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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




In 1714, the last of the Stuart monarchs, Queen Anne, died. She had had fifteen pregnancies, of which five had resulted in live births, but none of her children survived. The government did not offer the crown to her Catholic half-brother James, ‘the Old Pretender’. Instead, the Act of Settlement ensured the Protestant succession by passing it to her second cousin George, Elector of Hanover, despite the fact that this new king of England could not speak English.

Early next year, still 1714 by the old calendar, John Lockyear and Mary Brewer were among the first children to be born as subjects of the new House of Hanover.


JOHN LOCKYEAR was born in West Worlington, the son of William Lockear and his wife Judith.

Baptism. West Worlington.
1714(5)  John  son of William Lockear and Judith his wife was Baptized ye 7th of January.

Before his marriage, he had moved to the neighbouring parish of East Worlington.


MARY BREWER was born in the wool town of Witheridge. There is a baptism of a Mary, daughter of John and Elizabeth Brewer there in 1721, but the fact that she named one of her own daughters Emlyn makes it much more likely that her true baptism is that of Mary, daughter of Richard Brewer and Emling Bowdon on 9 March 1714 (5). This would also make her the same age as her husband, as was usual at that time.

Baptism. Witheridge.
1714(5)  Mary daughter of Richard Brewer & Emling his wife was baptized ye 9th day of March

Her father was a day-labourer, when she was born, but soon rose to be a mason. Her mother died when Mary was about 11 and her father remarried. Mary would probably have been out at work by then. It is not known what work she did, but her sister Emlyn was a maidservant.

At some point Mary moved from Witheridge to the nearby village of West Worlington, where she married.


Marriage. West Worlington.
1738(9)  John Lockyear of East Worlington and Mary Brewer of this Parish were married ye fifth Day of January. Banns.


The parish churches of East and West Worlington are only half a mile apart, on a narrow road that runs along the valley of the Little Dart towards Witheridge.


Celia Fiennes was the daughter of one of Oliver Cromwell’s colonels. From 1685 to 1712 she travelled about England, riding from the Scottish borders to Land’s End, and kept a journal of what she saw.

You cross a little brook into Devonshire which is much like Somersetshire – fruitfull Country’s for corn graseing, much for inclosures that makes the wayes very narrow, so as in some places a Coach and Waggons cannot pass; they are forced to carry their Corn and Carriages on horses backes with frames of wood like pannyers on either side the horse, so load it high and tye it with cords; this they do altogether the farther westward they goe for the wayes grow narrower and narrower on to the Lands End.


John and Mary made their home in East Worlington Two years later, Mary’s sister Emlyn, two years younger, came to East Worlington to marry. This wedding between master and servant took place discreetly outside their own parish of Meshaw. Possibly Emlyn stayed with John and Mary before the ceremony.


Marriage. East Worlington.
1740(1)  Janr 29  Mr James Marks & Emlyn Brewer his servt Maid  both of Meshaw  pd Licence.

The correct name of Mr Marks is given in the DRCS transcript of Exeter Marriage Licences.

1740-41  MARKS, George of Meshaw, yeoman and Emblyn Brewer of Thelbridge, spinster  Jan 26.

Thelbridge Barton lies two miles south of East Worlington, on the old road from Chulmleigh to Witheridge. The Thelbridge registers do not suggest that the whole Brewer family had moved there.

Further intriguing light on the identity of Emlyn’s husband is shed by an entry in the Meshaw burial register seven years later.

1748  Samuel Marks Baptized July the 16th and Buried the 28th of July, son of the Revd Mr George and Emlin his Wife.

Was George Marks already a clergyman when he married Emlin, and hid this from the diocesan authorities when applying for a marriage licence? Or was he ordained later? The fact that she was his servant suggests that he was more than a student. Was this a genuine love match across class boundaries, or did he get Emlyn pregnant and then, unusually, do the decent thing by her? As yet, no other children for this couple have been found.

 The East Worlington registers begin in 1725. The baptisms of John and Mary’s children are the earliest records of the Lockyear family in this parish.

Baptisms. East Worlington.
1742  May 24  Mary the daughter of John Lockyear & Mary his wife

This is followed the next year by a baptism for Elizabeth Lockyear, who may be John’s sister.

1743  May 19th  Robert ye (base) son of Elizabeth Lockyear

The following year Elizabeth was married to Henry Windsor.

