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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)




PHILIP DENEBAUD.  Philip is the first of this family whom we can assume with some confidence to be an ancestor. He is said to be a close relation of Radulfus, Eudo and Robert Denebaud, recorded in the late 12th and early 13th century.

Eudo had a brother or nephew named Philip (Philippus) whose name becomes more prominent in the years after 1225 when he held title to lands in Somerset and Devon. He is also listed as pledging support for Robert in the Radulfus dispute. [1]

Radulfus Denebaud may thus have been Philip’s father or uncle.


Philip was probably a young man in 1215, when  rebellious English barons met King John and forced him to sign the Magna Carta. This document, among other things, tried to provide protection against tyranny from the king not just for the barons, but for some freemen as well. John signed to stave off impending rebellion and civil war.

King John died in 1216, and Henry III took the throne.


In 1220 the family were involved in a dispute over the property of Middleton in Somerset.[2] Robert Denebaud gave as his defence that he was not party to the agreement because he was in Scotland at the time. The most likely reason for Robert being in Scotland is that he was fighting there in the English army.

The Denebauds can also be found in Wales. The Victoria County history of Somerset tells us that Philip Denebaud possessed land in Portskewett in Monmouthshire. Portskewett lies 4 miles south of Chepstow, in Monmouthshire, where the modern Severn Rail Tunnel emerges in Wales. Porth-is-Coed means “the harbour below the wood”,


There is some discrepancy in family trees over whether the husband of Alice Gifford was Philip or John Denebaud. An early researcher into the family history writes about finding information in V. Watney’s Wallop Family.[3]

“I had enquired at Exmouth for this book, and was advised that it could be consulted at Exeter Library. There I was supplied with four folio volumes, beautifully bound in red leather, and paper that felt like vellum. We turned to page 267 and here is what we found:


Sir John Deneband; Lord of Porsceurt in Wales=Alice, daughter of John Gifford of Hinton

St. George, Somerset

William Deneband = Alice.

Philip Deneband = Cicely, daughter of Simon Grindham of Grondynham.

William Deneband = Agnes.

Thomas Deneband = Jean, daughter of Robert de Brent = Elizabeth Deneband

Sir Robert de Brent. d. 1351.

John Deneband = Florence, daughter of Richard Archdeacon. (See p. 6. Forencia Denbawde)

Sir William Paulet = Elizabeth Deneband.

Two things in particular are to be noticed. (a) That Sir John Deneband, lord of Porsceurt, must not be taken for a Welshman. The dates of this tree are not given except in the case of Robert de Brent, but I am ready to assume that Sir John was there at Porsceurt to keep the Celts within their own boundaries. Perhaps Porsceurt was a border castle or strongpoint.

(b) The family seems to be absorbed in the Paulet tribe, and the name to cease. It must be noted, however, that the tree is concerned with direct succession. There must have been other members of the family, not heirs, who established a posterity of Denbows. It is almost imperative that we accept Sir John as ancestor and primo-genitor.”


Margaret Denbow) writes: [4] “My father found that the name Denbow, in various spellings, goes way back to dim and distant times. A Sir John Denbaud was alive at Porsceurt (modern spelling – Portskewett) in south Wales in 1230. Maybe he was helping to keep the Welsh from raiding English property! “


I have as yet found no contemporary evidence for this early John Denebaud. There is, however, ample evidence for the 13th-century Philip. Both of them are said to be lords of Portskewett in South Wales. It is possible that John was Philip’s father. But this would not solve the problem of which of them married Alice Gifford.

A different pedigree, starting with Philip, husband of Alice Gifford, is given in the Victoria County History of Somerset. In the absence of clearer evidence for John, I have followed this.

In Collin’s Somersetshire, vol. I (p. 166) it is recorded that this Philip inherited property at Henton [Hinton] St. George through his marriage to Alice, only daughter and heir of one John Giffard. [5]


ALICE GIFFORD. The manor of Hinton St George is now chiefly associated with the Paulets, but for generations before that it was owned by the Denebauds. They acquired it by the marriage of Philip Denebaud to Alice Gifford, daughter of John Gifford of Hinton St George. Alice herself had inherited it through her mother, an heiress of the Powtrell family, who brought it John Gifford at her own marriage.[6]

Hinton St George is a hilltop village 2½ miles north of Crewkerne in Somerset. It stands on a north-facing scarp. There are two historic buildings in the parish: Hinton House and the Priory, at the centre of the village.


We first hear about Philip Denebaud in a property dispute in 1225.[7]

Curia Regis Roll, 88, Michaelmas term, 9-10 Henry III. Somerset, year 1225.

“The court convened to decide if Philippus de Enebaud unjustly and without just cause dispossessed Gaufridum de Furnell of his freehold in Liboness’ Whatleg’  and in Monhell after his death, etc. and Phillipus through his attorney came and said that the court ought not to sit on this matter since the same Phillipus had recovered that land in the court of Earl Marescalli [Earl Marshal] through the judgment of that same court through a writ against the same Gaufridus, since the same Gaufridus had placed himself in the great court of his lord King and had not pursued his writ of peace; then he called the court to warrant.”

