The will of Nicholas Manser of Hightown (died 1674)

Yesterday I discussed the will of Nicholas Maunser of Hightown near Wadhurst, Sussex, who died in 1653, and who was a relative of my 10 x great grandmother Mary Maunser who married Stephen Byne of Burwash. Analysing the will helped me to clarify some branches of the Maunser family tree and to confirm both that Nicholas was the son and heir of William Maunser of Hightown, and that he was the father of Thomas, Nicholas, Herbert, Abraham, Elizabeth and Mary Maunser, the seventh and final generation in the revised pedigree chart of the family.

View towards Wadhurst Park (site of Hightown), via geograph

View towards Wadhurst Park (site of Hightown), via geograph

Until discovering this will, I had assumed that the Nicholas Manser or Maunser of Hightown who composed his will in 1673/4 was the son of William Maunser – when in fact he was his great-grandson, and the grandson of the Nicholas Maunser who died in 1653. This new information has helped me to understand some parts of the later will that had confused me, and to clarify the relationships between its author and the various Ma(u)nser relatives mentioned in it.

In this post, I’m sharing my transcription of the will of the Nicholas Manser who died in 1674. I’m now fairly convinced that the obscure word that previously puzzled me was (as a number of correspondents suggested) ‘uncle’ and that this makes sense in the context, given what I’ve learned from the 1653 will of the other Nicholas. I’ll discuss what we can learn from the will in another post. For now, here is the transcription:

In the name of God Amen. I Nicholas Manser of Hightown in the parish of Wadhurst in the County of Sussex gent being of good and perfect memory (Thanks be given to Almighty God therefore) Doe make and ordaine this my last will and testament in manner following (That is to say) Imprimis I doe give and bequeath my soule into the hands of God my Creator hopeing for eternall life through the meritts of my deare Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ And my body I Comitt to the Earth to Be decently Interred by my Executrix hereinafter named And as concerning my worldly Estate I doe give and dispose thereof as followeth First I give and bequeath unto the poore of the parish of Wadhurst the Sume of five pounds of lawfull money of England to be distributed among them by my Executrix and according to her discretion within a month or six weeks after my decease Item I give unto Abraham Manser and Thomas Manser sonnes of my uncle Abraham Manser gent twenty pounds a piece to be paid unto them att their respective ages of one and twenty yeares And if either of them dye before the said age my will and mind is that the survivor of them shall have the twenty pounds before bequeathed unto him soe dyeing Item I give to Robert Wats sonne of my Aunt ….. Wats ten pounds to be paid him within six months after my decease Item I give to Mary Wats sister of the said Robert Wats twenty pounds to be paid her within six months after my decease Item I give to my Cosen Edward Polhill (?) Esquire twenty pounds to be paid to him within six months after my decease Item I give to my Cosen Mary Causten twenty pounds to be paid her att the same tyme Item I give to my Cosen Nicholas Manser son of Christopher Manser gent twenty pounds to be paid him at the same tyme Item I give to the servants liveing with me att the tyme of my death twenty shillings a piece To be paid them att the same tyme And I doe hereby make and ordaine my loveing mother Susan Manser widow my full and sole executrix of this my last will and testament And I give and bequeath unto her All the rest and residue of my goods Chattles and personal Estate she first paying my funeralls debts and legacies above mentioned And as touching my Estate in lands my will and mind is as followeth First I give and bequeath unto my said mother for and during her naturally life one Annuity or Rent Charge of forty pounds per Annum to be going and issueing out of all that farme and lands called Hightown in Wadhurst aforesaid And to be paid unto her by quarterly payments att the feast of the Archangell And the feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ The first payment thereof to begin and be made att such of the said feasts as shall first and next happen after my decease And if the said Annuity or Rent Charge shall happen to be behind underpaid (?) by the space of thirty one dayes after any of the said feasts That then it shall be lawfull to and for my mother aforesaid her Executors and Administrators into the said farme and lands to enter and distreine (?) And the distress and distresses (?) there taken to lead drive and carry away impound and detain catell (?) she and they be fully satisfied and paid all assurages (?) of the said Annuity of Rent Charge And I doe hereby give and devise All that my messuage and one water mill and severall partes or parcells of land thereunto belonging now in the occupation of William Mabb and lying in Wadhurst aforesaid unto Francis Manser Clerk son of my uncle Nicholas Manser gent And to the heires of the said Francis Manser forever Nevertheless my mind and will is that if and in Case my Cosen Nicholas Manser sonne of my uncle Herbert Manser gent or his heires doe and shall pay unto the said Francis Manser and his heires the full sume of fower hundred pounds within one yeare after my decease That then the said Francis Manser and his heires shall well and sufficiently Convey and assure the said messuage water mill and lands in the occupation of the said William Mabb unto the said Nicholas Manser sonne of my said uncle Herbert Manser and to his heires forever And I doe hereby give and devise All that my messuage called Hightown And all the Barnes stables orchards gardens lands pastures meadowes woods and woodgrounds thereunto belonging or there withall now used by my selfe lying in Wadhurst aforesaid And all other my lands in Wadhurst aforesaid (Except the said lands in the occupation of the said William Mabb) And alsoe all my tyhes in Wadhurst aforesaid unto the said Nicholas Manser sonne of the said Herbert Manser And to the heires of the body of the said Nicholas Manser lawfully to be begotten And for want of such issue I does give and devise the same unto the said Francis Manser Clerk and his right heires forever Nevertheless my will and mind is that the said Nicholas Manser and his heires shall within six months after my decease pay out the said lands two hundred pounds unto my said mother Susan her Executors and Administrators In witnes whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale this Tenth day of May in the yeare of our Lord 1673. Nicho: Maunser. Signed Sealed and published as the last will of the said Nicholas Manser in the presence of John Webb Henry Goldsmith William Hicks

Memorandum That upon the Three and Twentieth day of Aprill Anno Domini 1674 I the said Nicholas Manser gent Doe declare my will and mind to be that the aforesaid Legacy of twenty pounds before given to Mary Causten should cease and not be in force And alsoe that the aforesaid Legacie of twenty pounds before given to Nicholas Manser son of Christopher Manser should alsoe cease and not be in force And further that my mother Susan Manser should have and enjoy the above said messuage called Hightown and all the buildings orchards Gardens and lands thereunto belonging (the woodlands only excepted) for the space of one whole yeare after my decease And that the said Nicholas Manser son of Christopher Manser shall have a Legacy of five pounds paid to him within six months after my decease And further that Nicholas Manser shall have two yeares tyme after my decease to pay my said mother the aforesaid two hundred pounds with this addition onely I doe hereby declare my will and mind to be that the above written will shall stand and be in full force and virtue (?) In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my mark and seale the day and year aforesaid. Witnesses to his setting his seale hereunto Edw: Polhill Willi Silcocke Thomas Silcocke 

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