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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)

Baker Tree



SAMUEL LILLY BAKER was named after his father, Samuel Baker, and his mother, Ann Lilly. He was their first child, born four months after their wedding. Since his parents were only 21, rather young for the times, Samuel Lilly’s imminent arrival was probably the reason for their early marriage. His baptism was registered at St Leonard’s church, Deal, on 3 Sept 1775, but it almost certainly took place at St George’s, a chapel-of-ease in Lower Deal, used by those who lived on the seaward side of the town.

Baptism. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1775  3 Sep  Samuel Lilly, s/o Sam. & Sarah Baker

The name Sarah given for his mother is a mistake. She is Ann in the entry for her marriage and the rest of their children were registered as the offspring of Samuel and Ann. His middle name Lilly, and the inclusion of his children in his father’s will, show clearly that Samuel junior is part of the same family.[1]
  He was born in the reign of George III, the popular ‘Farmer George’.
 His father, Samuel Baker, was a pipemaker from Canterbury,[2] who had settled in Deal before his marriage.
Samuel had four younger sisters. His mother died following the birth of the youngest, in 1785. A week later, the baby died, too. Samuel was nine years old.

At the beginning of that year, he had witnessed the burning of the Deal luggers. The Deal boatmen were not fishermen. They made their living by ‘hovelling’, provisioning the huge amount of shipping which passed through the Straits of Dover and salvaging from the wrecks of ships which fell foul of the Goodwin Sands. The Deal boatmen were also notorious for smuggling lace, brandy and tea, and sometimes dealt violently with the Revenue men who tried to stop them. William Pitt was not only Prime Minister, but Warden of the Cinque Ports, with an official residence at Walmer Castle, just north of Deal. He was determined to put a stop to this traffic.

The Deal Boatmen. (1700 – 1880)

Although not strictly “a Gang”, the boatmen of Deal cannot be excluded from any account of smuggling in Kent. Their seamanship was legendary as was their shallow draft Deal luggers and the 40ft. long galleys, that held as many as 30 oarsmen and with a small sail could make the trip across to France in less than five hours (I have seen estimates of considerably less time, a distance of about 30 miles depending on the points of arrival and departure. The shallow draft Deal Lugger could negotiate the shallows of the treacherous Goodwin Sands where Revenue Cutters and Navy blockade ships could not hope to follow. The additional benefit of the galley was that, if pursued, it was able to steer straight into a head wind making it impossible for the sailing ships of that time to follow. It was also possible for a crew to carry a galley across the Goodwin Sands at low tide also making it totally impossible for any Revenue cutter to follow. The Deal ‘fishermen’ were probably a thorn in the side of the authorities for much longer than the 180 years that I have presently given them credit for. In fact, a walk along the beach at Deal or Walmer late at night even now could leave one to wonder whether the swell of the dark channel and the rumble of the undertow on the pebble beach could still conceal the return of the Deal Boatmen from another trip to France.
   On 14 January, 1784, acting on the direct orders of the then Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, a troop of the 13th Light Dragoons moved into Deal from Sandwich. They were in great danger as it had been known that they were coming to Deal and some three hundred smugglers were waiting for them.  Disaster was averted by the arrival of the 38th Foot who had force marched from Canterbury. There had been severe storms for sometime and all the boats were pulled well up on the beach. The troops were quartered on a farm for the night as no lodgings could be found from the people of Deal who had no liking for their unwelcome guests. The next day, the 15th, the troops moved down to the beach and smashed and set fire to the whole fleet of boats and luggers. The burning of the boats only gave the Government forces temporary relief from the activities in Deal.
   In 1801, an Officer was killed and several men of the Revenue Cutter, Lively, were injured in continuing problems in the Town.
Government Officials:
* Elbeck, Pte. John – of the Westmoreland Militia, died of wounds on 25
September, 1794 while guarding a captured cargo at Deal.

 When severe winter weather forced the boatmen to lay up their ships, Pitt saw his opportunity to seize them. He sent the 38th Foot Regiment on a forced march to Deal. The whole town conspired against them. 300 smugglers massed to stop them. Publicans took down their signs, so that there would be no quarters for the soldiers. They found a barn, but the landlord refused to let it to them for less than two years. They had difficulty getting anyone to sell them provisions.
This resistance failed to stop the soldiers. The luggers were burned as they lay on the beach. With them went the boatmen’s livelihood.[3] As a boy of nine, Samuel would have spent much of his free time playing on the beach among those boats, perhaps helping the boatmen. He must have been well aware of their fury as they saw their livelihoods burn. Samuel Lilly did not follow his father as a pipemaker. He became a boatman. This may have led to an estrangement with his father.

