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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



A History of the County of Somerset tells us about the succession of the manors of Rhode, Shearston and Melcombe in the parish of North Petherton south of Bridgwater. [1]

North Petherton lies between the eastern foothills of the Quantocks and the Somerset Levels.

North Somerset

In 1195 Simon son of Simon Brett was tenant of Shearston. It had probably passed to the Reigny family by 1253. John de Reigny held it in 1285, and before 1291 Joan de Reigny owned rents there. Shearston was held with Rhode manor until 1616.

The manor of Rhode seems to have been held of North Petherton manor in 1311-12, and its lords were described as free tenants of John Slade’s manor of North Petherton in 1770. Thomas de Reigny was lord c. 1256, and may have been succeeded by John de Reigny (fl. 1285-93). This suggests that Thomas de Reigny was the father, or possibly the grandfather, of John de Reigny.

The Somerset history goes on to tell us that the lands of John de Reigny of Melcombe were in John of Erleigh’s hands in 1293. Joan de Reigny of Melcombe, mentioned between 1291 and 1296, may have been succeeded by John de Reigny by 1312.

This appears to indicate that the older John de Reigny died in or before 1293 and his lands were then administered by his widow Joan. The younger John de Reigny who succeeded by 1312 is likely to be their son. We may conclude that the older John died while his son was still an infant and that the estates were managed by Joan until the boy reached his majority at 21.

This suggests that John senior died while still quite a young man.


A hall at Melcombe was repaired in 1293 and a court house was built there in the same year.
It is possible that this was John the elder’s work at the end of his life, or it may have been done by Joan after he died.


John  and Joan lived in the reign of Edward I (1272 – 1307). This was the climax of a period of prosperity. Farming was moving towards larger enclosed fields, allowing more productive use.

The local government of the country was being devolved to the knights of the shires, like Sir John.


[1] Information on the manors comes from: ‘North Petherton: Manors and other estates’, A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6: Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and neighbouring parishes) (1992), pp. 283-300. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=18686&strquery=reigny  .




Sampson Tree