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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 Arthur Ayshford and Agnes Le Bel. His family had been established at Ayshford in Burlescombe, near the Somerset border, since the 12th century, but were not major landowners.


AGNES PEVEREL was the only child of Sir William Peverel of Sampford Peverell, only three miles SW of Burlescombe.

Heather Ayshford writes: “The Peverels were a baronial family whose connections with the Ducal house of Normandy were intimate … the first of the family is said to have married the mistress of Duke William himself. The oldest son of that marriage was made an Earl, not so much for his talents as for his reputed parentage. The Devon Peverels were descended from a younger brother who did not share the illustrious ancestry.”

Nevertheless, the marriage was advantageous to the Ayshfords. Agnes brought John some of the Peverel lands as her dowry.


After the signing of Magna Carta in 1215, King John died. The following year the nine-year-old King Henry III reissued the charter and granted the rebellious barons an amnesty. Many went on crusade.

Meanwhile in Devon the countryside was changing. Open fields were rapidly giving way to enclosures, as more of the common land came under individual ownership and was more intensively cultivated. No doubt this was true of the growing Ayshford estates.


By 1241 John was dead. Agnes was holding the Ayshford lands for her son John junior, who was under age.

When he reached the age of 21, he was met with a lawsuit over the Peverel estates from Agnes’s cousin Lord Hugh Peverel, who claimed that these dowry lands were entailed and could only be passed down through the male line. John succeeded in establishing Agnes’s right to them.


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




Sampson Tree