The will of Stephen Byne, citizen and upholder of London (died 1674)

South Downs near Clayton, Sussex

South Downs near Clayton, Sussex

The last will and testament of Stephen Byne, an ‘upholder’ or upholsterer in seventeenth-century London, provides indirect confirmation of the link between my newly-discovered 8 x great grandfather, London stationer John Byne, and the Byne family of Clayton, Sussex. The fact that both John and Stephen mention a brother named Magnus in their wills, that both men lived in the parish of St Botolph’s, Aldgate, and that Stephen bequeaths money to a brother named John, makes it almost certain that they were siblings. I’ll discuss what else Stephen Byne’s will tells us about the Byne family in another post, but firstly here is my transcription of the document:

In the Name of God Amen. I Stephen Byne of the parish of St Buttolph without Aldgate Citizen and Upholder of London being sick and weake in body, but in good sound and disposing mind and memory praised be Almighty God therefore considering with my self the frailty of this life certainty of death and uncertainty of the hower thereof doe make and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following That is to say first and principally I comend my Soule into the hands of Almighty God my onely Creator And my Body I do comitt to the Earth from whence it came to be decently and in Christianlike manner interred by and at the discretion of my Executrix hereafter named And as touching such worldly Estate as the Lord in mercy hath lent mee To the intent that after my death it may be disposed of without suit or contest (?) at or in the Law I give and bequeath thereof as followeth Imprimis whereas I the said Stephen Byne am possessed and interested (?) of and in a Messuage or Tenement Barne Edifices buildings xxxxx Landes Meadows Pastures Comon of Pasture Leasehold (?) feedings woods underwoods Trees and hereditaments with their appurtenances situat lying and being in Wadhurst in the County of Sussex comonly called or known by the name of Flotting Deane Farme now in the occupation of John Goulding or his assignes by vertue of an Indenture or Lease granted the Twentyth day of September in the Three and Twentyth yeare of the Kings Ma[jes]ty. his reigne that now is by and from the principall and cominalty of xxxxx of the Cathedrall Church of the holy Trinity of Chichester in the County of Sussex under theire Comon Seale unto mee the said Stephen my heires Executors administrators and assignes To hold to mee the said Stephen Byne mine heires executors administrators and assignes for and during the naturall lives of mee the said Stephen Byne and of Rebecca my wife and of my brother Magnus Byne and the life of the longest lyver of us I give and bequeath the said Messuage or Tenement Barnes Buildings Landes Meadowes Pastures Comon of Pasture Leasehold (?) feedings woods underwoods and premisses with th’appurtenances together with the said recited (?) Indenture of Lease and all my Estate right title interest Clayme and demand whatsoever of in and to the said premisses and of in and to every or any part or parcell thereof unto my said wife Rebecca Byne To have and to hold the same premisses unto my said wife Rebecca Byne her heires executors administrators and assignes from an imediately after the death or departure out of this mortall life of me the said Stephen Byne for and during the naturall lyves of my said wife Rebecca Byne and brother Magnus Byne and the life of the longest lyver of them under the yearely Rent and Covenants in the said Indenture of Lease xxxx and conteyned on the Leased parts to be paid and performed Item I gyve and bequeath the sume of One hundred Pounds of lawfull money of England to be paid by my Executrix her executors or administrators unto my father in law Mr Thomas Whiting to be by him his executors or assignes from time to time disbursed in upon and for the keeping apparrelling educating and bringing up of my brother Magnus Byne and my sister Sarah Byne and the survivor of them the said Magnus and Sarah And I constitute and appoint him the said Thomas Whiting Guardian unto my said brother and sister and the survivor of them Item I give and bequeath unto my brothers Edward Byne and John Byne the sume of Ten shillings a peece and no more of like money Item I give and bequeath unto the said Thomas Whiting Frances his wife and my cosen John Manser the sume of forty shillings a peece of like money Item I give and bequeath unto my Sisters in Law Mary Kimber Dorcas Mercer and Isabell Davis the sume of Ten Shillings a peece of like money to buy each of them a Ring And all the rest and residue of all and singular my Goods Chattells Leases wares household stuff ready money plates debts and moneys due and owing to mee and other my personall Estate whatsoever and wheresoever not before by this my Will disposed of (my debts and funerall Expenses being thereout paid and deducted) I doe give devise and bequeath unto my said wife Rebecca Byne And I doe make ordaine constitue and appoint my said wife Rebecca Byne full and sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament And I nominate the said Thomas Whiting and John Manser overseers thereof requesting them to be ayding and assisting unto my said Executrix in her performance of the same And I doe hereby revoke disanull (?) and make void all former Wills and Testaments by mee made and doe declare this to be my last Will and Testament In witnes whereof I the said Stephen Byne have hereunto sett my hand and seale the Fowerteenth day or February Anno dni. 1674 And in the Seaven and Twentyth yeare of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord King Charles the Second of England. Stephen Byne. Signed sealed delyvered published and declared by the said Stephen Byne to be his last Will and Testament in the presence of us Edward Davis Robert Kimber William Hall servant to Henry Lewes.

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