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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)


 SAMUEL BAKER is the second of four generations of this name so far traced. His baptism has not been found in the registers of Deal, where he married, but from his age at his burial he was born around 1754, in the reign of George II. This agrees well with a baptism on 21 July 1754 in St Mary Magdalen, Canterbury, 18 miles away, for the son of Samuel and Martha Baker. Samuel Baker of Deal used Martha as both a first and a second name for his daughters.
If this identification is correct, then Samuel was the seventh child and the third son of Samuel and Martha.

There are burials at St Mary Magdalene, Canterbury, for Samuel Baker on 31 Jan 1762 and for Martha Baker on 15 Dec 1763. Unless these burials are for an older or younger generation, this large family was left orphaned when Samuel was seven. The oldest daughter was then 18 and the youngest five.
Assuming it was his parents who died, it may have been this family disaster which prompted a move to Deal, at least for Samuel.

There was already a prominent family of Bakers in Deal. A brass within the communion rails of St Leonard’s church bears the name of “Thomas Baker otherwys called …”. The missing alias is probably Barber. The will of Thomas Barber in 1508 left money to restore the church steeple. Bakers played a leading role in Deal’s history down the centuries. They provided army and naval officers and MPs. They had a family home at what later became the Beach House Hotel,[1] where Samuel’s great-great-great-granddaughter, Edith Cory, worked as a chambermaid and a waitress. We do not know whether Samuel was related to this family and it is a common name. However, Samuel is styled in his will as a gentleman, so there may be a connection.

Deal made its living from the vast flow of sailing ships which passing through the Straits of Dover. Hundreds of boatmen provisioned these ships, provided pilots, salvaged the many wrecks on the Goodwin Sands and saved shipwrecked crews and passengers. They were also notorious smugglers.

About the time of Samuel’s birth, the novelist Henry Fielding and his wife were windbound in the Downs on their way to Lisbon. Fielding did not land at Deal, but tried to get supplies brought out.

‘But the prices asked by the boatmen for fetching and carrying, and by the tradesmen for provisions, were so outrageous that I sent my servant to a man-of-war stationed in the Downs and asked for its long-boat to take us to Dover, but was refused. The fare of a boat from Deal, which lay at distance of two miles, was at least three half-crowns, and if we had been in any distress for it, as many half-guineas; for these good people consider the sea as a large common appendant to their manor, in which when they find any of their fellow creatures impounded they conclude that they have the full right of making them pay at their own discretion for their deliverance.’ [2]

Samuel did not become a boatmen, though his eldest son did. At the age of 35, he is recorded as a pipemaker. He may well have been apprenticed to this craft as a boy.
Samuel was classed as a resident of Deal by the time of his marriage at the age of was 21.


ANN LILLY is the daughter of Richard Lilly and Ann Sexty, baptised at St Peter’s, Sandwich, in 1754.[3]

Baptism. St Peter’s, Sandwich
15 Sep 1754 Ann d/o Richard + Ann Lilly
She had two younger brothers also baptised in Sandwich. The first, Stephen, died in Sandwich in 1761.The second of these, Richard, was born later that year, when Ann was six. It must have been after then that the family moved to Ash, a village about two miles inland, where her father had been apprenticed to a carpenter as a teenager. In 1772, the family applied for legal settlement in Deal, five miles south of Sandwich. [4]

Settlements in Deal
6 Jan 1772 Lilly, Richard and his wife + Ann their daughter age about 17, Richard their son about 11 years. From Ash, Kent

This would fit extremely well with Ann’s being a parishioner of Deal when she married in 1775 and would make her the same age as Samuel.


Samuel and Ann married in Deal on 16 May 1775. The couple were quite young at 21.

Marriage. St Leonard’s, Deal (KFHS transcript)
1775  16 May  Samuel Baker , bachelor of this parish, and Ann Lilly, spinster of this parish, by banns. Witnesses: Isaac Harwood, William Archer

The reason for this early marriage becomes apparent. A son, Samuel Lilly Baker, was baptised less than four months later.

