieged Edward in Gloucester castle, now found the position reversed. The garrison were forced to surrender, and Grimbald was most favourably treated, being knighted by Edward, and joining his forces. Edward was very ready to recognize the courage and ability of his opponents, and was often ready to welcome those who were prepared to change sides.” [5]

When Edward became he appointed Pauncefoot the Keeper of the Forest of Dean and constable of St.Briavel’s castle.


A tourist information board in Crickhowell bears the following startling information.



There is a very entertaining account of one intrigued woman’s search for the truth behind this story. [6]

Sir Grimbald married an heiress in the church of Much Cowarne, Herefordshire. There is still to be seen an effigy of the Pauncefote, who sailed with Prince Edward to Tunis in 1270, and was taken prisoner by the Saracens, and whose wife is supposed to have obtained his release by sending her right hand as a ransom to the infidels. This incident gave rise to the legend of the ‘couped hand’, which is still implicitly believed at Much Cowarne.

The Pauncefotes possessed their characteristic motto, ‘Pensez forte’

This would have been the Eighth Crusade of 1270, when Louis IX of France led an army against the city of Tunis. Louis died of dysentery soon after landing. The English fleet, led by Prince Edward, arrived the day before the crusaders left.

Cowarne is on the opposite side of Hereford from Crickhowell, but was another of the Pauncefoot estates.

 This bizarre story is also told about other women: Constantia de Lingaine, wife of Grimbald Pauncefote, grandfather of Sybil’s husband.

The second was our Lady Sybil. Her husband was captured by the Muslims during the crusades and there is a ‘Ballad of the Faire Ladye’ which gives in thirty-five verses, and great detail, how, when asked what ransom he could pay he replied ‘I have no lands or gold but I have a wife who would give her right hand for me.’ A palmer was sent to Lady Sybil and she agreed. Certainly her effigy in St Edmund’s is without hands.

 The third was Dorothy Ashfield, wife of a later Richard Pauncefote.

The stories may have arisen because the effigy of Lady Sybil in St Edmund’s, Crickhowell, lacks hands.

St Edmund’s churchwas built towards the end of the 13th century by Lady Sybil Pauncefoot. Its large dimensions reflect her wealth. The church is the only one in Wales dedicated to St Edmund. He was king of East Anglia until he was captured and killed by Danish invaders in 869AD. In pre-Norman times he was the patron saint of England.

Sybil’s stone effigy lies inside the church, in a recess in the north wall beyond the base of the tower.


Opposite is an effigy of her husband, Sir Grimbald Pauncefoot. It has been much mutilated over time.


 In the fourth year of the reign of Edward I [1276], Sir Grimbald obtained from the king the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair on the 12th of May, to be held at Crickhowell.

1285 the manor of Box, in Awre, Glos, was held by Grimbald Pauncefoot and John of the Box. [9] Grimbald, who was constable of St. Briavels and warden of the Forest, died in 1287 and his share was held by his widow Sibyl in 1300, passing to her son Emery Pauncefoot before 1309. It later reverted to John of the Box.

After Grimbald’s  death, Sybil married again. Her second husband was Llywelyn, younger son of Grufudd ap Gwenwynwyn. She brought him the lordship of Crickhowell. Llywelyn’s father was lord of part of Powys and supported Edward I in his conquest of Wales..Llewelyn was given a royal licence for a market and fair at Llanfylin as a reward for his own distinguished service to King Edward as a soldier and diplomat.


[1] British History Online, Hasfield. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol8/pp282-290
[2] William Bethem, The Baronetage of England, vol 5. https://books.google.co.uk
[3] http://www.castlewales.com/crickhwl.html
[4] http://historypoints.org/index.php?page=george-everest-s-former-home-crickhowell
[5] Edward I, Michael Prestwich, Yale University Press. https://books,google.co.uk.
[6] https://athomeinthehills.com/2016/01/19/lady-sybils-hand/
[7] https://athomeinthehillsdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/20160119_0938381.jpg?w=470
[8] https://athomeinthehillsdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/20160119_0938011.jpg?w=470
[9] https://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=ancestorsearch&id=I3096




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