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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)



RICHARD TOMLYN. There is a baptism at St Leonards, Deal, for Richard, son of Richard Tomlin and Mary his wife on 19 June 1720.

No marriage has been found for his parents, so we do not know Mary’s maiden name.

He had a sister two years younger, but she died aged less than six months. His mother’s burial has not been found and it is possible she also died around this time. There were no more children.

Richard’s grandfather, another Richard Tomlin, was the master of a hooker. It is likely that this younger Richard grew up in Lower Deal and that his own father was a boatman.

By the early 1700s, Deal ranked as a major English naval port alongside Portsmouth, Plymouth and Rochester. There was no harbour or docks though, only a dockyard on land between the beach and today’s Victoria Road.[1]

In the following century, Dickens wrote of Deal in Bleak House:

At last we came into the narrow streets of Deal, and very gloomy they were upon a raw misty morning. The long flat beach, with its little irregular houses, wooden and brick, and its litter of capstans, and great boats, and sheds, and bare upright poles with tackle and blocks, and loose gravelly waste places overgrown with grass and weeds, wore as dull an appearance as any place I ever saw.

  This may have been after Deal lost much of its prosperity with the advent of faster steamships which bypassed this port. But the general layout would have been the same in Richard’s time.

 Deal Seafront


Unusually, Richard and Sarah’s wedding has been found in the register of Clandestine Marriages conducted at the Fleet Prison in London.

1743 Nov 2  Tomlin Richd  Mariner of Deal in Kent Bat. & Sarah Lambert of St Paul’s, Shadwell, Widow.

Clandestine marriages were conducted by ordained clergy, but without banns or licence. Prisons fell outside the jurisdiction of the bishop.

“In the 1740s, over half of all London weddings were held at the Fleet (over 6500 per year).

“The main appeal of clandestine marriages was seemingly for reasons of cost. Other reasons for their popularity included the avoidance of the need to obtain parental consent, and also to conceal embarrassing pregnancies.

“In 1711, Parliament passed legislation which included an attempt to deal with the problem of such clandestine marriages being conducted in prisons. A clause was included in the act to counter the loss of revenue (from non-payment of stamp duties) caused by clandestine marriages. The clause continued the imposition of fines for any person in ‘holy orders’ conducting a marriage but also introduced the same fine for any prison keeper who permitted such a marriage at his prison. While this prevented the marriages being performed inside the prisons, it did not prevent them being conducted in other locations in the vicinity of the prisons: e.g. the Liberties (or Rules) of the Fleet.

“Fleet Prison was primarily a debtors prison and stood on the east bank of the Fleet River in what is now Farringdon Street, London. The marriages performed at the Fleet involved all classes from London and the surrounding counties, but mainly catered for artisans, farmers, labourers and craftsmen from the poorer parishes of London, soldiers (including Chelsea Pensioners), and particularly sailors.” [3]

Fleet prison marriage [4]


SARAH LAMBERT. Because she was a widow when she married Richard, we do not know Sarah’s maiden name.

There is a baptism for Sarah Lambert at St Paul’s Shadwell on 20 April 1724. This would make Sarah 19 at the time of her marriage to Richard. Her father, the cordwainer Edward Lambert, was deceased. Her mother Elizabeth was living at Cow Lane. The baby was 8 days old.

This is probably not the widow Sarah Lambert, but may be part of her husband’s family.

Shadwell was a dockland area in London’s East End and many of its inhabitants were mariners. This may be how Sarah’s first husband got to know Richard.


The couple set up home in Deal. The baptisms of their children are recorded in the register of St Leonard in Upper Deal. But Sarah and Richard’s burials show that they were using the chapel of ease, St George’s, in Lower Deal. This was the seamen’s church, close to the shore.

Baptisms. St Leonard, Deal.
Mary  27 Jan 1745/6
Richard  6 Mar 1746/7.
Sarah  24 Jul 1748
James  26 Dec 1750

Anne  17 Nov 1752
Eleanor  22 Nov  1754.
Richard was buried on  1 Aug 1755, aged nine.
Eleanor was buried on 30 July 1756, aged one.
Martha  5 Nov 1756


We have a document from 1746 that may refer either to Richard, who would have been aged 26, or his father at 52. The order of the names suggests that this Richard Tomlin was the skipper of the boat. This would be in the tradition of Richard’s grandfather. Either way, Richard came from a seafaring family and is likely to have followed the same calling.

1746 Feb 12: [5]

Thomas Corbett. We are to hire a Deal boat for Rear Admiral Mayne, similar to that arranged for Admiral Vernon and Rear Admiral Martin. The crew arranged for Admiral Mayne is; Richard Tomlin, John Howling, Stephen Norris, William Fleming, Abraham Walker and Edward Read, the same men as served Admiral Vernon. They should be entered on the books of the Princess Louisa for pay and rations. They have not been able to find men at a lower rate than 40s p.m. which we think unreasonable and ask for further instructions.


In 1761 there was a burial at St George’s for “Mrs Tomlin”. The title “Mrs” was usually given to the gentry. We do not know how closely she may have been related to Richard.

Burial. St George, Deal
1769  May 11  Sarah wife of Richd  Tomlin  1s
1770 July 23 Richard Tomlin 1s

Unless the deceased had a pauper’s funeral, there was a fee of 1s for the burial.



[1] DealWeb: a Brief history of Deal.
[2] K. Warren, Deal Seafront, Kent. https://d3d00swyhr67nd.cloudfront.net/w1200h1200/KT/KT_DOV_025_027.jpg
[3] General Register Office: Registers of Clandestine Marriages and of Baptisms in the Fleet Prison, King’s Bench Prison, the Mint and the May Fair Chapel   .https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C13332
[4] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/FleetStreetMarriage_300dpi.jpg/450px-FleetStreetMarriage_300dpi.jpg
[5] National Archives: ADM 354/132/30




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