1746  Richard Son of John Lockear  January 12th
1747  Joan  Daughter of John Lockyear  March 2nd
1751  Emlyn  daughter of John Lockyer  decembr 26th
1757  Robert  son of John Lockear  April 10

There was also a son William, whose baptism was not recorded in East Worlington.

Burial. East Worlington
1757  William  Son of John Lockear  September 11

There are no more Lockyear baptisms to this couple.


Mary’s fate differed from that of her sister Emlyn, who had married into a higher social class. Before their family was completed, the Lockyears seem to have fallen into poverty. John’s name appears frequently in the accounts of the Overseers of the Poor, and Mary’s once. There were typically about 10 recipients and the amounts given to John Lockyear are among the largest, perhaps reflecting the number of their children.

1752 Interest Money received
pd as followeth                     s  d
John Lockyear                     2  6

The Interest Money on Easter Monday 1753 was distributed in the manner as above.

1755 Disbursements
Pd for a pare of indenters for John Lockyers Boy             0  4  0

It was customary for the Overseers of the Poor to apprentice poor children, usually for husbandry or housewifery.

John Lockyear                      3  0
The above is the account of how the Money was disposed of 1757.
It was distributed in the year 1758 as above.

1759 Disbursements
pd Mary Lockear in time of Sickness               0  5  0
Ten shillings only were distributed 1759 as under
John Lockyear                      1  0
In the year 1760 10s were distributed in the same manner as above


Throughout the 1750s there are a number of entries similar to the following:

1752 Disbursements
pd A Company of Seamen that went with a pass            0  2  6

East Worlington appears today as a tiny village on a back lane. But in the eighteenth century it was obviously on the route of sailors who trekked across Devon from, say, Dartmouth to Bideford following the Mariners Way and could apparently claim hospitality from parishes on their road to another ship.


Payments to the Lockyears continued into the next decade.

April 12/1762 only 2 shillings Distributed as under
John Locker          0  0  2½

He did not feature in the monthly payments for the rest of the year.


The Interest Money on Easter Monday 1763 as followeth
John Lockyer        0  1  6
The Interest Money on Easter Monday 1764 as followeth.
John Locker          0  1  6
The Interest Money on Easter Monday 1765 as followeth.
John Locker          0  1  3
Interest Money on Easter Monday 1766 as followeth.
John Locker          0  1  3


John and Mary both died that year.

Burials. East Worlington.
1766  John Lockear  May 29
1766  Mary Lockear  July 30


In 1772, their daughter Joan Lockyear married John Edworthy of West Worlington. Neither were literate.

The next generation of Lockyear baptisms begins with John, son of Robert Lockear in 1780. It is difficult to be sure whether this Robert is John or Elizabeth Lockyear’s son. If he was a first child, he is more likely to be John’s grandson, whose father would have been 23, than Elizabeth’s, whose father would have been 37.

In the following decade there are some very interesting payments to Robert Lockyear by the Overseers of the Poor.

  1. pd Robt Lockyear in time of need 0 5  0
     pd for inoculating Robt Lockyear’s three children 0  15  0
    pd Robert Lockyer  0  5  0

This was inoculation against smallpox, but a surprisingly early reference. Edward Jenner did not begin to test the cowpox vaccine this same year, 1796. There was, however, an earlier form of inoculation. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the British ambassador to Turkey, had discovered that inoculation was being practised with considerable success in the Near East and Asia. She had her son inoculated in Constantinople in 1717 and her daughter when she returned to England. The practice subsequently became popular in this country.

The old inoculation, or variolation, … meant the artificial implantation of the smallpox (variola) virus itself. Such a procedure conferred immunity following what was usually only a sparse general eruption of pocks; this inoculated smallpox had a fatality rate much lower than that of naturally acquired smallpox but spread the severe disease to the unprotected.

Encyclopædia Britannica.

It is surprising to find the Overseers paying for poor children to be vaccinated at this early date. There is no record of any other poor family receiving it. It may be that someone in the family, possibly Robert, was suffering from the disease.

1798? pd …. Lockyers Wife in time of need.                  0 18  6
1799  pd  towards Robt Lockyears Childs Funeral        0  7  0
1800  pd  Robt Lockyer in distress                                  0  9  6
1800  pd  Mr Blake’s Bill for Robt Lockyer                     0 10  6
         pd  Robt Lockyer in time of need                              0  3  0
1801 Due to the Parish Easter  Robt Lockyer                  0  1  6






Sampson Tree