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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



RICHARD FLOYER. John Burke’s pedigree of the Floyer family includes:[1]

NICHOLAS, who was s. by his son,
RICHARD, who obtained  a confirmation of the lands beyond the Exe, held by his grandfather, from Robert, natural son of King Henry I upon the stipulation of presenting the said Robert and his heirs with a flaggon of wine, whenever they should come to dine on the Isle of Exe. This grant was afterwards confirmed, in more ample form by Reginald de Courtenay. The son and successor of this Richard,
FLOYER, was called FLORIDUS. He m. Sabina, daughter of Geoffry de Dunstanville, of Enscombe, in Devonshire.


Richard’s father and grandfather were portreeves of the harbour at the head of the Ex e estuary, below the walled city of Exeter. He inherited the family home of Floyers Hayes on the west bank of the river.

The Floyers held the estate of Floyer’s Hayes under feudal tenure from the Barons of Okehampton. At first, this Barony was held by the family of de Redvers or Reviers, but later passed to the de Courtenays, who later became Earls of Devon.

A pedigree supplied to John Gould Floyer includes the following charter, translated from the Latin:

“Robert son of King Henry to all his barons, both clerical and lay, greeting. Know that I have granted, and by my charter confirmed, to Richard son of Nicholas all the land beyond Exe which his grandfather Richard son of Floher held. To hold it from me and my heirs for himself and his heirs peacefully and quietly by the same service as the said Richard son of Floher held it as from my Barony, that is, by the provision of one soldier, and by the service of one pitcher of wine, which Richard son of Nicholas himself ought to give as often as it shall happen that I or my heirs dine on Exe Island.”[2]

This charter was ratified by Reginald Courtenay:
“ Be it known to all to whom this present charter shall come that I, Reginald de Courtenay, with the consent of Matilda my wife, have granted, and by this present charter confirmed, to Richard son of Nicholas and his heirs the tenement which the aforesaid Richard held from me beyond Exe, To hold it from me and my heirs as freely and quietly as ever his grandfather Richard son of Floher, or Nicholas, father of the aforesaid Richard, held it from Richard son of Baldwin better and more freely, and by the same service to be done to me and my heirs that his father and his grandfather did to Richard son of Baldwin, that is, by the provision of one soldier to me or my heirs, and of one pitcher of wine, which he himself shall give as often as it shall happen that I or my heirs dine on Exe lsland.”

Exeter stands on a hill above the river Exe. Originally this was much wider than it is now, spreading out across marshes and flanked by mud flats at low tide. In the twelfth century this land was reclaimed to form the area now known as Exe Island. It was first drained by a leat from Head Weir.  The newly-formed Exe Island became a separate manor belonging to the Courtenays, feudal barons of Okehampton. The Floyers were their tenants.

More leats were dug. They not only drained the land but provided water-power for many mills.In the 12th century Exeter was one of the leading cloth-towns in Engand, known for its serges. There was also a flourishing wine trade. We do not know whether Richard followed his father and grandfather as portreeve If he did, he would have handled a large amount of harbour dues.

There were also corn mills and tanneries on Exe Island, making it the chief industrial area of Exeter and a rich property for the Courtenays.

An 18th century map shows this reclaimed land and the leats running through it. Floyers Hayes is on the bottom right.[3]

Richard’s father Nicholas was active in 1158, but is not named in a group of documents from 1130. This makes it likely that Richard was born around the middle of the 12th century.

We do not know the name of his wife, but we know that his son and heir was Floyer or Floridus. Sir William Pole, who lists the leading families of Devonshire, tells us:[4]

Richard filius Floier, had issue Nicholl, wch had issue Richard, wch had issue Floer, called also Floridus.”


[1] John Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland: Enjoying Terrestrial Possessions or High Official Rank; but Uninvested with Heritable Honours. Colburn 1833.
[2] Our principal source is “The Family of Floyer”. http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~floyer/genealogy/index.htm
[3] https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-sLLYacpsrkw/UVJKyhdzhzI/AAAAAAAAGAY/qq_Gj7e8XjY/s1600/Benjamin_Donn+1765_Exeter+Exe+Bridge.jpg
[4] Sir William Pole (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description  of the County of Devon,(1791).





Sampson Tree