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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)

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JOHN CLAYSON. Since Hilliard was used as a baptismal name by some Deal Claysons, it was thought that John might be the seventh and youngest child of Henry Classon and Mary Hilliard, baptised on 9 Aug 1699 at St Nicholas, Rochester. Mary Hilliard was from Deal. It now seems more likely that he is the fourth of five sons of Mark Clarkson and Bennett Page,  baptised in Barham on 16 January 1703.[1] This John appears in the marriage records as John Classon.

The year before his birth, William of Orange had died and his sister-in-law, Queen Anne, came to the throne.

At least two of John’s sons, and the descendants of some of his daughters, were styled as gentlemen. There is no evidence yet that John and his father were, but we may assume that his family had a fairly high social status. This is more apparent in his mother’s background.

At the time of his marriage he was said to be “of Nonington”. Barham and Nonington are 3 miles apart, and halfway between Canterbury and Deal.


SARAH ERRIDGE was from Ringwould, a village just south of Deal. She was baptised there on 1 May 1709. She was the daughter of the yeoman Robert Erridge and Elizabeth Mackeney.[2]

She was the youngest of six children born in Ringwould. A previous Sarah died in infancy.

Although she married in Canterbury, Sarah’s parish was said to Ringwould.


John Classon and Sarah Erridge married in St Margaret’s, Canterbury on 22 Nov 1732. Classon is another version of John’s surname.

Around this time, John’s younger brother Vincent died in his twenties, and his older brother William in his thirties. Another brother Mark had died at 18. We do not know what happened to the eldest son Josias. It seems only John had sons to carry on the name. This seems to be the time at which the surname is changing from Clarkson to Clayson. The spelling of names often depended on which clergyman entered them in the register. In the parish of Elham the switch from Clarkson to Clayson coincides with the appointment of a new vicar in 1773.

Two boys, Robert and John, sons of John Clarkson, were baptised in Barham on 24 June 1733 and 5 June 1735, respectively.  There are no more Clarkson entries in the Barham register.

Four more sons, offspring of John and Sarah Clayson, were baptised at St Mary’s, Walmer: Mark on 5 February 1737, Edward, who died in infancy, another Edward baptised on 25 February 1742, and William on 31 March 1745.

This identification of the families is supported by the will of William in 1807. He names all his brothers, in order of age: Robert, John, Mark and Edward. A search of the baptismal registers for the surrounding parishes points to the Clarkson boys of Barham being the only suitable identification for Robert and John.

Further support comes from the marriage of Mary Clayson, a minor, in Deal in 1776. She was said to be the daughter of William Clayson of Barham. The Barham registers include no Claysons in the 18th century. There is, however, a Mary, daughter of William Clarkson, baptised in 1756, and thus still a minor in 1776. There is also a likely identification between William Sergeant Clayson, baptised in Elham, and William Sergeant Clarkson, whose daughter was baptised in Barham. And James Clarkson, baptised in Barham, seems to be the James Clayson who appears in the censuses in Nonington and Ringwould.


By now, the house of Hanover was well established. While John and Sarah were still children, the death in 1714 of Anne, the last Stuart queen, triggered the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, when her half-brother James Stuart tried to regain his father’s throne. As the Claysons completed their family, the Young Pretender, Charles Stuart made a similar unsuccessful attempt in1745.


There is a burial in Ringwould for John Clayson  on 3 Nov 1761. John would have been 58. And another, also in Ringwould, on 22 Nov. 1779, which would make John 76. An earlier burial in Barham for John Clarkson was on 6 Oct 1749, when John would have been only 46. Ringwould is only 2 miles from Walmer, where the younger children were born, and was Sarah’s birthplace.


There is a burial in Ringwould on 1 Aug 1766 for Sarah Clayson. If this is the right identification, Sarah would have been 57.


It is possible that their eldest son, Robert, became a cordwainer, making shoes or other leather goods; the baptism of Jane, daughter of Robert Clayson, cordwainer, is recorded on 16 April 1760. However, the inclusion of his occupation may be to distinguish him from another Robert Clayson in the same place. Robert and his wife Jane moved to Thanet.

The second son, John, and his wife Ann moved from Dover to the inland village of Eythorne.

Mark married Ann Morris. He was buried at St Leonard’s, Deal on 28 March 1810.

Edward was a shipbuilder. His first wife was Amy Edwards. In his will, proved in 1828, he describes himself as ‘Edward Clayson of the Town of Deal in the County of Kent, gentleman’.

The youngest, William, married Anne Elgar. Mark and William Clayson are recorded in a directory of 1791 as linen drapers. These may well be John and Sarah’s sons, though the Clayson website has William as a mariner.[3] He died in 1808. In his will, he describes himself as ‘William Clayson of the Town and Borough of Deal in the county of Kent, Gentleman’. Amongst other bequests, he left £50 each to four of his brother John’s daughters: Sarah, Mary, Charlotte and Ann.


[1] Brenda Hopkin, who did the research on the change of name from Clarkson to Clayson.
[2] Other genealogical information from Findmypast: Canterbury Archdeaconry records, Brenda Hopkin, www.claysontree.com
[3] Universal British Directory 1791; www.claysontree.com







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