The year after his mother’s death, Samuel’s father remarried. His stepmother was Mary Newton, from a Deal family. It seems likely that hers was a more affluent family and it may have been this second marriage which raised Samuel senior’s fortunes. By the time he died, he was styled as a gentleman and was quite a rich man.[4]
   Five stepbrothers and a stepsister were born for Samuel Lilly and his sisters. Of these, only two boys survived infancy. By the time the youngest was born, Samuel Lilly was married himself, and his first child was baptised the same year. [5]


SUSAN ABIGAIL HARROD. We do not yet have a birth or baptism record for Susan, but her age at her burial gives her a birth date of 1775-6.
The use of more than one baptismal name became more common for ordinary people about this time. Sometimes, as with Susan, a second personal name is added, but it was particularly common in Deal for a surname to be reused as a middle name, as with Samuel Lilly Baker.

We have a record of their marriage licence in 1794. [6]
Samuel Lilly Baker and Susan Abigail Harrod at St Andrew Undershaft, London.

The transcript does not give the exact date.
Susan would have been under 20 at the time of her marriage.
St Andrew Undershaft lies within the City of London. It derives its name from the maypole which used to stand opposite, until it was destroyed as a ‘pagan idol’ in 1547.

St Andrew Undershaft  [7]

 This was probably Susan’s parish, but the couple made their home in Samuel’s parish of Deal. In 1791, the Deal Pavement Act provided better and cleaner streets. Susan was one of those housewives who were now required to have the paving in front of their houses swept before 9 a.m. every day.[8]

Their first child was born in 1796. Ten others followed. The baptisms appear on the registers for St Leonard’s, the parish church in Upper Deal, but the Bakers, like most boatmen’s families, lived in the Lower Town. They probably used the chapel of St George there.

Baptisms. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1796  30 November  Samuel Chamberlain BAKER  son of Samuel & Susan
1798  14 Nov  William Henry BAKER  son o f Samuel Lilly & Susan
1801  25 Mar  Robert Lilly BAKER  son o f Samuel Lilly & Susan

The 1801 census for Deal shows Samuel Lilly Baker, in Short Street, heading a household of four males and two females.[9] The identity of the second female is not clear. Although many Deal people had a middle name, these are not usually given in this census. Samuel Lilly’s full name distinguishes him from his father. He may have given both names to the enumerator because this was how he was commonly known. In common with most Deal men, Samuel Lilly reports that none of his household is employed in agriculture or trade. He had not followed in his father’s business of pipemaking, but was one of the hundreds of Deal boatmen worked as ‘hovellers’, servicing the vast numbers of ships which anchored in the Downs on their way up or down the English Channel.

In 1793 war had broken out with France, following the French Revolution and the ambitions of Napoleon. It lasted until 1815. Britain had naval superiority, but there was considerable disruption to merchant shipping in the Straits of Dover, on which Deal and its boatmen depended. The Deal luggers were armed at the country’s expense. The mood now was very different from the boat-burning of 1785. In September 1803, William Pitt came to Deal himself to review the luggers. 35 boats sailed past him as he took the salute.

The patriotic enthusiasm of the boatmen on the occasion of Pitt’s visit in 1803 is very remarkable when it is remembered that many of them who so proudly sailed their luggers past Walmer Castle had received scant consideration at the hands of the authorities not so many years previously.

E.C. Pain, The Last of our Luggers and the Men who Sailed Them, p.86.

Samuel and Susan’s family continued to grow.

Baptisms. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1803  30 Jan  George Harwood BAKER  son of Samuel Lilley & Susan
No burial has been found for Robert and George, but they died before their grandfather made his will in May 1824.
1804  29 Aug  Maria Elizabeth BAKER  daughter of Samuel Lilly & Susan

In December 1805, Samuel and the other Deal boatmen would have shared in the emotion when all of ships in the Downs lowered their pennants and ensigns to half mast, as the Victory sailed past them. She was bearing the body of Nelson, who had won the Battle of Trafalgar, but been killed in action.[10]

Baptism. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1806  25 Apr  John James BAKER  son of Samuel Lilly & Susan