In 1226, the matter was settled as Galfridus gave half a mark for a license of agreement with Philip Denebaud for “half a measure of land (80-120 acres) with appurtenances in Libenhesse,” recognizing that the entire plot was by right that of Galfiidus, to be returned to him after payment to Philip of 12½  marks.

‘Liboness’ is probably Libnash, a hamlet in the parish of Chaffcombe. The other places named in this document have not been identified.


Assuming that it was Philip who married Alice, the marriage presumably took place before 1233, when the Denebauds are first recorded in the parish.

There were three sons, William, Matthew  and Hamon. There may have been a fourth son, Thomas.


The family fell into serious trouble. Philip was an adherent of the rebellious Richard Marshal, 3rd Earl of Pembroke. Marshal was the leader of the baronial party who opposed the foreign friends of King Henry III. Fearing treachery, he refused to visit Henry at Gloucester in August 1233, and the king declared him a traitor.

Philip Denebaud was implicated as a follower and his lands lands in “Henton St. George” and “Wudiat” confiscated by the sheriff. Wudiat is probably Woodyate.


The Victoria County History of Somerset says: [8]

“The king committed to Theobald de Engleskeville during his pleasure the land of Philip Denebaud. We learn that the grant was cancelled soon after in favour of Nicholas of St Bride’s.”

In March 1234, a truce was reached between the King and Earl Marshal. Philip was also returned to favour.

Close Rolls, 18 Henry III, year 1234.

For Philip Enebaud. “The king to Sheriff of Sumerset and Dorset sends his greeting. You should know that we have received into our favor Philip Enebaud, who was with R[ichard]. Earl Marescallo [Marshal] against us and we have returned his lands to him. Therefore we entrust to you to see to it that all the lands and feudal holdings which Philip himself possessed in your bailiwick on the day when the war began between us and that same Earl and from which time he was dispossessed on the occasion of the aforementioned war, that Philip have full possession.


The Victoria County History continues:

Philip Denebaud, who  also possessed property at Portskewet (Mons), near Chepstow, and who is said to have married Alice, daughter and heir of John Giffard, evidently recovered the estate [Hinton St George]. He gave half to his eldest son William on William’s marriage, and later to his third son Hamon. William died before his father and was succeeded by his son Philip, a minor, who apparently remained in occupation until at least 1303. Meanwhile, Hamon had died while returning from the Holy Land c.1282, leaving his son William as his heir. William Denebaud, probably the same man, occurs in 1303 as grantee of lands by Philip Denebaud, and by 1307 he was evidently the principal occupier in Hinton.”


St George’s church in Hinton St George is believed to have been built in the 13th century or earlier, though much of  the present building is 15th century. No doubt the Denebauds played a significant part in its construction. The masons’ marks on the stonework are identical with those on 13th century stonework in Wells Cathedral.


Philip died in or before 1246 and a series of court orders were issued to regulate the division of his estate between his wife, Alice, and his sons. One of the Inquisition documents provides the following record of the family and their properties at this time. It mentions a son Thomas, not otherwise known. The document later names two other brothers of William, but not Thomas.


Inquisition Post Mortem, 30 Henry III, year 1246.

“For Thomas the son of Philip Deneboud and his brother. It has been entrusted to the bailiff of Netherwent concerning land which belonged to Philip Deneboud in Portechiwet and which the same Philip Deneboud had given to his son Matthew and had restored him into the possession of this same land at the time when he had been able to give or sell the land to whomever he wished because the King has learned about this through an investigation which the king ordered to be made to see to it that as much ownership be given to him as heir as he had at the time when the King ordered it to be taken into royal possession on the occasion of Philip’s death; by the possessory right of Philip it should become the inheritance of William Deneboud the first born son of the aforementioned Philip.”

In the post mortem inquiry the following is added:

“William Denebaud was the elder son of Philip and according to his father’s wish he married a woman, to whom Philip gave half of his land to maintain himself and his wife, and from his wife he had 4 sons in his father’s home; later, William died before his father. But the aforementioned William had two brothers, Matthew and Hammo, the younger one. The wife of William has all the land which Philip gave to William. Also witnesses say that Philip, after William’s death, gave to Hamo his younger son, that half which formerly remained in his own possession, in consideration of his homage and service, on the feast day of St. Peter in Chains in the 24th year of the reign of King Henry. They also say that the elder son of the aforementioned William is 7 years old and is named Philip, wherefore the witnesses do not know who would be the closer heir.”



[1]. The Denbow Diaspora. Vol.11. No. 2. Dec 2004
[3] Quoted in The Denbow Diaspora. Vol.7. No.1. May 2000.
[4] The Denbow Diaspora. Vol.11. No.1.
[5] The Denbow Diaspora. Vol.11. No. 2
[6] Victoria County History of Somerset.
[7] The Denbow Diaspora. Vol.11. No. 2
[8] www.british-history.ac.uk




Sampson Tree