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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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WILLIAM HAMLYN was the son of John Hamlyn and Jane Wreyford. He was baptised on 13 May 1655 at the parish church of Moretonhampstead on the eastern edge of Dartmoor.

He was the fourth child and the third son of six children. It is possible that his father was married before and that there were at least two surviving half-siblings from this marriage.

His great-uncle John Southmead had been the leading figure in the Puritan reformation of Moreton, responsible for the appointment of the godly Rector Francis Whiddon. Following the Civil War, in the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell, many games and traditional festivities were suppressed. William would have been too young to be deeply affected by this. He was only five when the monarchy was restored under the licentious Charles II.


William became a yeoman farmer, so it is likely he was from farming stock.

He is probably the same William Hamlyn who married Grace Tuckfield in 1681. William would have been a typical 26.

This couple had three children.

1681(2) February. Grace, who died in 1683.
1683 April. Joan, who died at 8 months.
1684 December. Jane.

Grace herself died in 1686.


ELIZABETH ADAMS The most likely baptism for Elizabeth is in Moretonhampstead in 1675.

Baptism. St Andrew, Moretonhampstead.
1675 Aug 1   Elizabeth daughter of Edward Addam

This would make her 20 at the time of her marriage.

She was the seventh of nine children of Edward Adams and Joane Coumb.



Marriage. Moretonhampstead, St Andrews. (DCRS transcript)
1695  Hamlin Wm X Elizabeth Adams.  6 Aug.

They had a number of children baptised in Moreton.


Baptism. Moretonhampstead, St Andrews.
1697(8)  February 20 was Baptized John sonne of Wiliam Hamlin
1699(1700) January 07 was Baptized Margarett daughter of Wm Hamlin
1701  May 18 was Baptized Mary daughter of Wm Hamlin
1702  March 14 was Baptized Elizabeth daughter of Wm Hamlin
1707(8)  Hamlyn, Grace d of William.  20 Jan
1710  Hamlyn, William s of William 14 May
1714(5)  January 30 was Baptized Thomas Son of William Hamlyn


From William’s will, there appears to be another daughter, Sarah, whose baptism has not been found in Moreton, and a daughter Jane, who may possibly be the surviving daughter from William’s earlier marriage to Grace Tuckfield.

All these children survived infancy, evidence that the family was reasonably well off.


Moretonhampstead was at the peak of its prosperity as a cloth manufacturing town in the 17th and 18th centuries. If William was farming sheep, he would have shared in that prosperity. Other kinds of farming, too, would have benefited from the increase in population and the greater demand for food.


In 1716, William and Elizabeth’s third daughter Elizabeth was married to Richard Battishill at the age of 13. Only the daughters of well-to-do families could afford to marry so young, when they were not strong enough for a life of physical work and childbearing without servants.


On 24 December 1719, William, ‘very sick and weak’, made his will. He is described as: ‘William Hamlyn the elder of Moreton hampstead, yeo.’ He bequeathed to his eldest son John, ‘all the right in the Copps belonging to the estate which I now occupy, called Willaway or North eastway’. This wording indicates that William had previously farmed elsewhere.

Lower Willowray is listed by English Heritage as a former farmhouse, 17th century or earlier. It lies between Wray Barton and Moor Wood Cottage, on the Moreton to Bovey Tracey road. Not far on down the road the modern OS map shows East Wray. Willowray may well have been known once as North Eastwray.

Farmland around Wray Barton. [1]


The Hamlyns’ neighbours at Wray Barton were the Southmeads, a prominent family in Moreton’s history. They were connected to the Hamlyns through William’s maternal grandmother Isaach Southmead. Five generations later, Moorwood, on the other side of Willowray, was the last known address of Charlotte Lee and her husband Richard, an agricultural labourer, before they moved on to St Budeaux on the edge of Plymouth.

Most bequests were of money to William’s other children and grandchildren, including his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Richard Battshill. These sums amounted to £18.8s. The residue of the estate, including all his possessions, went to his widow Elizabeth.

William died a week or two later.

Burial. Moretonhampstead, St Andrews.
1719(20)  January 5 was Buried William Hamlyn Senr.

He was 64.


Elizabeth survived him by 25 years. She was 69 when she died.

Burial. Moretonhampstead, St Andrews.
1744/5 Jan 24  Elizabeth Hamlin


[1] Derek Harper. http://s0.geograph.org.uk/photos/17/66/176658_70b494d2.jpg







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