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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



LORD JOHN DE GREY is believed to have been born around 1268, shortly before the end of the reign of Henry III. He was the only son and heir of Reginald/Reynold de Grey and Maud Fitzhugh de Longchamp. [1]

His father was a wealthy and influential Marcher Lord, Baron of Wilton in Monmouthshire and Ruthin in Denbighshire.  He was a military commander under Edward I and served as governor of various castles.

John’s mother was an heiress who had brought Wilton Castle to the Grey family. It was probably here that John grew up.

He may have had a sister Hawise.



MAUD DE VERDUN was the daughter of John de Verdun and Eleanor de Bohun. She was probably born in the 1260s.

Her father was the son of Theobald le Botiller and the great Verdun heiress Roesia. He took his mother’s maiden name, which she retained throughout her marriage, and passed it on to Maud.

Her father served as Lord High Constable of Ireland.

She had a brother Humphrey and a sister Rose.

She is thought to have spent her early life at Alton Castle in Staffordshire. It was the traditional home of the Verduns, standing on a rocky precipice overlooking the River Churnet.


John and Maud were married before 1275, probably in the early years of the reign of Edward I, Henry III’s son.

They had at least five children: Maud, Iseult, Henry, Alice, Roger.


John evidently maintained a close relationship with his father. Their names are coupled together in a number of documents.

1278 Jan. 6. Tower of London.
Pardon to Reginald de Grey of 300 marks, wherein he was fined for taking a stag in the forest of Essex, and acquittance thereof to him and his mainpernors.

Grant to John son of Reginald de Grey, Nicholas de Grey, Adam de Verdoun, William de Lalers, Hamo de Lalers, Jordan Finche and Geoffrey Fynche, who were at the taking of the said stag with Reginald de Grey (whose fine of 300 marks has been remitted), and who were indicted therefor before the justices for the forest last in eyre in the county of Essex, that they shall not be impleaded for this cause hereafter.

[An eyre was a circuit travelled by a justice holding courts at several places.]

Jan. 8. Tower of London.
Pardon to Reginald de Grey, John his son, and the other persons mentioned above for taking a stag and other deer in the forest of Essex, whereof they were indicted before the justice in eyre for pleas of the forest in that county.

The end of the 13th century was the heyday for enclosed parks to provide animals, such a deer, for food. They were sometimes known as “forests”, though they were  not necessarily wooded.

In 1285 Maud’s brother, Humphrey de Verdun, Rector of Alveton in Staffordshire, died. Since he had no children, Maud and her sister Rose were his heirs

The following year, John and his father were again in trouble for illegally taking deer.

  1. Feb 26.. Pardon to Reginald de Grey and John de Grey and their households, of Westminster, of their trespasses in taking deer in the forests or parks of the counties of Nottingham, Northampton, Huntingdon and Rutland during the late troubles in England. Mandate in pursuance to the justices of the forest in the next eyre in the said counties.
  2. March 20. Grant to John de Grey, to the use of one of his daughters of the marriage of the son and heir of John de Sancto Petro. [John also granted custody of the lands of Urian de Sancto Petro during the minority of the heir.]

When a child from a wealthy family was left orphaned, he or she became a ward of the king. The right to give them in marriage could be a profitable perk, which the king might grant to a favourite courtier. A suitor, or parents with a marriageable child, would pay a substantial backhander to secure the ward’s fortune for their family.

Two years later, John was commissioned to lead troops from Wales north to fight the Scots.
1297, Dec 7. Westminster. Commission to John de Blakeburn, keeper of the lands of Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, of Ros and Rowynok, to array 300 Welsh foot and deliver them to Griffin ap Tuder, Kenwrick Ses and Kenewerduy de Weper, to bring to Durham or Newcastle on Tyne by a fortnight after Hilary at latest, to march thence against the Scots.

The like to John de Grey and Richard de Mascy, to array 300 Welsh foot in the lands of Maylorsexneth, Hope and Englefeld, and in the land of Robert de Monte Alto of the valley of Mold and to deliver them as above.

Letters of credence, directed to the Welsh of Maylorsexneth, Hope and Inglefeld and the valley of Mold, for John de Grey and Richard de Mascy.

This brought him to the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, when Edward inflicted a crushing defeat on William Wallace.

This service later resulted in the reduction of a fine on his father.
1307 Pardon to Reginald de Grey, in consideration of the service in the last war of Scotland of John his son, of 151l. 19s. 6d. out of 301l. 19s. 6d., wherein he is bound at the Exchequer, and grant that he and his heirs pay the remaining 200l. (sic) at the rate of 10l. a year.

The victory was not conclusive. Edward’s troops were back in Scotland in 1301. This time, both John and his father accompanied the king’s son

1301, July 22. Sir Reginald de Grey, John de Grey his banneret, 3 knights and 23 horsemen in the retinue of Edward, prince of Wales in Scotland.

A banneret was a knight who led his troops under his own banner.

In July 1307, Edward I died, and Edward, Prince of Wales, became King Edward II.

The following year, on 5 April 1308, John’s father died, leaving John as heir to his considerable estates and titles at the age of 40.

1308, May 4. Westminster. Mandate to Richard le Jouene to deliver the castle of Ruffyn [Ruthin], the custody of which had been committed to him, during pleasure, to John de Grey, son and heir of Reginald de Grey, deceased, tenant in chief, the king having granted to Walter de Gloucester, escheator on this side Trent, power to receive fealty from the heir.

