The ‘cousins’ of Alice Byne (died 1738)

My 8 x great grandmother Alice Byne née Forrest, widow of London citizen and stationer John Byne, signed and sealed her last will and testament on 14th August 1733. She died nearly five years later and was buried on 15th February 1738 at the parish church of St Botolph, Aldgate.

St Botolph, Aldgate (from London Lives website)

St Botolph, Aldgate (from London Lives website)

Alice’s will is a useful source of information about the Forrest family’s connections with Worcestershire, since it mentions property in Badsey that she inherited from her uncle William Forrest, and also about the links with the Boulton family, since Alice names ‘my Cousin Richard Boulton the elder’ as overseer of the will (though, in the event, he died a year before Alice).

The will also mentions a number of other ‘cousins’, and I’ve been trying to find out more about them, in the hope that this will uncover more information about the Forrest and Byne families and their lives in London at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Alice Byne bequeaths ten pounds ‘to my Cousin Elizabeth Byne Spinster’. In his history of the Byne family, Walter Renshaw suggests that Elizabeth was the daughter of Magnus Byne, the younger brother of Alice’s late husband John, and I believe this is correct. Born in Southwark in 1695, the son of Magnus, an apothecary, and his wife Jane, Elizabeth would have been thirty-eight years old when her aunt Alice made her will. I plan to return to this branch of the Byne family in another post, but suffice to say we have evidence from other contemporary documents that Elizabeth Byne never married.

Alice also leaves ten pounds to ‘my Cousin Anne Payton Widow’. I’ve yet to confirm this person’s identity, but I believe the Paytons may have lived close to the Bynes at Tower Hill, and Anne’s husband may have been George Payton, a mariner who died in 1699. I’ll return to the Paytons in a future post. The bequest to Anne Payton is followed by this:

Also I give and bequeath unto my Cousin Jemima Nix (Wife of Leonard Nix of Bow Lane London Barber) Thirty pounds of like money.

I spent many frustrating hours trying to find evidence of this family, but to no avail. My mistake was in misreading Nix as Rix, an error that was only corrected when I accidentally came upon records where the writing was much clearer. Leonard Nix was born in about 1698 in London. He was the son of another barber surgeon, Leonard senior, who was himself the son of Thomas Nix, a ‘gentleman’ of the City of Westminster. In 1682 Leonard Nix senior was apprenticed to London citizen and barber surgeon Abraham Snell.

On 1st January 1690 Leonard Nix and Katharine Bartlett, both of the parish of St Benet, Gracechurch, were married at the church of Holy Trinity in the Minories. Their daughter Anne was christened in 1692 at St Botolph’s, Aldgate, so perhaps at this stage they were neighbours of Alice Byne.

We know from his marriage bond that their son Leonard junior was born in about 1698. On 8th October 1713, Leonard Nix son of Leonard Nix of the Minories, a barber, was apprenticed to William Gough, a barber surgeon. Leonard junior would have been about 15 years old when he was apprenticed.

On 9th April 1720/1, when he was 23 years old, Leonard Nix announced his intention to marry Jemima Barry, aged about 27. Both were said to be of the parish of St Mary-le-Bow, the church of that name being in Cheapside. However, the couple intended to marry in the church of St Mary Islington – where the ceremony duly took place a few weeks later, on 23rd April.

A procession in Cheapside

A procession in Cheapside

In both the marriage bond and the parish record, Jemima’s surname could be read as either ‘Barry’ or ‘Barris’. In fact, I haven’t been able to find a christening record for her – she must have been born in about 1694 – under either name.

Leonard Nix marriage bond

Leonard Nix’s marriage bond

Marriage of Leonard and Jemima Nix: parish record

Marriage of Leonard and Jemima Nix: parish record

There are families with the names of Barry and Barris to be found in the parish registers of St Andrews, Holborn – coincidentally, the parish where Alice Forrest’s mother Anne Burrowes was born. Is it too far fetched to see Barry/Barris as a variation on Burrowes, another name that enjoys a wide variety of spellings in the records from this period?

I’ve found evidence of only one child born to Leonard and Jemima Nix.  On 16th September 1722, a year or so after their marriage, John Nix was christened at the parish church of St Mary-le-Bow. I’ve found land tax records in 1726 and 1727 in Coleman Street: on both occasions he is described as a lodger.

In 1734 Richard Tew of the parish of St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, put himself as apprentice to Leonard Nix , citizen and barber surgeon of London. In 1741, Leonoard Nix, barber, was listed as (I think) a jury member in the records of the City of London Sessions.  In 1756, he was still living in Coleman Street; his former apprentice Richard Tew was living two doors away.

I’ve yet to determine the relationship between Alice Byne and the Nix family. Was it Jemima Nix (née Barry or Barris) who was her cousin, and if so, was the latter a relative of Alice’s mother Anne Burrowes or her father Thomas Forrest? Alternatively, was the connection with the Nix side of the family, and was that through Alice or her late husband John Byne? More research in the seventeenth century records will be needed before we can answer these questions.

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