  1. For some years the boatmen had been very dissatisfied with the amount of the awards made to them for assisting vessels in distress. On Dec. 16th, during a fearful gale of wind from the south-west, several ships lost their anchors and cables, and were taken by the boatmen into Ramsgate Harbour. The Ramsgate Commissioners of Salvage made the boatmen such small awards for their services that they resolved not to take any other distressed vessels thither; and shortly after, when there was every appearance of a gale of wind springing up, some unknown persons removed the masts, sails, and rudders from all the luggers on the beach, in order to give effect to this resolution. To meet this situation a meeting of owners, agents, and boatmen was convened at the Town Hall to discuss the whole question of salvage awards. Port Admiral Jno. Holloway was voted to the chair, and several boatmen addressed the meeting on the injustice of the usual awards. The chairman acknowledged the hardness of their case, but pointed out that to refuse to proceed to the aid of ships in distress would but injure their cause, and sully the reputation of the Deal boatmen. Eventually it was decided that representations on the matter should be made to Sir Wm. Curtis as to other Commissioners at Ramsgate.
    … In 1808 a fresh Act was passed … All cases of salvage were to be settled by three or more Commissioners within 24 hours of notice being given … All anchors, &c., recovered by boatmen were to be deposited at the Lord Warden’s depôts in Dover, Deal, and Ramsgate within 7 days. The new system seems to have worked with fairly good success.

    History of Deal, p.330.

It may be that this confrontation caused or added to hostility between father and son.

Baptism. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1808  8 Jan  Thomas James BAKER  son of Samuel Lilly & Susan  born 16 Dec last

There is a likely burial for Thomas James Baker on 18 Feb 1809. His age is given in the KFHS transcript as 11, but this could well be a mistake for 1 year.

  1. Jan 15. This day the wind continued with increased violence, and brought in a most tremendous sea, which at one time even threatened the destruction of the town. The foundations of a great many houses next the sea have been undermined, store-houses have been swept away with their contents, and the ground tier of dwelling-houses filled with water. The seas during the tempest made a considerable breach between Sandown Castle and the Battery Wall, which has inundated the chambers and forced such a torrent of water into the lower streets of Deal that the cellars have been completely filled and property to a large amount totally destroyed. In a row of houses adjacent to Alfred Square the torrent was so deep that boats were obliged to be got down and the miserable inhabitants taken out of their houses by the chamber windows. Several quays in the Beach Street which had braved the fury of the elements for a series of years, have been totally destroyed and the timber washed out to sea.

    History of Deal, p.334.

Samuel Lilly
had probably already taken part in embarking troops from Deal beach. It is highly likely that he was among the 600 boatmen who volunteered for a more dangerous mission in 1809.

  1. Kentish Gazette. “The extraordinary facility and celerity with which the embarkation of troops was lately effected from Deal Beach has not escaped the notice of the Government, and in thanking the Deal boatmen for their service it was intimated to them that their further services in accompanying the expedition would be acceptable, and for which an adequate remuneration would be given. In consequence of this intimation nearly 600 boatmen have handsomely tendered themselves with their vessels, and have been engaged. It is understood that they are to be employed in debarking troops at the intended point of landing. Their vessels are luggers and lug-sail boats of various sizes, from their construction equally well adapted to the Dutch as to the English coasts – in number about 100, and it is calculated that they will take on an average about 50 men in each, so that a body of 5000 men may be disembarked in the short space of one hour.”
       The expedition landed on Walcheren on Aug. 6th, the Deal boats being of great use in landing men and munitions, and in working up canals. Flushing was captured on Aug.15th, and immediately a stream of wounded began to make its way to the Downs and the Naval Hospital. On the 27th a transport attempted to land 130 wounded, but as a strong S.S.W. wind was blowing, and the flood tide was running strongly, the boats could not make the shore near the hospital, but were carried away to the north. Seeing the danger of long exposure the wounded men were in, the boatmen launched their galleys, and towed the boats into position, and safely landed the wounded.

Laker, History of Deal, p.336.


Baptism. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1809  15 Dec  Esther BAKER  daughter of Samuel Lilley & Susan Abigail

Only one Samuel Baker is shown in the 1811 census.[11] His family consists of six males and four females. All ten are listed as not engaged in agriculture or trade. This would fit the boatman Samuel Lilly Baker and his numerous children. His father may be the ‘Mr Baker’, in a household of two males and one female, one of whom is engaged in trade.

The two oldest boys, Samuel Chamberlain and William Henry, were probably by now, or soon afterwards, following their father as boatmen.

Three more children were  born.

Baptisms. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1812  20 Mar  Susan Abigail BAKER  daughter of Samuel Lilley & Susan
Little Susan Abigail lived less than a year.
Burial. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1814  3 Jan  Sus. Abigail BAKER.  King’s Alley, Middle St.  1.
Baptisms. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1813  18 Aug  Francis Richard BAKER  son of  Samuel Lilly & Susanna Abigail  Lower Deal  Mariner
1815  27 Dec  Eliza BAKER  daughter of Samuel Lilly & Susan Abigail.  Middle Street.  Mariner

The war years of the early 19th century meant prosperity and population increase for Deal.
   The demand for food-stuffs and other commodities became very great in Deal, so great that it was computed that during these years it was greater than in all other East Kent towns put together. Thus the market overflowed, and it was no unusual thing to find the street from the well by St George’s Church to Five Bell Lane (Queen Street) blocked with market carts, which at times also filled the new road now called St George’s Place.
   During the ten years from 1801 to 1811 the population increased from 5420 to 7351, an increase of over 35 percent.