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

Although the mother’s name is given as Sarah, the baby’s middle name strongly points to this being the couple who were married in May. There may have been a mistake in the original record of the baptism, which was probably at St George’s chapel in Lower Deal. More likely, the error occurred when the entry was transcribed into the register of the mother church, St Leonard’s in Upper Deal. A reason for the confusion may be that the entry following this is for the baptism of John, son of John and Sarah Lilly.

In Tudor times, a quarter of all children were conceived before marriage. This dropped in the second half of the 17th century, with the Puritan Commonwealth, but rose to 38% by the first half of the 19th century. There was no great stigma to pregnancy at the altar. It was only a problem if the woman had no husband. There is evidence that premarital pregnancy was regarded as normal; superstition said that the child in the bride’s womb would be physically or mentally impaired if there were a break in the sequence of calling the banns.[5]
   All the same, Samuel Lilly’s birth is unusually close to the wedding. Poorer men, who were not the father, were sometimes offered inducements to marry a pregnant woman, so that she and her child would not become a burden on the parish rates. But the indications are that Samuel was from a better-class family. The fact that he was rather young to marry suggests a shotgun wedding.

Samuel Lilly’s baptism was followed by four children for Samuel and Ann Baker.

Baptisms. St Leonard’s, Deal (KFHS transcript)
1778  20 Feb  Lucy Ann Esther
1780  1 Mar  Maria
1781  2 Dec  Ann Martha
1785  1 May  Martha

No further mention is made in the records of Sarah, and we can assume that Ann is her real name.

In 1778, the year of Lucy’s birth, Frances Burney wrote of Deal in her diary as “a sad smuggling town.”[6] It was certainly notorious for its smugglers. Its proximity to continental ports, and the presence of so many boatmen to service the ships crowding the narrow passage of the Downs, meant that smuggling became a lucrative occupation in which hundreds of boatmen were involved. It led to violent clashes with Revenue men, coastguards, and sometimes troops.
In 1784, Samuel and Ann would have witnessed the devastation when the Prime Minister, William Pitt, sent troops to Deal to exact revenge on the smugglers. Seizing the advantage of wintry weather, they burned the fleet of Deal luggers drawn up on the beach. Though Samuel was not a boatman, he would have seen many other Deal men lose their livelihood that day. Their nine-year-old son Samuel Lilly may already have been helping on one of these boats.

Ann died three months after Martha’s birth. She was buried, not in Deal, but in Sandwich, where she had been born. So was baby Martha a week later.[7] Her parents were also buried in Sandwich, though living in Deal.

Burials. St Clement’s, Sandwich
1785  2 Aug  Baker, Ann  wife of Samuel (from Deal)  31 y/o
1785  9 Aug,  Baker, Martha  inf of the above  4m.

The following year, Samuel remarried.

Marriage. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1786  4 Jul.  Samuel Baker of this parish  Mary Newton of this parish
Witnesses: John Sole, Isaac Newton

Mary was the daughter of James and Mary Newton of Deal. Isaac was probably her brother.
Mary, like Ann before her, was the same age as Samuel. She had remained unmarried until she was 32.
In 1749, James Newton, barber, took on an apprentice.

This marriage is followed by baptisms for six children of Samuel and Mary Baker.

Baptisms. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1787  26 March  James, s/o Samuel & Mary Baker.  P.R.

This first child died at the age of two. The record of his burial is the first information we have about Samuel’s occupation. The sexton’s accounts for St George’s chapel in Lower Deal record who paid for the funeral, who was the deceased, what kind of grave they had and where. They include the following entry:

29.11.1789  Samuel Baker Pipe maker. A son, feet cloase to William Newton Stone  2 y.o.

This is clearly little James. William Newton is not his grandfather, whose name was James Newton. He may be another of Mary’s brothers.

