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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)




The Pauncefoot family can be traced back 11 generations from Anne Pauncefoot, who married John Whiting of Wood in 1502.[1] The first of that name of whom we have records is Bernard Pauncefoot, who appears in the Domesday Survey of 1086-7  as the holder of several manors. He must have come over with William the Conqueror or soon after. His name appears on the Battle Abbey Roll of those claimed to have fought at Hastings, but this is not thought to be reliable.

Domesday Book [2]

He is recorded in the Domesday Book as Bernhard Pauncevolt. “He was given this name because he was exceedingly corpulent. According to the famous etymologist the late Professor P R Reaney, the name derives from the Ancient French word ‘pance’ of the pre-7th century meaning ‘paunch’ and ‘volt’, meaning ‘rounded’, to describe a person with a large belly.”[3]

The use of surnames was not universal at this time. Some of the Norman invaders had names indicating their place of origin, like William de Cahaignes (Keynes). The surnames of others, like Tustin fitzRolf were patronymics (son of Rolf). Some were distinguished by their occupation, like Waleran the Huntsman, and others had nicknames, like Bernard Pauncevolt (Fat-Belly) and Roger God-save-the-ladies. Many names which originally applied to one individual became established as inherited surnames.

In the Domesday Survey, Bernard held five manors in Hampshire. He was Tenant-in-chief of Awbridge, Headbourne Worthy, Chilworth, Little Somborne and Embley. In Wiltshire he held Frustfield, in Whiteparish. These were valued at £15.5s. He also held the manor of Hardley in Hampshire from the king.. [4]

He owned Embley Park in East Wellow, west of Romsey. In the 19th century this was the childhood home of  Florence Nightingale, who grew up here from the age of 5. Nearby is Pauncefoot Hill, another of the family manors..[5]

In Somerset he held South Cadbury and Dunkerton. He held these manors from Turstin fitzRolf. Not far away, Turstin also owned Compton, which later became Compton Pauncefoot and the family home, but Bernard was not the holder of this estate at the time of Domesday. In the Somerset Domesday he is called simply Bernard.

He had lands in Dorset, which he. These were Gillingham and a hide of land in Nyland.

Bernard was sub-tenant for 21 additional manors – Gillingham and [Higher and Lower] Nyland in  Dorset, which he also held of Turstin fitzRolf, Aston on Carrant, [Bishops] Cleeve, Fiddington, Gotherington, Hillesley, Natton, Pamington, Sapperton, Stoke [Orchard], Southwick, Tewkesbury, Tredington, and Walton [Cardiff], Gloucester. Rowditch and Southampton,, Hampshire. Clapton and [Higher] Clapton, Dunkerton, Woolston, and South Cadbury, Somerset . These were sub-enfeoffed to Bernard Pancevolt.

He is listed in the Roll of Dives-sur-Mer, and the Roll of Battle Abbey, as a Companion of the Conqueror in 1066, but many believe these lists to be padded with entrants from Domesday book. We can only be sure that he came across from Normandy between 1066 and 1086.

We have no information about Bernard’s wife.

Richard Whiting’s Pauncefoot tree is based on ownership of these manors. [6]

There is an alternative tree derived from the lordship of the manor of Hasfield in Gloucestershire.[7] This was not one of Bernard’s Domesday holdings but came to Richard Pauncefoot in 1199. This tree does, however, accord with the abbreviated one in The Baronetage of England. [8] This skips some generations, but has Bernard Pauncefoot as the originator of the tree that includes Richard Pauncefoot of Hasfield.

According to the family tree compiled by Richard Whiting they had at least one son, Grimbald. This name was passed down through later generations, and may have been in use by the family before the Pauncefoots came to Britain. It means ‘bold helmet’.

Possible grandsons of Bernard include George, father of the 1199 Richard, and Humphrey.



[1] Richard Whiting. Whiting of Wood: A Mediaeval Landed Family, 1974 (MS in DRO).
[2] http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/domesday/images/fig01-Domesday-Book.jpg
[3] www.surnamedb.com/surname.aspx?name=Pauncefoot
[4] Domesday Book. ed. Ann Williams and G.H. Martin, Penguin 1992.
[5] freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com
[6] Whiting.
[7] British History Online. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol8/pp282-290
[8] The Baronetage of England. https://archive.org/stream/baronetageofengl00milluoft/baronetageofengl00milluoft_djvu.txt




Sampson Tree