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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)



THOMAS DE WAUMFORD. When Thomas’s father’s IPM was held in 1312, Thomas was aged 17. This puts his birth in 1294-5, in the reign of Edward I.

His father was “Richard de Waumford alias de Wamforde”. This later became Wampford.

His mother was Lucy, whose surname we are not told.

He was the eldest son, or the eldest surviving one. We know nothing of his siblings.

The Waumfords held land at Black Torrington in North Devon and Stratton in West Cornwall. Thomas is likely to have grown up in one of these, or divided his time between them.

By the time his father died, the unpopular king Edward II was on the throne.

Thomas inherited the manor of Efford in Stratton, the manor of Whiteleigh in Black Torrington, the hundred of Black Torrington (which meant oversight of 35 parishes) and a small piece of land in Halwill, next to Black Torrington. His father had held the principal estates jointly with Thomas’s mother, and tenure originally passed to her.

Heirs who were under age became wards of the king, who would pass this guardianship to one of his followers. Thomas’s guardian was his overlord in Devon, Emery le Zouche.[1]

“Dominus Emericus la Zouche held Black Torrington ‘ratione minoris etatis Thome filii et heredis Radulfi de Wanford in 1316.”

We know the name of Thomas’s mother and his daughter-in-law, but we are not told explicitly the name of his wife. She is almost certainly the Joan Aysshe mentioned in her son Nicholas’s IPM as having held land in Efforde for her lifetime, jointly with Nicholas’s wife. Since by this time, 1398, she was deceased, it is difficult to think who else this Joan may have been, other than Nicholas’s mother.


JOAN. We have not found her maiden name, or where she came from. We believe Aysshe to be the name of her second husband.

Their eldest son Nicholas was 16 when Thomas died, putting his birth date at 1317-18. Thomas and Joan probably married around the time he reached his majority, in 1315-16.

This was a disastrous time in Europe. There were massive crop failures for two years. The lack of food was exacerbated by a recent growth in population. Between 5 and 12% of the population of Northern Europe died of starvation or disease. Harvests returned to normal in 1317, but it was another five years before food supplies were fully replenished.

Clearly, Thomas, Joan and at least one son survived. The peasantry on their estates would have fared less well.

The 1326 IPM of William FitzMartin lists his fees pertaining to the Barony of Barnstaple. [2]They include the following, which may refer to the same Thomas de Waunford, though this is not certain, given the distance from Black Torrington:

Lockesbere (Loxbeare) 1 (Thomas de Waunford)


Thomas de Waunford  held this knight’s fee in Loxbeare as a tenant of the feudal baron William FitzMartin. Loxbeare is just NW of Tiverton.

1326 saw a different crisis. Edward II’s queen Isabella returned from France with her lover Roger Mortimer. They invaded England and deposed King Edward. He died in prison not long after.

The church of St Mary in Black Torrington is 15th and 16th century, since restored, but there is evidence of Norman origins, and the transept may be the remains of a 14th century structure. This would take us back to Thomas and Joan’s time, or soon after.

St Mary’s, Black Torrington[3]

Thomas did not live to see the Black Death of 1349. The writ for Thomas de Waunford’s Inquisition Post Mortem was issued on 21 Sep 1334, so Thomas must have died not long before.

In this IPM his lands in both Devon and Cornwall appear in the same inquisition.


Writ, 21 September, 8 Edward III. (1334)
DEVON. Inq. 10 October, 9 Edward III. (1335)
Efforde. The manor, held of the earl of Cornwall, by knight’s service.
Whiteleye in the manor of Blaketoryton. A carucate of land, together with the hundred of Blaketoryton, held of the heirs of Amaury (Almarici) la Zoush, minors and in the wardship of Alan de Cherleton and Helen his wife, tenure unspecified.
He held no other lands, &c. in the bailiwick.
Nicholas his son, aged 16 years, is his next heir.
C. Edw. III. File 41. (14.)


If her eldest son was only 16, then Thomas’s widow would still have been quite young. If we are right in our identification, then she remarried to a husband who surname was Aysshe.

She evidently held land in Efford and Whiteleigh for her lifetime, later sharing this with Nicholas’s wife. In regard to Efford, Nicholas’s IPM tells us:

“He was seised in his demesne as of fee of the under-mentioned manor and gave it by his charter to Richard Sergeaux, knight, William Freludek, late vicar of the church of Stratton, and William Penwonan, chaplain, to hold for the life of Joan Aysshe, now deceased, and Joan, wife of the said Nicholas, at a rent of 6d. yearly, and all the tenants attorned to them except Nicholas Bromford, who held a yard in Stratton called Crabbehaye by a rent of 1d. yearly. The said Richard, William and William granted all their estate in the manor to the said Joan and Joan and all the tenants attorned to them except the said Nicholas Bromford, so that the said Nicholas Waumford died seised of 7d. rent and the reversion of the manor.”

In 1378, Johanna de Wampford and Johanna de Esse (Aysshe) were granted a joint licence for chapels at Efford in Stratton and Whiteleigh in Black Torrington. A similar licence had been granted in 1328 to Nicholas de Wampford and Hugo Gros.[4]

Joan is thus recorded as alive in 1378 and deceased in 1398.

 The Parochial History of Cornwall tells us of the Thurlbere family of landed gentry.[5]

“One of those Thurleberes married the daughter and heir of Thomas de Waunford, Lord of Ebbingford, alias Efford in Bude Bay, and afterwards made it the place of their residence.”

It is not true that Thomas’s daughter was his heir. The author’s subsequent attempt to unravel the Waumford history has Nicholas not surviving beyond 1378. In fact, he died in 1398. One of Thomas and Joan’s daughters may indeed have married a Thurlbere, and received land as her marriage portion, but she was not his principal heir.


[1] Foundation for Medieval Genealogy. English Lords. https://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLISHNOBILITYMEDIEVAL3T-Z.htm
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudal_barony_of_Barnstaple
[3] www.leshaigh.co.uk. The Black Torrington Page.
[4] Ed. John S Amery, E Windeatt, Hugh R Watkins and R Pears Chope, Devon & Queries, Vol X!, No. 28, 1920-21.
[5][5] Davies Gilbert, The Parochial History of Cornwall. 1838.



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