A second James was baptised the following year.
1790  2 May  James Isaac
1791  16 October  Andrew Wright

Two months later, Andrew also seems to have died. His burial is probably the following.
Burial. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1791  4 Dec.  And. Baker

Two more sons were born.

Baptisms. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1792  18 October  William Newton, s/o Samuel & Mary Baker.
1794  3 December  Andrew Wright

Again tragedy struck the unhappy couple.
Burial. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1795  12 Jul. Wm. Newton Baker

Little William was buried in the churchyard of St George’s chapel with his brother. The sexton records:
12.7.1795  Samuel Baker.  Child S. of the other.  2.

Finally a daughter was born.
1796  20 January  Mary Edwards, d/o Samuel & Mary Baker.

Like three of her brothers before her, little Mary Edwards died in infancy.

Burial. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1796  6 Oct.  My. Edwards Baker.

In none of the parish register entries is Samuel designated as ‘Mr’, as the gentry usually were. His will states him to be ‘Samuel Baker Gentleman’. It is not clear at what stage in his life he was accorded that status. Samuel Lilly Baker, the son of his first marriage, became one of the often notorious Deal boatmen. Though there was good money to be made from salvage work, it sits oddly with Samuel’s later designation as a gentleman. It suggests that Samuel may have risen in social status through his marriage to Mary Newton.

Samuel and Mary had seen the loss of the American colonies in the War of Independence in the 1770s. The end of the century saw hostilities come much closer to home with the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Deal was only 22 miles from the French coast. Townspeople, who had cursed Pitt’s name as the luggers burned, now cheered as he entertained the Dukes of York and Portland to watch the embarkation of troops by the Deal boatmen in 1799. Samuel and Mary and the their children were doubtless among the ‘immense concourse of all descriptions, who testified their loyalty and zeal by the loudest huzzas and acclamations.’[8]

The 1801 census records only the householder’s name.[9] Samuel was then living in King Street and heading a household of five males and one female. His daughters by his first marriage were probably married themselves or working away from home. The only son of that marriage, Samuel Lilly Baker, was now 25 and heading his own household in Short Street.
This first census had three columns for the numbers employed in ‘Agriculture’, ‘Trade, etc.’, and ‘All Others’. The large number of boatmen in Deal led to most householders and their families being listed under ‘All Others’. Samuel Baker was in the minority, listing four of his household as engaged in trade, and only two ‘others’. We may assume that seven-year-old Andrew was one of the ‘others’ and perhaps Mary, unless she was helping Samuel in the business. Eleven-year-old James may possibly have been helping to make or sell pipes. The other males may have been apprentices or assistants.

On 10 Oct 1805, Samuel Baker was made a Freeman of Deal. Being a freeman of a town gave you the right to trade there, which was often denied to outsiders.

On 16 Dec this year, the Victory appeared off the South Foreland, carrying the remains of Lord Nelson, who had been killed at the Battle of Trafalgar. The Kentish Gazette recorded: “The blue flag at the fore was hoisted half mast as was her ensign, which was done by all the ships in the Downs lowering their pennants and ensigns to half-mast.”[10]

The 1811 census shows only one Samuel Baker. There were six males in the household and four females. All ten are classed as ‘Other’ by occupation. This does not sound like Samuel’s family, since none of them is engaged in trade. It would, however, fit very well with his son, the boatman Samuel Lilly Baker, his wife and eight children. Samuel Lilly is not recorded in this census under his full name. There is another entry for ‘Mr Baker’. This household has two males and one female. One of them is engaged in trade and two are ‘others’. This could be Samuel, Mary and their youngest surviving son, Andrew. We must be cautious about this identification, since there were other Bakers of higher status than Samuel in Deal. But the statistics are certainly compatible with this reading. It may be the first reference to him as ‘Mr’. This census does not give addresses. Their son James appears elsewhere in this census, in a house occupied by two families. There are three males and two females. Two are engaged in trade and three are ‘others’. There are indications from his will that James followed Samuel in the pipemaking business.[11]

By 1821 Samuel had the house in Middle Street which he left to Mary for the rest of her life. But the family do not appear to be living in it yet. Only one of the columns on the census form is filled. It says that Samuel has ‘Other houses now inhabited’.

