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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


FITZPAYNE is a Norman surname. ‘Fitz’ means ‘son of’. Surnames of this type often originated with a bastard son.

In the twelfth century the Fitzpaines were an enterprising family who acquired great landholdings in the South West, particularly in Devon, Somerset and Dorset. Some places still carry the family name, such as Cheriton Fitzpaine. The family held the manor of Witheridge and Robert Fitzpaine was granted a charter to hold a midsummer fair for the village in 1248. This Robert was the son of Roger, who died shortly before 1237. There followed a succession of Roberts and it is difficult to distinguish their individual dates, but in 1299 the family was raised to the peerage and became the Lords Fitzpaine. Shortly after this they acquired the lands and properties, which had belonged to the de Courci family of Stoke Courci (now Stogursey) in Somerset. This land included the nearby manor of Cannington, where, in 1138, Robert de Courci had founded a small nunnery, Cannington Priory, and endowed it with 3 acres of arable land and 3 acres of meadow.


MARGERY FITZPAYNE was the wife of Roger Fitzpayne, who was lord of the manor of Witheridge in the early 13th century.

The Rev’d J.A.S. Castlehow, a keen local historian, compiled a list of the incumbents of Witheridge Church and their patrons.[1]

In 1255, by then widowed, Margery was patron of the living of Witheridge Church. Her choice, Robert Terry, was in dispute with Robert de Crues, lord of Cruwys Morchard. Later that century, Margery’s granddaughter or great-granddaughter, Matilda Fitzpayne, married Sir Robert Cruwys, the grandson of this Robert de Crues.

1255: (1) Occurs Robert Terry  Patron – Margery la Payne. In 1256 Robert Terry seeks to gain possession of one furlong of land in Parkarigg as frankalmoign of his church of Wytherigg, (2) against Robert de Crues. He fails to get the land but received one pound of wax at Michaelmas. In the Assize Roll of 1238 a witness concerning the lordship of the Hundred is Robert, son of Terry, who had been a seneschal of Roger, son of Pain, who died just before 14 October 1237.

1269: Occurs Robert of Totton who brought again the action against Robert de Crues. He also failed to get possession of the land, but recovered 10 marks of arrears.

1282: 2nd November, Thomas de Gorges, to whom Bp Quivil gave the custody of the church. Patron – Sir Robert Fitzpayne. He was also Precentor of Wells.

 1317: Sir Wm De Wengrave institute in commedam. Patron – Sir Robert Fitzpayne. Through the neglect of the church and the rectorial buildings and the benefice generally had suffered great injury.

 In 1248 King Edward I granted to Robert Fitzpaine, lord of the manor, the right to hold a weekly market on Wednesdays and a yearly fair ‘on the vigil, feast and morrow of St John the Baptist.’ In 1274 this was confirmed, together with the right of free warren, right of gallow and assize of bread and ale.[2]

Robert Fitzpaine was the son and heir of Roger and Margery Fitzpayne.


[1] Peter and Freda Tout and John Usmar, The Book of Witheridge: A Parish Through the Centuries, (Halsgrove, 2003), p.13.
[2] Tout and Usmar, p.17.




Sampson Tree