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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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NICHOLAS LOOSEMORE’s story is difficult to unravel for three reasons. There was more than one man of that name in Rose Ash, whose lives overlap. There is a break in the registers from 1646-1660, following the Civil War, as well as shorter gaps for 1626-7 and 1631-2. Successive rectors of the Southcomb family waxed eloquent in the parish registers about their own family and the community at large, but gave less information about individual parishioners than some other registers did.

Our starting point is the baptism of a son in the year following the accession of James II to the throne.

Baptism. Rose Ash. DCRS Transcript
1685(6)  Loosemore, Nicholas  s. Nicholas jnr.  15 ffeb

It is the identity of the father, ‘Nicholas jnr’, which we wish to establish. It indicates that there was an older man of that name alive. Frequently, “senior” is the father of “junior”, but there is no reference in the records to “Nicholas Loosemore senior” until the burial of “Nicholas Lusmore the elder” in 1724, by which time “Nicholas junior” would have been his son.

W.R. Loosemore, who has done extensive research into the Loosemore family, believes the father at this baptism to be the third child and only son of James Loosemore and Mary Colman.[1] This Nicholas was born in 1639.

Baptisms. Rose Ash.
1639   Nicholas  s. James Loosemore  31 March

The problem with this identification that the word ‘junior’. Who was Nicholas Loosemore senior?

There was a Nicholas, son of James and Johan Loosemore, born in Creacombe in 1610. We assume him to have moved to Rose Ash with them about that time.[2] There is no further mention of him in the Rose Ash registers. He does not appear in the 1642 Protestation Return for Rose Ash. He had probably died or moved to another parish. But there remains the small possibility that he was still alive in Rose Ash in 1686.

The other possibility is that Nicholas junior was born during the Commonwealth period 1646-60, and so his baptism does not appear in the register. That would mean that Nicholas senior was the one born in 1639. The only plausible father for this younger Nicholas would be James’s  brother John Loosemore. John’s first wife Margery was buried in 1642. A second wife Joane was buried in 1667. For Nicholas’s baptism to have fallen in the period for which the Rose Ash registers are missing, 1646-60, then his mother would have to be Joane. We do not know her surname.

Besides the 1686 baptism, which is the only one to mention “junior” this century, there was an earlier baptism of Nicholas, son of Nicholas Loosemore in 1675. W.R. Loosemore assumes that the first child died, and that the father is the same in both cases. He does not mention the designation “junior”, let alone offer an explanation.


If we accept that Loosemore is correct, and that the 1639 baptism is the right one, then Nicholas is the son of James Loosemore and Mary Colman. His father owned a modest amount of land and may have been a yeoman farmer.

His mother died when he was five, after giving birth to her fifth child, who also died.

The Civil War was then at its height. South Molton and the villages around it were mostly Parliamentarian, though Rose Ash’s rector was a notable Royalist.

Sometime in the next six years, Nicholas’s father remarried. The first small family was greatly enlarged by the births of another nine children, eight of whom survived to adulthood. As the oldest boy, Nicholas would have grown up in a house overflowing with younger brothers and sisters.


If this identification is the wrong one, and the father of the Nicholas born in 1686 was himself born in the Commonwealth period to James’s brother John, then it makes only a small difference to the male line. Nicholas would, in either case, be the grandson of James and Johan Loosemore.

Nothing further is known about his supposed mother Joane, except for her death.

Burial. Rose Ash.
1667  Loosemore, Joan w. John  26 Apr


In 1666, six years after the Restoration, Nicholas Loosemore married Joan Dodge. Twenty-seven would be a credible age for Nicholas, son of James, born in 1639, to marry.


JOAN DODGE.  If we have the right Nicholas, then his wife was Joan, the daughter of John Dodge and Grace Zeale. She was baptised in Rose Ash on 28 July 1642, at the start of the Civil War.


They married in Rose Ash on 3 July, 1666. This was the year of the Great Fire of London.


This marriage is followed by the birth of several children.

Baptisms. Rose Ash. DCRS Transcripts.
1667 Loosemore, Grace d. Nicholas  7 Apr.
1669  Loosemore, James, s. Nicholas  5 Aug
1672  Loosemore, John s. Nicholas 4 Sept


In the 1674 Hearth Tax return for Rose Ash, there are two only Loosemores  listed. One is Mary Loosemore, with two hearths. She is almost certainly Nicholas’s widowed mother. Her husband James had died in 1673. The other is Nicholas Loosemore, with one hearth, pointing to a very modest house for a young family. If there was a younger Nicholas, he was not yet heading a household.