John Laker, History of Deal, p.287.

But the end of the war in 1815 brought decline and hardship. ‘The boatmen, already impoverished by loss of occupation, were further harassed by severer measures against smuggling.[12]

In 1816 the Government determined on establishing a Coast Blockade… The command was given to a certain Capt. McCulloch, who is said to have sworn to make the grass grow in the streets of Deal, – an oath which some old inhabitants declared he literally fulfilled. His plan was to station numbers of his officers and men at various points along the coast. The barracks and the naval hospitals were utilised as stations for his men …. Thus he was able to harry the smugglers both on the sea and on land. All boats in the Downs were watched and followed, and directly they landed his men swarmed down the beach and searched the boats and the persons of their crews. If any contraband goods were found, both men and boat were seized.
   …Boats were built with false keels and hollow masts.

Laker, History of Deal, p.366.

This may, in part, explain what happened to the family next, but it leaves an unanswered question.
   Eliza died at the age of two. What is remarkable is where she died.

Burial. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1818  12 Oct.  Eliza BAKER.  Poor House.  2.

What makes the fact that Eliza died in the Poor House astonishing is that her grandfather, Samuel Baker senior, was a rich man. When he made his will in 1824 he was worth well over £1000 in money and property. It is this which suggests that Samuel Lilly had fallen out with his father, perhaps due to his insistence on becoming a boatman, instead of following his father in trade.

In the 1821 census, the only Samuel Baker is listed at Middle Street, but with a tick in the column ‘Other houses inhabited’. All the other details about the occupants are left blank. This is almost certainly Samuel senior, whose will, made three years later, shows that he had a house in Middle Street, and also a brewery and a public house in Walmer.[13]

Eliza’s death in the Poor House in 1817 may mean either that Samuel Lilly was dead by then, or that he was unable to work for physical or economic reasons.
We know for certain that Samuel Lilly was dead by May 1824, when the will was signed,. The absence of his name in the 1821 census suggests that he died before that, but it would be after the baptism of Eliza in 1815. He was in his forties. No record has been found of his burial in Deal. Most probably he was lost at sea.

Susan has not been found in the 1821 census as a householder. She may still have been living in the Poor House. Her 23-year-old son William Henry had moved to Margate before 1820, so she was not living with him.[14]

Susan died in 1823. She had left the Poor House by then.
Burial. St. Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
26 May 1823  Susannah Abigail Baker  Wood Yard  47 y.o.
This burial appears in the Sexton’s Records for St George’s churchyard in Lower Deal:[15]
26.5.1823  Sarah H. Baker.  6 ft N of William Dunn Head Stone  47
The sexton’s records are frequently inaccurate in their spellings. The date and age make it certain that this is Susan Abigail’s grave.
She was only 47, but had borne eleven children. Only six of them were still alive.

Samuel Baker senior died in 1825. Whatever his reasons for allowing little Eliza to die in the Poor House, his will provided for Samuel Lilly and Sarah Abigail’s surviving children. These were Samuel Chamberlain, William, Maria, John, Esther and Francis. £50 was to be divided equally between them. After other large bequests were made to Samuel’s widow and his sons by his second marriage, the remaining money was to be invested in a trust, of which a quarter was for these grandchildren. It could be used, amongst other things, for apprenticeships or for equipping them in some other way to make their living.


[1] Will of Samuel Baker, Helen Nobbs, lenka54@aol.com
[2] St George’s, Sexton’s Records. KFHS transcript.
[3] E.C. Pain, The Last of our Luggers and the Men who Sailed Them, T.F. Pain & Sons, Deal & Sandwich, 1929.
[4] Will of Samuel Baker
[5] Deal Parish Registers, KFHS transcripts.
[6] Boyd’s marriage indexes, 1538-1850 Transcription, on Findmypast.
[7] https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/thumb/5/54/Londonstandrewundershaft.jpg/200px-Londonstandrewundershaft.jpg
[8] John Laker, History of Deal. T.F.Pain & Sons, Deal, 1917, p.341.
[9] Deal Censuses, KFHS scanned microfiche.
[10] Laker, p.329.
[11] Deal Censuses, KFHS scanned microfiche.
[12] Laker, p.340.
[13] Will of Samuel Baker.
[14] Helen Nobbs
[15] St George’s, Sexton’s Records



Baker Tree