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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



THOMAS HEREWARD. We can trace our Hereward line back to the 13th century.

There are two conflicting pedigrees for the Hereward family of North Devon. The more reliable seems to be that of Tim Sandberg, who used the archives of the Floyer family with whom the Herewards intermarried.[1]

He begins the Hereward family tree with ‘Sir Thomas Hereward m ?, of Dodescot, Devon’.

This accords with John Prince, in his The Worthies of Devon. He calls the Hereward family:
“an antient and knightly progeny, whose habitation was at Doddescot in the hamlet of St Giles in the parish of Great Torrington. Here lived Sir Thomas Hereward  in K. Hen 3d’s days [1216-1272]; Sir Hamlin in those of Edw 1st [1272-1307], then Sir William in the reign of K Edw 2d [1307-1327].”

Prince’s dates are not entirely accurate. Thomas’s son Hamlin was active long before 1272.


We have further confirmation of the existence of Thomas Hereward in the reign of Henry III. In property documents dated Michaelmas1225 and 1228  he is the seventh of twelve witnesses. The list is headed by William de Raalegh, then Sheriff of Devonshire.[2]

His role as witness offers us no personal information.

The dates suggest that he was born around 1200, in the reign of King John, or earlier in the reign of Richard I.


East Dodscott is now a hamlet in the parish of St Giles-in-the-Wood, 3 miles from Great Torrington in  North Devon. The Herewards lived at West Dodscott, which became the village of St Giles.

W.G. Hoskins notes that: ‘Dodscott (today) is a small hamlet about 1 mile NE of St Giles village, it was a small Domesday estate Dodecota of 1 virgate, held by Walter Borgoin. In 1066 it was held by Dodo or Dode, hence “Dode’s Cote”. Perhaps only cleared and settled about the middle of the 11th century…. Generally called “Dodscott & Moore”.
“Though St Giles as a place-name only came into existence early in the 14th century, it had existed before that date as a settlement – under the name of West Dodscott.[3]… it probably came into existence as land essarted or enclosed after the disafforestation of the county in 1205.
“Perhaps St Giles (formerly West Dodscott) was settled and cleared from East Dodscott early the 13c – hence its early name.”[4]

St Giles in the Wood [5]


There was no church there until 1309. It was probably built at the request of Thomas’s grandson William Hereward, who married Douce, sister of Walter Stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter.


The thirteenth century was a time when open fields in Devon, distributed in strips amongst the villagers in rotation, were giving way to individual ownership and more intense cultivation.


We do not know whom Thomas married, but we do have the name of a son, presumably his eldest and heir. Sir William Pole lists the landed gentry of Devon in the reign of Henry III.[6]

Thos Hereward, of Dodlescot. Kt
Hamelyn Hereward, of Romandleslegh, Kt, sonne of Thomas.

Romansleigh is a village 12 miles east of Dodscott.


Tim Sandberg’s tree also gives Thomas an elder son John, whose daughter Fina married William Floyer in Dodscott in 1311. John appears to have died without male issue, leaving Hamelin heir to Dodscott.


In 1216 the young King Henry III had signed a reissue of the Magna Carta imposed on his father King John. Throughout his reign he was forced by the barons to allow greater rights and representation to his subjects.


In 1242 Hamelin Hereward was paying a fee for Dodscott. We can assume that Thomas had died in or before that year.


Arms of Hereward: Geules, a cros croslet Argent


[1] Tim Sandberg’s Genealogy Database. www.world.onnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com
[2] www.a2a.org.uk. D1508M/Moger/417
[3] Reichel, Fremington Hundred, p.512.
[4] W.G. Hoskins. St Giles-in-the-Wood, Devon. (Handwritten notes in WSL).
[5] https://mapio.net/images-p/16530928.jpg
[6] Sir William Pole, Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon. 1791. https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Collections_Towards_a_Description_of_the.html?id=WF4OAAAAQAAJ




Sampson Tree