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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



RALPH WAKE. We learn about  the early generations of the West-Country Wake family from the History of Somerset. [1] In the article on Dowlish Wake it tells us:

“The manor was probably held in the later 12th century by Ralph Wake (I).  His widow Christine, later wife of Richard Wild (salvagius), received dower when her son Ralph Wake (II) succeeded in 1214. A grant of land in Dowlish formerly of Ralph Wake was made by the Crown in 1216, but in 1225 Ralph (II) seems still to have held land in Dowlish. In 1230 his widow Hawise (d. c. 1244) recovered her dower in Dowlish and Bere, and the manor passed to her son Andrew Wake.

This means that Ralph’s parents were Ralph Wake senior and Christine. We have no firm evidence of his mother’s maiden name, but it seems possible that she was the daughter of William de Durville, whose family held land near Crewkerne in Somerset.


Dowlish Wake, where we believe Ralph junior to have been born, is 2 m south of Ilminster and 5 m NE of Chard. It became divided into East Dowlish and West Dowlish, with East Dowlish taking the name of Dowlish Wake.


Ralph was probably born in the late 12th century. He was the eldest, or the eldest surviving, son. We have no information about siblings.

His childhood was spent during the reign of the unpopular King John, who provoked the barons into demanding that he sign the Magna Carta, taking away some of his autocratic power and giving greater rights to his subjects.

The principal wealth of Somerset at this time came from sheep farming and the trade in wool. Much of Ralph’s family income will have been derived from this.


Ralph’s father died in 1214, shortly before the accession of the boy king HenryIII. His mother Christine married again, to Richard Wild.


HAWISE COSYN. Thomas Banks, in his The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England, is more interested in Andrew Wake’s mother than his father. [2]

“According to Hutchins[3], … Andrew was the son and heir of Hawyse Wake, and in 28 Hen III [1243-4], had livery of his mother’s lands in Dorset; who, from this circumstance, seems to have been the heiress of that inheritance, and most likely, was the daughter of Cosyn, or Cousin, the name of a family, which held the lands before the Wakes.”

He is speaking of the manor of Stoke Wake, known as Stoke Cosyn until the 13th century. As the name suggests, before the Wakes, the mesne lords were the Cusins or Cosyns. Hawise Cosyn appears to have brought this manor to the Wake estates when she married Ralph Wake.

There is one note of caution. The website Dorset Ancestors affirms that the manor of Stoke Cosyn/Stoke Wake was held by the Abbess of Shaftesbury and that her first tenant lords were the Cusins or Cosyns.. But it adds: “We know that in 1227 John Wake held the manor.”

John Wake does not figure in the descent listed in the History of Somerset. It is not quite clear where he fits into the picture.


Stoke Wake is a leafy hamlet in the Blackmore Vale under Bulbarrow Hill. This is one of the highest parts of Dorset, with an Iron Age hillfort on top. The village is surrounded by steep wooded slopes.

Rawlsbury Camp on Bulbarrow Hill[4]

We find confirmation of Hawise’s maiden name, and the fact that she held land in more than one county, in The History of the County of Wiltshire:[5]
“ 1242 Hawise Cusin (d. 1243) was tenant in socage and was succeeded in turn by her son Andrew Wake (d. 1285) and grandson Ralph Wake, who held the manor of BEECHINGSTOKE in 1297.”

Beechingstoke is a village in the Vale of Pewsey, 5 m east of Devizes.

This was a prosperous time for Dorset, and more land was taken into cultivation.

and Hawise had one son, Andrew.


Ralph died in or shortly before 1230. Hawise recovered dower land in Dowlish and neighbouring Bere. The rest of Ralph’s estates passed to Andrew.


At first, Henry III had appeared to abide by the provisions of Magna Carta, and signed an updated version. But around the time of Ralph’s death, he made a disastrous attempt to reconquer provinces lost in France. It ended in total defeat. This led to a revolt of the barons in 1232. In response, Henry reverted increasingly to the autocratic ways of his father.

Neither Ralph nor Hawise lived to see the resulting Barons’ War of 1263.


Hawise died around 1243.


[1] A P Baggs and R J E Bush, ‘Paris hes: Dowlish Wake’, in A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 4, ed. R W Dunning (London, 1978), pp. 151-156. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/som/vol4/pp151-156 [accessed 27 June 2022]
[2] Thomas Christopher Banks. The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England.
[3] John Hutchins, The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset. 1774.
[4] The Megalithic Portal
[5] A P Baggs, D A Crowley, Ralph B Pugh, Janet H Stevenson and Margaret Tomlinson, ‘Parishes: Beechingstoke’, in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 10, ed. Elizabeth Crittall (London, 1975), pp. 14-19. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol10/pp14-19 [accessed 27 June 2022].




Sampson Tree