John was now Baron of Wilton, near Ross on Wye, and of Ruthin, in the Vale of Clwyd.

As a baron, he was summoned to Parliament by writ from 1308-1322.

Reconstruction of Ruthin Castle [2]

In1308, in view of his newly acquired estates, John, 2nd Lord Grey of Wilton, Herefordshire, settled property in Essex and Buckinghamshire his son Roger.

The following year, he was commissioned to enquire into the possible abuse of liberties by the Welshmen in the area of the Welsh Marches.
1309, Aug 4. Stamford. Commission to John de Grey and Robert de Bures to enquire touching the liberties and customs granted to the Welshmen of Hope and Hopedale by the late king after the war of Madoc Apthlewelyn, and whether they have usurped any contrary to that grant, and have appropriated and assarted a great part of the king’s wastes and woods there.

Further north, at his castle of Ruthin in Denbighshire, John founded a collegiate church in 1310.1310, John, together with his son Roger, founded a collegiate church at Ruthin in Denbighshire. This was the chapel of St Peter and was to serve the inhabitants of the recently created borough of Ruthin. The church was staffed by a community of seven priests. They were to say prayers for his family. The terms were:
Ordination, by Hugh prior and convent of Caldwell and by John de Grey, lord of Dyffryn Clwyd, and Roger his son, of a chantry in the chapel of the said John in his manor of Thurleigh, for the souls of the said John, Matilda his wife, John his grandfather, Reginald his father and Matilda his mother.  The chantry is to be served by a canon of the said priory or by another suitable chaplain.  The priory is to provide a missal, bread and wine, and candles; the said John and Roger are to maintain the chapel, vestments, altar cloths, chalice and other ornaments.  John and Roger are also to provide for the chaplain a chamber, where he can keep his harness while he is celebrating and where he may sleep if by reason of sudden infirmity or bad weather he needs to remain overnight, together with stabling and fodder for his horse.  The priory is bound by all its lands in its manors of Colesden and Bromham, and John and Roger are bound in the sum of 50 marks, to observe the terms of this ordination.

Ordination, by Hugh prior and convent of Caldwell, of a chantry at altar of St. Peter in conventual church of Caldwell, for the souls of Roger de Cauz. of John father of Reginald de Grey, of the said Reginald de Grey and Matilda his wife, and of John de Grey their son and Matilda his wife.  The chantry is to be served by a canon of the priory to by some other suitable chaplain, who is to celebrate mass on Wednesday of each week for the souls aforesaid.  The priory is bound in its manor called Hermeter in Milton Ernest to observe the terms of this ordination.

In those days, Maud and Matilda were used interchangeably.

In 1311, John settled 13 additional manors on his son Roger.

1311. Nov 18. Licence for John de Grey to grant to John Amory and William de Beneford the castle of Ruffyn with the cantred of Doffrincloit, together with the lands late of Wenthlian de Lacy, and the manor of Riston, co. Chester, … them to regrant … remainders over to his son Roger.

  1. John was back in Scotland at the battle of Bannockburn, where King Edward II lost the battle to Robert Bruce. As the English attacked across the brook, Robert counter-attacked along a 2000-yard front. Edward attempted to flank the Scot’s left with archers, but they were driven back the Scots cavalry. The English front broke against the Scottish spearmen. It was the largest loss of English knights in a single day.

Back home, John’s responsibilities now included that of Justice of North Wales.

1316, Feb 11. Mandate to John de Grey, justice of North Wales, to permit the men of the town of Kaernarvan to buy corn … within the country of Angleseie and take them to Kaernarvan, provided they do the due customs.

1319, John settled the castle and lordship of Ruthin on his son Roger.

In 1320, Edward II  travelled to France to perform homage for his French lands in Gascony and Ponthieu to his overlord and brother-in-law, King Philip V. John de Grey accompanied him.

1320, June 9. Establishment of a chantry in the chapel at Thurleigh, for the souls of the said John, Matilda his wife, John his grandfather, Reginald his father and Matilda his mother.

In 1321 John son of Reginald de Grey gave lands in Papworth St. Agnes to find a chaplain to celebrate daily in his chapel in his manor of Hemingford Grey for the souls of Maud his mother and all faithful departed.

The same year John son of Reginald de Grey had his chapel and chaplain in his house at Hemingford Grey,

The Marcher Lords played a major part in keeping the Welsh under English control.

1322, Feb 14. Writ of aid for Lewelin ap Maddok to raise 400 footmen of the land of John de Grey of Diffrencloyt; mandate to the said John, or his bailiff, to deliver the said force

1322,Apr 9. John de Grey, lord of Diffryncloyt, to raise 200 footmen.

Also in 1322, John was with the King in Scotland.

1323Apr 12. John de Grey, lord of the land of Driffyn Cloyt, to raise 200 footmen.

1323, Oct 28. John de Grey of Ruthyn, holding lands in England and Wales, died

Richard de Grey of Codenore was licenced to take 20 does in the woods for the burying of the body of the said John, as well as to take fish in the stews and fisheries of the said John for the said occasion.


Our line continues through their daughter Maud, who married John de Moeles.

Other Grey descendants include Lady Jane Grey, who was named by the boy king Edward VI as his Protestant successor, but who was heavily defeated by his half-sister, the Catholic Mary Tudor, and executed.


[1] Documentary evidence is from http://www.teachergenealogist007.com/2011/07/g24-11820096.html
[2] https://castlestudiestrust.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Ruthin-Castle-reconstruction-resized-825×510.jpg





Sampson Tree