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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)



RICHARD de WAMPFORD. Sir William Pole gives us the following descent for the Wampfords: Richard, Espus, Richard, Thomas, Richard, Thomas, Nicholas, Joan.[1] There are, however, two missing generations, another Richard and Thomas. Without these, it is not possible to reconcile the dates of the documents we have.

This is the third Richard. He was the son of the first Thomas. His grandfather, another Richard, was the first to use the Wampford surname, having been granted the manor of Wampford in the North Devon parish of Kings Nympton. Pole says they made their home there, hence the name de Wampford, and its variant spellings.

We have a document of 1238 in which this younger Richard is a minor, and one of 1244 in which he appears to be an adult. Since the age of majority for men was 21, this puts his birth at 1217-1223, early in the reign of Henry III.

He was born into a landed family, and his father held the lordship of Black Torrington Hundred, a group of 35 North Devon parishes.

We do not know the name of his mother, or whether he had siblings.

He appears to have been between 15 and 20 when his father died, leaving Richard as his heir.

Heirs to property became wards of the king, who would grant the guardianship to one of his followers. Richard became the ward of Henry Beaumont.

A document of 1238 tells us that:

“Henry de Beaumont holds the hundred of Black Torrington, and was asked to show by what warrant (quo warranto). Henry answers that he holds the hundred with Richard de Wangford, who is in his wardship and proffers a charter of Juhel II de Mayenne, son of Geoffrey de Mayenne, by which he granted to Richard de Wangford son of Espus, ancestor of the Richard who is in Henry’s keeping, the out-hundred (uthundredum) of Black Torrington, to hold by 1m pa. Henry also proffers a charter of king John, confirming to Thomas son and heir of Richard Espus, and his own heirs, the said hundred to hold of the heirs of Juhel and Walter de Mayenne; Henry also proffers a charter of the said Walter de Mayenne granting the said hundred to Richard son of Espus and his heirs, to hold of Walter and his heirs by 1m pa. [2]

Richard son of Espus was the younger Richard’s grandfather.

Wangford is an alternative spelling of Wampford.

The outhundred consisted of the parishes outside the major borough of the hundred. Lordship of it included the duty of presiding over the hundred court. Richard held this under an overlord. This was originally one of the Mayenne (Mayne) family, but had since passed to the de la Zouche family.

The guardianship included the right to arrange the marriage of the heir. This could be a lucrative privilege. Some families were willing to pay money for their son or daughter to marry into a landed family.

Sadly, we do not know the name of Richard’s wife. This line is particularly short of names for wives and mothers.

The next time we hear of Richard, he is apparently an adult, with full rights over his estates.[3]

“Alan de la Zouche holds Black Torrington by sergeanty of performing all distraints for crown debts and all other distraints within the hundred of Black Torrington. And Richard de Wamford holds the hundred of Zouche by 1m pa.”

“Alan de la Zouche holds the manor of Black Torrington with the forinsec hundred in fee of the king by sergeanty of keeping the said hundred. Zouche demised the hundred to Richard de Wangford, who answers for 1m pa, and Richard demised the hundred to Henry de Tracy at farm, who answers for 7m pa. Henry put the hundred at farm to the current bailiff, who answers for 12m.”

Alan de la Zouche is Richard’s overlord.

In feudal society, “sergeanty” was a form of land tenure in return for service. Alan de la Zouche owed service to the king for the hundred of Black Torrington. He was required to enforce the payment of debts to the crown within the hundred.

Richard paid him 1 mark per annum for the hundred. A mark was two thirds of a pound, or 13s 4d.

“forinsec” was the service owed to a lord.

Richard then passed the hundred on to Henry de Tracy. To hold “at farm” was to lease.

Higher Whiteleigh today

As is usual with this lineage, we know of only one child, Thomas, his eldest son and heir. Thomas died in, or shortly before, 1305, leaving a son “aged 30 or more”. This would put his birth around the middle of the 13th century.

We do not know whether Richard lived long enough to see, and possibly take part in, the Barons War of 1264, but it is likely that he was still alive then.

There had been considerable resentment about the King Henry III’s reliance on his favourites. The barons engaged in a civil war to force him to rule with a council of barons. They were led by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester and the king’s brother-in-law. He was killed at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and two years later, the barons accepted Henry’s terms for surrender, allowing rebels to retain their lands.

We do not have a death date for Richard, or an IPM of the lands he held when he died.



[1] Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon,(1791).
[2] The ‘Lands of the Normans’ in England 1204-1244. https://www.dhi.ac.uk/normans/appearances.jsp?place=503
[3] The ‘Lands of the Normans’ in England 1204-1244



Sampson Tree