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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)




JOHN AYSHFORD was the son and heir of John Ayshford of Ayshford in Burlescombe and Agnes Peverel of Sampford.[1]  He was born between 1220 and 1240, When his father died in 1241, John junior had not reached the age of majority, which was then 21.

After his father’s death, the estates he had inherited were managed for him by his mother. These included some land of the Peverels called Gosemore, between Ayshford and Sampford, which his mother had brought as her dowry.

When John reached the age of 21 his claim to the Gosemore estate was contested by his mother’s cousin Lord Hugh Peverel. Since John’s mother was an only child, the bulk of the Peverel lands had passed to Lord Hugh when John’s grandfather, Sir William Peverel, died. He claimed that the dowry land was entailed, and could therefore only be passed on to the male heir. A title or knighthood carried with it obligations to support the King with soldiers or money and an entail was a way of ensuring the heir had enough funds to do this. John’s defence of the case was successful. In an agreement dated 1262 he won the right to retain the Gosemore dowry land. The date suggests that he was very young when his father died and was born much nearer 1240 than 1220.


SAPIENCA’s name means “wisdom”. She was the niece of Thomas Le Boteler, Archdeacon of Totnes. She may be the daughter of John of Norfolk and her mother an heiress of the Cookworthy family.

She had a sister Matilda, and apparently no brothers, or none that survived to inherit.


The couple were married by 1269. In 1269/70 John and Sapienca joined with Matilda and her husband Michael Trenchard to grant lands in Alphington to William and John Trenchard. There was a proviso that, if there were no male heirs, the lands would pass to the heirs of Sapienca and Matilda. The Trenchard family appears in Devon around this time. They obtained a grant of land near present-day Lewtrenchard.


John and Sapienca had at least two sons and a daughter. The eldest, John, married Alice Walrond of Bradfield. He died childless before John senior. The daughter Juliana married a member of the Lamprey family, holders of the Fenacre estate. Her daughter, Juliana Lamprey, became Abbess of Canonsleigh in 1345. It was the younger son, Simon, who inherited the Ayshford estate. His parents secured for him a marriage to Sarah, daughter and heir of a close neighbour, William Botes.


In 1282 an agreement was made by the Ayshfords that a priest from Canonsleigh would do duty at Ayshford chapel in return for a fee paid to the priory. This is the earliest mention of the chapel. It still stands “a little forlorn” in a field next to Ayshford Court.

  Ayshford Chapel

John died around 1283.




[1] Source: F. & H. Ayshford, Notes Towards a History of the Ayshford Family of Devon. Typescript booklet.




Sampson Tree