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)
SIR ROBERT CRUWYS (24)
ROBERT CRUWYS was the son of the first Sir Alexander Cruwys, lord of the manor of Cruwys Morchard. At the time of his father’s death, he was the eldest son, although, since his grandfather’s name was Richard, there may have been an older brother of that name who died before he could succeed as lord of the manor.
Robert was born in the first half of the 13th century.
Henry III succeeded to the throne in 1216 as a boy of nine. He ruled until 1272, and it is likely that Robert’s whole life was lived under his reign. England was at first peaceful and prosperous. Rebel barons were subdued and lawless mercenaries overcome.
We have no information about Robert’s career, but we do know that, like his father, he was knighted.
When Henry III gained his majority, in the 1220s he signed a revised version of the Magna Carta. Arts and agriculture flourished. But by the mid-century, Henry tried to take too much power to himself. He proved greedy and extravagant, and alienated his people by appointing foreigners to influential posts. He provoked the same opposition from the barons as his father, King John, had.
It was probably about 1242 that Robert’s father died and he succeeded to the manor of Cruwys Morchard.
We do not know when he married, or to whom. He had at least one son, whom he named Alexander, after his own father.
In the late 1250s, King Henry was forced by the threat of excommunication to introduce far-reaching changes to the way England was governed. He would rule on the advice of a privy council, which would control all administration, local and national. It split the barons. The conservatives, who opposed the changes, backed Henry. The radicals were led by his brother-in-law, the French Simon de Montfort. The 1260s saw the Barons’ War, in which Robert may possibly have fought.
Simon de Montfort was victorious and for a time ruled England as a military dictator. In 1264 and 1265 he summoned knights from the shires and burgesses from the towns to parliament. He was killed by Henry’s son Edward in the Battle of Evesham in 1265. King Henry, whom Simon had taken into the battle as his prisoner, was freed. We have no way of knowing what part, if any, Robert played in these turbulent times.
Sir William Pole lists ‘Robert Crewes, of Morchard Crewes, Kt’ among those ‘of best worth wthin this countye, having either dwellings of lands’ in the time of King Henry III (1216-1272).
We have very little information about Robert’s life. There are records which show that he owned the advowson (the right to appoint a priest to a parish) for the churches of Cruwys Morchard and East Anstey. East Anstey is on the edge of Exmoor, adjoining the Somerset border. The Episcopal Registers of Exeter say that:
1261-2 Robert de Crues was patron of Crues Morchard.
1263 Sir Robert de Crues, knt, presented to E. Anstey.
1262 is the date of installation of the first Rector of Cruwys Morchard whose name we know. Sir Robert de Crues presented Godfrey de Sowy, who had been clerk to the Exeter Moneyers in 1242. The church was then a wooden one. The first stone structure was not built until early in the next century.
Sir Robert died in 1269, three years before the elderly and senile King Henry.
 Margaret Cruwys, A Cruwys Morchard Notebook
 Encyclopædia Britannica, 1972 edn., Vol 11, pp.360-362.
 Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon,(1791)
 F.B. Prideaux, “Cruwys of Morchard and East Anstey”, Devon Notes and Queries.Vol.13, 1924-25, pp.134-137.
 R.B. Ogden, The Church of the Holy Cross, Cruwys Morchard: A Celebration.
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