Samuel’s will, made on 27 May 1824, adds greatly to this picture.[12] By now, he, Mary and James Isaac are living in a house in Middle Street, which they lease from the Archbishop of Canterbury. He also has 2½ acres of arable land in Deal, also leased from the Archbishop, which his son Andrew Wright Baker is occupying, as well as other, unspecified, real esate. In addition, he has a brewery and a public house in Walmer, with stables, outhouses and ground, also leasehold, from a different landowner.
That he still saw himself more as a craftsman than a gentleman is evidenced by provision in his will for ‘the placing out Apprentice or otherwise for the preferment and advancement in the world of any of the said Legatees’. He must have been thinking, in particular, of his grandchildren.
It may be that the brewery and public house came to him from Mary’s side of the family and that with this second marriage he had risen in the world.

Samuel Baker died in 1825 at the age of 71.

Burial. Deal. (KFHS transcript)
18 Oct 1825  Samuel Baker   Middle St   71 y.o.

In St George’s cemetery there is a stone propped against the wall, which reads:[13]


Samuel’s will shows him to be a wealthy man. He left Mary his household goods and an annuity of £40. She also had the use of the house in Middle Street, rent free, for life. Subject to this, the leasehold house and land was given to James Isaac, the eldest son of his second marriage, along with his other removable property.
The only son of his first marriage, Samuel Lilly Baker, was already dead when Samuel made this will in 1824. Samuel left £50 to be shared equally between Samuel Lilly’s six children.
He also left £50 to his daughter Lucy Ann Esther, who had married Richard Baker, carpenter, of Walmer, £50 to his daughter Maria, who had married John Smith, mariner, of Deal, £50 to his daughter Ann Aggar, widow of Deal, and £50 to a son of his second marriage, Andrew Wright Baker.
His oldest surviving son, James Isaac, was one of his executors and inherited £500.
All his real estate, including the 2½ acres in Deal currently occupied by Andrew, were to be held in trust by his executors to provide his widow Mary with an income for life. After her death, Andrew or his heirs would inherit the Deal land and the brewery and public house in Walmer, subject to their paying the due rents.
All the rest of his money, stocks, due debts, etc, and personal property, should be converted by his executors into money and the trust funds divided as follows: a quarter for his six grandchildren by Samuel Lilly or their heirs, a quarter for Lucy or her heirs, a quarter for Maria or her heirs, a quarter for Ann or her heirs. Common law assumed that a husband had rights to his wife’s property. It was necessary for bequests to a woman to be couched in legal language which ensured that the money was for her exclusive use and that neither her husband nor his creditors had any claim over it. The young people’s trust money could be used to equip them for a trade or other career.
Samuel Baker, Gentleman’s choice of executors is significant. He chose his eldest surviving son, James, and his friends, Comfort Kingsmill, upholsterer, of Deal, and James West Shrewsbury, gentleman of Deal. Socially, he seems poised on the borderline between the gentry and the class of successful craftsmen and tradesmen.

Mary survived him by seven years.

Burial. St Leonard’s, Deal. (KFHS transcript)
1832  8 Apr.  Mary Baker.  Middle St.  79.


[1] John Laker, History of Deal. T.F.Pain & Sons, Deal, 1917.
[2] Quoted in Laker, p.289.
[3] Helen Nobbs, lenka54@aol.com
[4] Helen Nobbs
[5] Tom Doig, DFHS Conference, Oct ?2003.
[6] Early Diary of Frances Burney II, 1778, p.325.
[7] Helen Nobbs.
[8] Laker
[9] KFHS transcript
[10] Laker, p.320.
[11] Helen Nobbs.
[12] Helen Nobbs
[13] Helen Nobbs.





Baker Tree