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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 GALLEN was born in Sandford in 1628. Sandford lies just north of Crediton on fertile red farmland. John was at least the third generation of the Gallen family to live there.

He was the son of John Gallen and Pascha Atkyns. They had him baptised at St Swithun’s, Sandford, in June 1628, early in the reign of Charles I.

Baptism. St Swithun’s, Sandford. (DCRS transcript)
1628  John s. John Gallen & Pascha his w.  June 29

John was the second of their children to survive infancy, and their eldest son.


John became a husbandman on this good farming land. He married a wife from outside the parish.


MARGERY was apparently not living in Sandford at the time of her marriage to John. The parish in which the wedding took place has not yet been found, nor do we know where she was baptised.


Both would have been working teenagers when the Civil War broke out in 1642. They must have married in the years of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth. They made Sandford their home and produced a further generation of Gallens. At that time, there was civil registration of births, rather than the record of church baptisms.

Births, Sandford. (DCRS transcripts)
1654  An infant feamall of John Gallings bo. 20 March, called Agnes.

Agnes was buried on April 12.

1654(5)  An inf. Female of John Gallings bo. 30 Jan & is called Agnes.

In May 1660, Charles I, son of the executed Charles I, was restored to the throne. The parish register hails this year with the entry:

Nunc anni confusionis praeteri erant. (Now the years of disorder were over.)

The first birth entry which follows this is:

1660  John s John Galen borne March 27.

The practice of recording baptisms, rather than births, is restored with the monarchy.

1661(2)  Gilbert s John Gallen & Margery w.  Jan 20
1664  Margery d John Galling & Margery w.  Nov 5

There is a baptism for Charity, daughter of John Galling and Margaret, on 16 July 1667. Margaret could be an alternative version of Margery, and there is no other baptism for this couple in Sandford, but the birth seems too close to the following baptism for Joane.

1667(8)  Joane d John Galling & Margery w.  Jan 21

Charity died at the age of nineteen.


The Civil War had left deep scars on society in Devon. Broadly speaking, we can identify areas which were for Parliament or King (mostly Parliament in Devon). But communities, and even families, were divided amongst themselves. Many who had supported Cromwell during the war experienced doubt and grief at the execution of Charles I. By the end of the Commonwealth period opinion had turned against the Puritan regime.

Before his execution, in 1649, Charles had claimed he was ‘a martyr to the people’. After the Restoration, he was so recognised. In 1664 a church in Plymouth, the only church to be built in Devon this century, was dedicated to King Charles the Martyr. January 30, the date of his execution, was declared a day of fasting in perpetuity, and marked throughout the country with special prayers of repentance.

This was followed in 1673 by an Act of Parliament requiring a service of Thanksgiving to be made every year on the 29th May for the restoration of the monarchy. How many of Sandford attended that service, if it was not on a Sunday or major festival, we do not know.


In 1684 John Gallen, Edward Addams the elder and Edward Addams the younger signed a bond for two pounds and ten shillings to Matthew Pope and Thomas Lee, Guardians of the church at Sandford, or their successors. They bound themselves to repay it on 26th March 1687. A note on the outside of the folded and sealed document names John Gallinge Junr. Since there is a John in each generation, it is unclear which one this is. It could be John and Margery’s son, who would now be 24, or Margery’s husband, if his father was still alive.

The first half of the document is in Latin, but it describes ‘Johannum Gallon’ as ‘husbandman’.

There is no indication of what they needed the money for.

On the back of the folded bond is written ‘lost money’. Perhaps they never repaid it.

John Gallen’s name does not appear on other bonds, but one or both Edward Addamses borrowed on several other occasions.


There is a likely burial for John in 1688, the year which saw the last Stuart king, James II, swept away in an almost bloodless Revolution, bringing William III and Mary II to the throne.

Burial. St Swithun’s, Sandford. (DCRS transcript)
1688  John Galling Senr.  Sep. 29

This could be John’s father, if he lived to 85, but since John and Margery had their own adult son named John by now, it is more likely to be this John Galling. If so, he died aged 60.

Margery may have lived on until this burial in 1694.

1694  Margery Gallen.  Aug 12.

But since she is not said to be either a wife or a widow, this is probably the couple’s 30-year-old unmarried daughter Margery.

There is another burial four years later.

1698  John Galling.  May 17.

If the earlier burial was not his, this one could be Margery’s husband. But this John is not defined as Senior or Junior, and so is more likely to be their elder son, now the only surviving John Galling in the parish.

At the close of the century comes this burial.

1699  Margaret Galling wid.  July 17.

This is clearly Charity’s mother. It remains uncertain whether she is the same person as Margery.






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