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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



JOHN PRODHOME was the son of William Prodhome, probably born in the second half of the 13th centuryWe do not know his mother’s name.

A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames With Special American Instances, by Charles Wareing Endall Bardsley, has a reference to John Prodhome of Devon in 1273. Bardsley says that at this time the ‘prudhommes’ or ‘wise folk’ were engaged in a struggle for supremacy with the common people which led to social upheavals in the 13th and 14th centuries.

John Prodhomme is said to have given his name to Pridamsleigh, a manor in the parish of Staverton, not far from Buckfastleigh. It is currently known best for Pridamsleigh Cavern. Since Richard Whiting heads the family tree ‘Prodhome of Pridamsleigh and Upton Pyne’ we can take it that this is the same family. [1] Nicholas Whitinge married Margaret Prudhome. Pridhamsleigh Farm stands alongside the modern A38 opposite Buckfast. It can be seen best from the lane which crosses the main road. It is a massive stone-built farmhouse, partly medieval. There is a Norman dovecote in the orchard, near the entrance to Pridhamsleigh Cavern.

In 1314 Bishop Stapeldon visited Staverton and noted that the church was in bad repair. He ordered the parishioners to build a new church. The present building dates from that time, and tradition has it that the villages built such a large church to spite the censorious Bishop. The yew tree survived the rebuilding , and is now over a thousand years old.[2]

It is not certain if these John Prodhomes are the same as William’s son. William flourished around 1274. The only date reference Whiting gives for William’s son John is 1323/4.

According to Whiting, John was vicar of Payhembury in 1323/4. Payhembury is the parish in which lay the manor of Upton Prodhome, under the Iron Age hill fort of Hembury. Whiting does not say whether this was the year of John’s induction to the living, or whether he had been vicar for some time before this. Since it is 50 years after the reference quoted by Bardsley, he must have been well on in years if these John Prodhomes are the same man. His brother Walter was rector of Bideford 1324-37. It may be they were William’s grandsons, rather than his sons. In either case, they must have come from a pious family that encouraged learning.

John’s grandfather, and presumably his father, held the manor of Upton Prodhome. John would therefore appear to have been a “squarson”, filling the roles of both squire and parson.

This was a troubled time, when Edward II was at war with his barons and soon after with his wife Queen Isabella.


We do not know the name of John’s wife.

There were two sons, Martin and John.

Martin Prudhoume appears as a witness to a grant concerning ‘land and appurtenances behind the church of the Blessed Mary between land which belonged to Richard Scollock and land belonging to the church of Blessed Mary’.[3] This is the church of St Mary Arches in Exeter. Martin appears to have travelled to Exeter for the transaction.

John junior married a sister of Walter de Stapeldon, the rich and powerful bishop of Exeter 1307-26. The bishop was murdered for his support of the king.


We do not know not the death date of either John or his wife.


[1] Richard Whiting. Whiting of Wood: A Mediaeval Landed Family, 1974 (MS in DRO)
[2] http://www.staverton.com/HISTORY/HISTORY.HTM
[3] www.a2a.org.uk: 312M/TY182




Sampson Tree