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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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THOMAS HILL’s parentage cannot be established with certainty. He married in Colebrooke in 1669, giving him a probable birth date around the early 1640s. There is a birth about 1636 for Thomas, son of Edward Hill and Katherine Westcote in the parish of Shobrook, which lies on the other side of Crediton from Colebrooke. But neither of these are names he used for his children. Since he called his only son Thomas, this is more likely to have been his father’s name, and the fact that he raised his family in Colebrooke means this was probably already his home.

There was indeed an older Thomas Hill raising a family in Colebrooke around 1640. We have the baptism of his son William in 1641, and the burial of another son Christopher in 1643. But there are gaps in the register from 1642 to 1649, the time of the Civil War. Christopher’s baptism has not been found, and a record of the baptism of the younger Thomas around that period could well have been lost too. There is no evidence of another Hill couple having children in Colebrooke at this time.

If this conjecture is right, then his father was the parish constable and probably a farmer. In 1646, a Thomas Hill was paying rates for the properties of ‘fford and Elley’, though he could be from an older generation. After Thomas the constable’s death, Widow Hill also paid rates for ‘Elay’. It is therefore probable that young Thomas grew up on the farm of Elley, just south of Lower Town on the slopes below Colebrooke village, four miles west of Crediton. The family must have been respected in the village for the older Thomas to be elected to this office. He must also have been in good standing with the Puritan County Commissioners during the Interregnum after the beheading of Charles I. Young Thomas would have taken pride in seeing his father riding off across the county on parish business. On the other hand, his father would have had to enforce the strict laws on Sunday observance, etc., and this may have caused resentment from the other village children.


THAMZIN CORKERAM’s baptism in Colebrooke may also have been lost.  But there are three other possibilities in nearby villages. Thomasine Cockeram, daughter of John and Siblie, was baptised in Sandford, northwest of Colebrooke, on 13 Feb 1637(8); Thamazine Cockeram, daughter of Nicholas and Mary, in neighbouring Crediton on 27 Oct 1639; and Thomazin Cockram, daughter of Anthony and Deborath, on 1 May 1646 in Coldridge, a little further north.

The most likely is the Sandford family. There are few Corkerams in the Colebrooke registers, but in 1676, Sabella Cokram was buried there. This could well be Thamzin’s mother, who may have moved there as a widow to live with her daughter. The dates would fit well with what we know of John and Siblie Cockeram of Sandford. Furthermore, Thamzin’s daughter Wilmot, though born in Colebrooke, was living in Sandford when she married. She shared a double wedding in Exeter with Thomas Cockram of Sandford, strongly suggesting there was a family connection between them.

Thamzin’s family were of some status in Sandford. In 1631, and perhaps in other years, her father served as churchwarden. He was able to sign his name. Her mother appears to have come from an extended family of well-to-do farmers.

Thomas and Thamzin grew up in the time of the Civil War and Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth.

Thamzin and her younger sister Sybly seem to have had a good relationship with the wealthy widow, Elizabeth Lane of Yeoland in Sandford. Elizabeth’s second husband, John Lane, had died in 1642, early in the Civil War. Ten years later, when Thamzin was eleven, Elizabeth Lane made a very long and detailed will, in which she left ‘To Sybly & Thomazine Cockerham daughters of John Cockerham 10s apiece’. No relationship between them is stated, but it seems likely that she was the girls’ aunt by marriage. She left nothing to Thamzin’s brothers. Perhaps she felt that girls usually lost out in the matter of inheritance. Or it may be that she had a particular affection for Thamzin and Sybly. Perhaps the girls had provided her with company in her widowhood. They may even have lived with her, helping in her household. They probably went to her grand funeral in Stockleigh English, for which she allocated the very large sum of £40 in her will.

Thamzin’s father died in Sandford in 1655, when she was 17. She may have been working away from home by then. She married in Colebrooke at the age of 28, and weddings usually took place in the bride’s parish. The villages are only three and a half miles apart, and parts of their parishes even closer.


The couple married in 1669, in the reign of Charles II.

Marriage. St Andrew’s, Colebrooke
1669  Thomas Hill & Thamzin Corkeram  Maried 31th March


They had four children baptised in Colebrooke.

Baptisms. Colebrooke.
1670  Thomas ye sune of Thomas Hill  bap  ye 24 of Aprill

In August that year, Thomas Hill the constable, who was probably Thomas’s father, died. As was usual with the Hills, his family paid for him to be buried inside the church. It appears to be his mother, rather than Thomas junior, who continued to farm at Elley.

The following year, the churchwardens’ accounts show the following:

Apprentices bound fourth this years 1671

Thomazin Burrow to Thomasin Hill

Since we do not know the name of Thomas’s mother, it is possible that she was also called Thomasin, but it seems likely that it was the younger woman. All families who could were expected by the Overseers of the Poor to take a poor child as an apprentice.  If Thomas had followed his parents in farming, his young wife may well have needed help for the dairy work and housekeeping.

1674  Elizabeth  Daugh of Thomas Hill  bap  November ye 3

Elizabeth was buried nine days later.

Unless another Thomas Hill, also with a young family, was using the same church, some time in the next two years the family moved across the boundary into Crediton parish. It seems likely that this was the same Thomas, who continued to bring his children for baptism in Colebrooke church.

1676  Anne daughr of Thomas Hill of Crediton    Junii 13
1678  Wilmot daughter of Thomas Hill of Crediton  baptized ye 16 of September

On 20 December 1676, Sabella Cokram, who was probably Thamzin’s mother, was buried.


There are two interesting payments in the last years of Thomas’s life, unless, as is less likely,  they were to his fourteen-year-old son.

1683  pd Thomas Hill for Killing of geayes (jays)  0..9..0

1684  pd Thomas Hill for killing Geayes & oupes (bullfinches)  0..4..0

There are many payments by the churchwardens for killing birds and vermin. Besides jays and bullfinches, the list includes kites, hedgehogs, foxes, ‘greys’ or badgers, and the ‘oudwall’ or woodpecker. ‘Oupes’ or ‘whoops’, as bullfinches were called, were considered a major pest in the orchards because they destroyed the fruit buds. In this cider-making region they were shown no mercy. In a 13-year period, it is estimated that 11,000 bullfinches were killed.


Thomas died in 1685.

Burial. Colebrooke
1685  Thomas Hill buried Aug 5th.  Affidavit made Aug 9th  Ibidem

Thamzin followed the Hill family custom and had him buried in the church.

1685  Rec M: of Thomzin Hill Widd: for I grave.  0..6..8


Thamzin’s son Thomas was now 15, and almost certainly at work. She was left with daughters of nine and seven, though the older one, Anne, may also have started work.

Thamzin remained a widow for less than a year.

Marriage. St Andrew’s, Colebrooke.
1686  John Maunde and Thamsin Hill married June 8th

Thamzin was now 48 and no children seem to have resulted from this marriage. John Maunder’s burial has not been found, but he died before her.

Wilmot Hill, Thamzin’s youngest daughter by her first husband, was a resident of Sandford when she married in 1701. Since this was her mother’s birthplace, she probably went there to work because she had Cockram relations there and she shared a double wedding in Exeter with Thomas Cockram of Sandford.

Thamzin remained in Sandford and lived to be 81.

Burial. St Andrew’s, Colebrooke.

1718 Thamzin Maunder widow was buried on the on the last day of March







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