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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



 STEPHEN HAMMET was born in the reign of Charles II, in the tiny parish of Cheldon. He was the last child of Simon and Mary Hammett.

Baptism. St Mary, Cheldon.
1679(80)  Stephen Hamett son of Simon Hamett and Mary his wife was baptized ye 27th of January 

Cheldon is four miles from Chulmleigh, by a narrow lane and a bridlepath.

His father Simon was a well-respected figure in the parish. He was churchwarden at  least twice. When a new church tower was being built, Simon provided some of the materials and went to Exeter to fetch a new bell. He may have been a yeoman farmer, with timber on his land.

But when Stephen was only one year old, his father died. We know no more about his childhood and early life.


He was in his early thirties when he married for the first time. He found his bride, Anne, in the neighbouring parish of Chawleigh, two miles away across the Little Dart.

Marriage. St James, Chawleigh. (DRO transcript)
1712(3) Stephen Hammett and Anne his wife were married 7 Feb

Unusually, and unfuriatingly, the Chawleigh registers at this time rarely give the bride’s maiden name. Nor is Stephen’s parish recorded. He is unlikely to have been living in Chawleigh, since there are no subsequent baptisms for the couple there. Nor are there any in the larger town of Chulmleigh, where he next appears. He could still be living in his birth parish of Cheldon, but there is a gap in the record of baptisms at this period, so we do not know whether children were born to Stephen and Anne there.

Some time in the next eleven years, he and Anne moved to Chulmleigh. Anne died and was buried

Burial. Chulmleigh.
Ann the wife of Sthephen Hammet was buried the 5 day of May 1724.

Stephen married again, only four months later. He had been associated with Chulmleigh long enough for this to have become his legal parish. His second wife was also born in Chawleigh.


HAGAR BOAVINS has been difficult to pin down in the registers because her unusual name has led to some inacurate transcriptions.

She is almost certainly the daughter of John Boavins of Chawleigh. Chawleigh stands on high ground between the Taw and the Little Dart, two miles south-east of Chulmleigh.

Baptism. Chawleigh. (DRO transcript)
1699  Hag – –  the daughter of John Boavins was baptized the 25 March

In Genesis, Hagar was the Egyptian maid of Abraham’s wife Sarah, and the mother of Abraham’s first child, Ishmael. Six generations later, Hagar Collings’ great-great-great-great-grandson was baptised Edmer Ismail Sampson.

Three of Hagar’s five known siblings died, leaving her the older sister to two brothers.


By the time of her marriage, she had moved to the nearby town of Chulmleigh. Her father died two years before she married, but Hagar may already have been at work in Chulmleigh. She probably became a parishioner there by virtue of an apprenticeship or a yearly contract of work. She was 25 when she married the 44-year-old widower Stephen Hammett.


Marriage. Chulmleigh.
Stephen Hammett and Hago Boivings was married the 13th day of September 1724.

In later register entries her first name is correctly written as Hagar. Her surname appears to have been inserted in the marriage register by a different, clumsier hand. It is difficult to read, but Boivings is the probable intention. It may be that Hagar herself struggled to fill in her surname, when the parish clerk or minister had trouble understanding what she was telling them.


The baptisms of four children of this marriage are recorded. The first daughter may have been named after Stephen’s first wife. Their second son bears the name of Stephen’s father. He died before he was one month old.

Baptisms. Chulmleigh.
Ann ye daughter of Stephen Hamet was Baptized ye 9 of June 1725
1726(7)  Stephen Son of Stephen Hammet by Hagar his Wife was baptized the 4th January
1728  Symon Son of Stephen Hammet by Hagar his wife was baptized April 4th
1728  Symon Hammet was buried April 23th
1729  Hagar Daughter of Stephen Hammet by Hagar his wife was baptized May 14th

Two years later, the mother Hagar died.

Burial. Chulmleigh
1731  Hagar wife of Stephen Hammet was buried May 14th

She was 32.

Her death date is just too late for it to be the same Stephen Hammet who married Elizabeth Webber in Chulmleigh in 1730. Stephen and Elizabeth Hammet had seven children.


The Chulmleigh register also records:
Easter Duties Collected for ye yeare 1732

                                 £ s d
Stephen Hammet  0.0.4

4d was the standard rate paid by most men in the parish. A few gentry paid more. This Stephen is the only member of the Hammet family on the list.

There are copious Poor Law records surviving for Chulmleigh in the 18th century. There is, so far, no sign that the Hammet family needed relief.

In 1758, the marriage of Stephen and Hagar’s daughter Ann to John Turner was witnessed by Stephen Hammet. This could have been either the bride’s father or her brother. The signature is in a competent hand, but Ann signs with her mark. Stephen’s father, Simon Hammet, was both literate and numerate, keeping his accounts in a clear and regular hand. Though Simon died when Stephen senior was still an infant, his son or grandson appears to have had some schooling, but Stephen did not extend this benefit to his daughter.

Whether Stephen was still alive when his daughter was married depends on the interpretation of the following burials. With Stephen, his son, and the husband of Elizabeth Webber, there appear to be at least three Stephen Hammets in Chulmleigh. It is difficult to be certain which of them these burials refer to.

Burials. Chulmleigh.
1744  Stephen Hammett. April ye 4. Affid. recd.
1762  Stephen Hammet  November ye 17th. Affid. Recd

 Stephen, husband of Hagar, would have been 64 in the first case, 82 in the second. The earlier one seems the more probable.

The Act of Burying in Wollen, passed in 1678 to benefit the wool trade, required that “no corpse of any person (except those who shall die of the plague) shall be buried in any shirt, shift, sheet or shroud or anythingsoever made or mingled with flax, hemp, silk, hair, gold or silver, or in any stuff or thing other than what is made of sheep’s wool only… or be put into any coffin lined or faced with any other material but sheep’s wool only”.

An affidavit had to be sworn to that effect before a Justice of the Peace, or a clergyman if a Justice was not available. There was a penalty of £5 for non-compliance. The Act was not repealed until 1814, but the practice had fallen into disuse long before that date.





Sampson Tree