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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



WILLIAM and/or JOHN BOSON. We have found very little evidence for the early generations of our Boson line. Most of our information comes from online family trees which do not provide their sources.

They are agreed on tracing the family back to William Boson in the late 12th century. Some have a succession of three William Bosons before Robert Boson in the 13th century. Others have John Boson between the first two Williams. Yet another gives the second William and John, born c 1170, as alternatives.

Without hard evidence, it is difficult to choose between these.


The second William Boson is thought to have been born around 1170 and died around 1228, aged 58. The precision of the death date suggests that it comes from an Inquisition Post Mortem, detailing the land the deceased held. Sadly, we do not have the details.


The site that inserts John between the first and second William also gives him a daughter Margeria de Bozon, who married Simon the Kirketon.


Some websites link this Bozun family to Trematon Castle in Saltash, on the Cornish side of the Tamar from Plymouth. This may be true, but I have not yet seen evidence to support it. It may be a confusion with the Bosons who were Vicomtes of Limoges.

We find stronger evidence in the South Hams, the most southerly part of Devon.

In Norman times the Bosons were granted the lands called Holne Bozum, now Michelcombe, in the parish of Holne in the southern part of Dartmoor near Ashburton.

They are also associated with Ilton in the parish of Malborough (often misspelt as Marlborough). This is just north of Salcombe in the extreme south of the county. It has the English Channel to the west and a wide inlet to the east.


The area is remarkable for its mild climate.

William’s great-granddaughter Joan, brought Ilton to her first husband William de Cheverstone. It is thus very likely that it formed part of this older William’s holdings.

Another great-granddaughter Alice held Churston and Thurlestone on the South Devon coast, and these too may well have been in the family in this generation.

We do not know the wife of William, but they had a son, also named William.

William, and possibly John, lived in the reign of Henry II, the first Plantagenet king. He was followed by Richard I, who was mostly away on Crusades, and then by his brother, the unpopular King John. In 1215 John reluctantly signed Magna Carta, placing restrictions on his authoritarian power and giving rights to citizens.

Under Henry III, who succeeded the following year, the countryside of Devon was changing. Open fields, with strips shared by villagers, were giving way to more intense cultivation, under individual ownership.


The death date of 1228 for William is probably correct.


[1] Toad Hall Cottages.




Sampson Tree