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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)



THOMAS WAUMFORD.  Thomas was the second of that name in an alternating sequence of Richard, Thomas, Richard, Thomas, Richard, Thomas Wampford (and variant spellings).

This was a Norman family, whom we first find in the North Devon parish of Black Torrington on the River Torridge.

In the 12th century, Thomas’s great-grandfather Richard was granted the lordship of the hundred of Black Torrington (a group of 35 parishes) and properties in the parish of Black Torrington, where they made their home. It is from one of these, Wampford, that they took their surname

Thomas’s father was another Richard, but we do not know his mother’s name.

He died in, or shortly before, 1307, leaving a son “aged 30 or more”. This would put his likely birth date around the middle of the 13th century, during the long reign of Henry III.

We do not know when his father died and Thomas inherited his estates.

An inquest in Black Torrington finds him holding the hundred of Black Torrington, as his forebears did, for 13s 4d (also known as a mark) per annum. Also, house and lands in Wyteleghe (Whiteleigh). Elsewhere we are told that this is in Black Torrington manor and is sometimes called Higher Whitefield.

This too had been in the family for generations. Before they took the surname Wampford, Thomas’s great-great-grandfather was known as Espus de Blacktoriton (Black Torrington). Higher Whitefield may be where he lived.

At his death, an inquisition at Stratton in Cornwall finds Thomas holding the hamlet of Efford. This is in Stratton parish of, but very close to Bude on the west Cornish coast. Efford Beacon stands on the western headland opposite Bude, at the mouth of the river Neet, or Strat, from which Stratton gets its name. The hamlet was a little further south.

This was held by a knight’s fee. This carried the obligation to do military service for the king for up to forty days a year.

Together with Ranulph de Albo Monasterio, Thomas had to provide an officer called a bedel to collect the king’s debts. These two were also responsible for clearing a space before the battlements of the king’s castle at Launceston in time of war.

This is the first time we hear of Efford being held by the Wampfords. It may have been brought to the family by Thomas’s wife, whose name we do not know. It is possible that she came from Cornwall.

But the absence of evidence of an earlier connection is not conclusive. It may have been mentioned in documents that have not survived, or have not yet been digitised.

Thomas’s son and daughter-in-law were later granted the manor of Efford, (“extent given”), but the service required was the same, so it is likely that Thomas held that same land.

We have evidence of two occasions when Thomas was called upon to perform military service.[1]

  1. Wauneford, Thomas de … returned from the County of Cornwall as holding lands or rents to the amount of £20 yearly value and upwards, either in capite or otherwise, and as such summoned under the general writ to perform Military Service in person, with horses and arms, &c, in parts beyond the seas – Muster at London, on Sunday next after the Octave of St John the Baptist 7 July 25 Edw I.

In Aug 1297, Edward I (Edward Longshanks) led an army to Flanders in what is now Belgium. Here, he joined in alliance with Guy, Count of Flanders against Philip IV of France.

Guy, two of his sons and his daughter Philippa been imprisoned, to prevent the marriage between Philippa and Edward’s son, Edward Prince of Wales. England had long been at war with France. The expedition was unpopular with the English, who deemed it unwise, in view of threats from Wales and Scotland, and unnecessarily expensive. Many nobles refused to serve.

Eventually, a truce was secured, and the English army left Flanders in March 1298.

Philippa was still in prison when she died.


In 1301, Thomas was again called to service.

  1. Waunteford, Thomas de … summoned from the County of Cornwall to perform Military Service in person against the Scots – Muster at Berwick-upon-Tweed on the Nativity of St John the Baptist 24 June – 29 Edw I.

Edward I was known as “The Hammer of the Scots”. Scotland was then a separate country, but Edward wanted to bring it under his control. He had already conquered Wales and incorporated it into his kingdom.

In July 1301, he launched his sixth campaign into Scotland, dividing his army between his son, Edward, Prince of Wales, and himself. The Scots avoided a full-on battle, but inflicted damaging attacks on the English. In Jan 1302, Edward agreed to a nine-month truce.

It was about this time that the charismatic Scottish leader Robert the Bruce, switched his allegiance to Edward, perhaps because he was tired of sacrificing so many men in support of the exiled Scottish king John Balliol, and perhaps because he stood to lose everything if Edward was victorious.

Robert the Bruce and Edward I [2]

Most of the documents we have about our medieval ancestors concern property, so it is good to have information about other aspects of their lives.

Thomas’s Inquisitions Post Mortem were held in 1307, so he must have died shortly before that.


Writ, 8 April, 35 Edw. I.
DEVON. Extent made at Blaketoriton on the feast of the Ascension, 35 Edw. I.
Wyteleghe. A messuage, 16a. arable and 10a. pasture, held of Emery (Almarico) la Zouche by service of rendering 10s. yearly and suit at his court of Blaketoriton every month.
Blaketoriton. The hundred held of the same by service of rendering 13s. 4d. yearly.
Richard his son, aged 30 and more, is his next heir.
CORNWALL. Extent made at Stratton, 6 May, 35 Edw. I.
Efford. The hamlet (extent given) held of the king in chief by service of a knight’s fee, and by service of finding a bedel in the hundred of Stratton to levy the king’s debts, together with Ranulph de Albo Monasterio his co-parcener; and by service of clearing, likewise with the aforesaid Ranulph, a space in front of a certain battlement (tergendi unam placeam coram quodam kernello) of the king’s castle of Launceveton when there is war in the county.
Heir as above.
C. Edw. I. File 125. (13.)




[1] Palgrave, Francis, ed., The Parliamentary Writs and Writs of Military Summons, Vol.1, House of Commons, 1827.
[2] The Collector: The First Scottish War of Independence.



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