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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



ROGER LE ROUS was the son and heir of Henry le Rous of Harescombe, south of Gloucester. He is thought to have been born around 1237, in the reign of Henry III.

His mother’s name is not recorded.

He probably had siblings, but we do not know their names of number.

Roger is the earliest of the Rous family whose wife’s name we know.


ALIANORE (ELEANOR) DE AVENBURY. Avenbury is in Herefordshire, just south of Bromyard on the River Frome and 11 miles NE of Hereford. The village has since disappeared, leaving only farms and the church, which is now in private hands.

A number of online trees leave her parentage blank. A few have her father as Walter or Henry de Avenbury. The Family Search tree gives her father as Osbert de Avenbury, son of Sir Walter Henry de Avenbury. Osbert de Avenbury was presenting priests to the church at Avenbury in the 1270s. In 1297, Alianore was patron of the church in Avenbury, so it would seem very likely that Osbert is her father.

Another possibility is that Osbert was her brother, who died without issue. Otherwise, Alianore appears to have had no brothers, or none that survived their father, making her, and possibly a sister, heir to the Avenbury estates.

Her birth date is sometimes given as 1241.


The couple are thought to have married in 1263.

We know of five children: Isolde, John, Ralph, Alianore and Roger. Roger junior became a priest.

Edward I came to the throne in 1272. Under his reign, Roger le Rous seems to have been  of considerable influence and activity.[1]

On one occasion, he did fall out of favour. He held from the king the manor of Berton Regis, outside Gloucester, and three virgates of land in Brockthrop (Brookthorpe), also south of Gloucester. A virgate was about 30 acres. But the king ousted him from these and compelled him to redeem the lands by payment of 50 marks down and half a mark annually.

Nevertheless, he was in sufficiently high esteem to become Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1278. This was a one-year appointment. The Sheriff was responsible to the King for the maintenance of law and order in the shire. He was also charged with collecting and returning taxes to the Crown.

Gloucester Castle[2]

In 1281, there was a dispute between Roger le Rus and Eleanor (Alianore) his wife, on the one hand, and Roger de Avenbury on the other. It concerned a messuage and 2 carucates of land in Hagurnel Mundefeld, which Roger and Eleanor were claiming was theirs. [3]

Munderfield Row and Munderfield Stocks lie south of Avenbury in Herefordshire. A messuage was a dwelling house with land. A carucate was the amount of land a team of eight oxen could plough each year. It was about 120 acres.

Roger de Avenbury acknowledged that the tenement was the right of Roger le Rus. For this, Roger le Rus and Eleanor granted it to Roger de Avenbury to hold for his lifetime for a yearly rent of 8 pence at the feast of St Michael, and the payment of service to the chief lords. After his death, the tenement was to revert to Roger le Rus and Eleanor and their heirs.

It is likely that this is land that Alianore brought to her husband as her dowry.

In 1283, Roger was Knight of the Shire for Gloucestershire, representing his county in Parliament. This was a year of particular importance.

In those days, Parliament met at different locations around the country, at the king’s convenience. It convened at Shrewsbury on 30 Sep 1283. Among its measures was the sentence of execution on Prince Dafydd. He was the last native Prince of Wales before its conquest by Edward I, until Owain Glyndwr in the 15th century

But a far-reaching innovation was when the Parliament moved a few miles south to Acton Burnell. Here, the knights of the shire decided to meet with the town burgesses, separately from the aristocracy. This was the forerunner of the division between the House of Lords and the Commons.

In 1285 we find him as Commissioner of an Inquisition

In 1287, Roger le Rous settled the manor of Eastington on his daughter Isolde and her husband Walter de Balun. This included “demesnes, homages, advowsons of churches, rents, services of free men, villeinages with the villeins holding them and their families, wards, reliefs, escheats, woods, meadows, pastures, waters, ponds, mills, and all else.”

Eastington is 9 miles south of Gloucester. It shows the extent of Roger’s estates.

His wealth is further demonstrated in 1291 when another daughter, Alianore, married Herbert FitzJohn. The wedding took place at Harescombe in the church porch, as was the custom then. During the ceremony, Herbert FitzJohn endowed his bride with the third part of the manors of Barnesley, in the county of Gloucester, and of Crookham, Berks, together with the third part of the castle of Blenleveney, with the honour of the castle of Builth Dinas, Talkard, Llangellan, Cathedyn and La Mare in Wales. For her part, Alianore brought him £300, a large sum at that time.


In the latter part of his life we find Roger more associated with Herefordshire than Gloucestershire.

In 1290, he was Knight of the Shire for Hereford, and Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1293-4.

When he witnessed a law suit in 1290 he was known as Sir Roger le Rous of Allensmore, which is in Herefordshire.

In other years, we find Roger presiding over court cases as a justice together with the Sheriff of Hereford.

He was appointed one of the assessors for the subsidy (tax) for Herefordshire, and also performed military service due from Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex.

It seems as though, in their later years, Roger and Alianore may have moved from Harescombe in Gloucestershire to Allensmore in Herefordshire as their main residence.

As a feudal lord of the manor, Roger’s tenants owed him service in return for their cottages and a small plot of land.

When a tenant died, his heir had to pay the lord a ‘heriot’, usually a live animal, often the best beast. In the case of one of Roger’s tenants, it was a payment of 18s.

The conditions of his tenants would have been similar to those of the Abbot of Gloucester around the same time. Money had to be paid to his lord for brewing ale, and for selling a horse. He could not give his daughter in marriage without the lord’s permission. He had to mow the lord’s meadow for eight days at least at 2d a day, and help with the haymaking for twelve days, or more if required, at ½d a day. At harvest he must reap the lord’s corn for five days in the week with two men.


Sir Roger le Rous died before 31 Aug 1294, aged 52-61. On that day, a writ diem clausit extremum was issued. This was to establish what lands Roger held when he died.

Among his estates were Harescombe manor, 3 virgates of land at Brokethrop, belonging to Berton of Gloucester, and 1 virgate of land at Duntesborne (held of Philip de Mattesdon by one penny for all services). The latter was subsequently known as Duntesborne Rous or Militis, to distinguish it from that belonging to the Abbey of Gloucester, known as Duntesborne Abbots. It lies 4 miles NW of Cirencester.

He also held Allensmore in Herefordshire, for half a fee. This manor took its name from Roger’s great-grandfather Alan Fitz Mayn.


Alianore survived her husband by at least 19 years.

Eleanora (Alianore) who was the wife of Roger le Rous was returned to the Rolls of Parliament as holding land in Herefordshire exceeding twenty pounds in annual value in connection with “service beyond the seas”. We do not know what this service was. It may relate to Roger’s military duties.

In 1313 she was patron of the church in Avenbury and presented Roger le Rous to that benefice. This Roger may be her son who had become a priest.

She died in or after 1313, probably aged around 72.


[1][1] Much of the information on Roger le Rous comes from Rev. John Melland Hall, “Harescombe:
Fragments of Parochial History”, Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 1885.
[2] The Bristol and Avon Archaeological Society: The Re-discovery of Gloucester Castle.
[3] National Archives: CP 25/1/81/18, number 46.




Sampson Tree