In the transcription, among the list of paupers not taxed was “Jon Kesmore? 1”. There are no Kesomores listed in Devon on the IGI, so this could well be John Loosemore, brother of James, and Nicholas’s uncle.

Another baptism follows:

1675  Loosemore, Nicholas s. Nicholas  11 Jan

If Loosemore’s theory is true, then this first baby Nicholas must have died in before 1686, though his burial is not in the Rose Ash registers.

Grace was buried on 31 Oct 1675, aged eight.

Loosemore lists another son Richard , bapt 17 Jan 1680/1, though the DCRS transcript has him as the son of Richard Loosemore. The register itself is difficult to read at this period, so it could be a transcription error. Loosemore also finds reason to believe that a further son Roger was born c.1683, though his baptism does not appear in the registers.

If this is so, then the problematic gap of 10 years between the baptisms of the two babies named Nicholas disappears, strengthening the assumption that this is the same family.


In 1684, Nicholas Loosemore was churchwarden of Rose Ash, and therefore a householder. There is an undated memorandum in the Rose Ash registers giving ‘An Account How ye Office of a warden is to be done for ever in ye Parish of Rose Ash’. It lists 49 dwellings, whose householders would take office in rotation. The first name on the list is:

  1. Nic. Loosemore now warden for ye Easter part of ye Barton.

The preceding page facing this has burials ending in 1716, but seems to be in a different handwriting. It is followed by a page of burials for 1691-1698 in a more similar hand.  The memorandum may perhaps date from the late 17th century. It could well have been written in 1684, when we know Nicholas was churchwarden.

‘Ye Barton’ was Rose Ash Barton at the centre of the village. It was subdivided amongst at least two householders. This may explain the Loosemore’s single hearth in 1674.

No. 11 on the list is ‘Widow Lusmore’s part of Yard’. Yard was a farm and hamlet west of the village. No. 13 was ‘Mary Lusmore’s Cottage’.


The absence of a second Nicholas from this list, only a year before the crucial baptism, strengthens the argument that there was only one man of this name, though he could have been still unmarried and not yet a householder.

As churchwarden Nicholas was responsible for making and collecting a poor rate for the parish.[3]  The list of parishioners who contributed to the rate included ‘Mary Losemore’ and ‘James Loosemoore’, as well as Nicholas himself.  Loosemore says, “Mary was probably his elder sister while James, who acted as overseer to the collection, was probably a son of his father’s second marriage.”


Two more children were born.

Baptisms. Rose Ash. DCRS Transcripts.
1685(6)  Loosemore, Nicholas  s. Nicholas jnr.  15 ffeb
1688  Loosemore, Mary  d. Nicholas  27 Jul

There is no burial of a mother to indicate that this was a new family, cut short at two children. It is, of course, possible that other children were baptised elsewhere. But these could well be the last children of Joan Loosemore, née Dodge, whose first child was born in 1667.


Joan died in 1698.

Burial. Rose Ash.
1698  Loosemore, Joan  w. Nicholas  11 Jul.


On 29 May 1721, a Nicholas Loosemore of Rose Ash rented the ‘Messuages called Pooles, in the manor of Knowston Beaples’, from John Courtenay of West Molland, esq. The consideration paid over at the time of the contract was ‘2 broad pieces of gold and £260’.[4] Compared with other leases around this time, this was a high amount. This Nicholas was a man of some means. The date of the lease is less than a year before the birth of the first known child for Nicholas, son of Nicholas junior. It may be that the father was setting his son up on a farm to start his family. Knowstone parish borders on both Rose Ash and Creacombe, the ancestral home of the Loosemores.


If Nicholas was indeed the one born in 1639, then he lived to the ripe old age of 84. His burial was recorded in the church register on 17 March 1723/4 as that of Nicholas Lusmore ye elder’.  His son of 1686 would by then be Nicholas Loosemore the younger. Probate of his will, now lost, was granted in 1725 in the Principal Registry diocesan court at Exeter.[5]


Of his four or five surviving sons, James, the eldest and Nicholas, the youngest, both married into the influential Southcomb family, whose members were Rectors of the parish in a continuous sequence from 1675 to 1948.


[1] W.R. Loosemore, Loosemore of Devon, an outline family history. www.loosemore.co.uk. Chapter 8.
[2] 11. LOOSEMORE.
[3] Loosemore.
[4] A2A. Knowstone. 50/11/25/12.
[5] Loosemore.







Sampson Tree