The family of Magnus Byne, apothecary

My 8 x great grandfather John Byne (1651 – 1689), a London citizen and stationer, was the youngest son of Rev. Magnus Byne (1615 – 1671), rector of Clayton-cum-Keymer in Sussex, by his first wife Anne (1611 – 1661). After Anne’s death, Magnus married Sarah Bartlett, daughter of radical Puritan stationer and bookseller John Bartlett, and they had three more children, including a son who was named Magnus after his father.

Merchant Taylors School, London

Merchant Taylors’ School, London

Magnus Byne the younger was christened at Clayton parish church on 8th January 1664, four years after the restoration of the monarchy in England. According to Walter Renshaw’s history of the Byne family, he was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School in London, where his name appears in the register for 11th March 1674/5. He would have been only seven years old when his father Magnus senior died in 1671, and my assumption is that his mother Sarah had died before this. The 1664 will of his older half-brother Stephen, a London citizen and ‘upholder’ (upholsterer), bequeaths one hundred pounds ‘for the keeping apparelling educating and bringing up of my brother Magnus Byne and my sister Sarah Byne’ (Sarah was two years younger than Magnus). In his own will of 1689, my ancestor John Byne left twenty-five pounds ‘unto my Loveing Brother Magnus Byne’, who would then have been about twenty four years old.

By this time, Magnus Byne the younger was probably living in Southwark and already working as an apothecary. On 24th November 1690, a little more a year after his brother John’s death, Magnus declared his intention to marry Jane, daughter of Joseph Dakin or Deakins, a Southwark cheesemonger. Both were said to be living in the parish of St George the Martyr, Southwark. Jane was only fifteen, so she needed her father’s consent, while Magnus was twenty-five. Three days later the couple were married at St George’s church.

St George the Martyr, Southwark

St George the Martyr, Southwark

Jane Dakin had been christened on 5th December 1675 at St George’s. The parish register records her father’s but not her mother’s name. Jane appears to have been at least the third of six or more children. On 6th May 1668 Mary Dakin had been christened at the same church, while on 3rd November 1674, another daughter named Sarah had been baptised there. Jane also had younger siblings named Katharine (christened on 3rd February 1677), Joseph (8th June 1680) and Anne (christened on 22nd April 1683 but buried seven days later).

Chertsey in the 18th century

Chertsey in the 18th century

Joseph Dakin’s will of 1709 only mentions three children, so we must assume that the others did not survive. Joseph’s first bequest is to his daughter Mary, whose married name was Holmes. No husband is mentioned, so perhaps by this date Mary, then aged forty-one, was already a widow. The wedding of Thomas Holmes and Mary Dakin had taken place at the church of St George the Martyr, Southwark, on 19th February 1692, when Mary was twenty-three. I’ve been unable to find a record of any children from this marriage.

Joseph Dakin also left money to his daughter Sarah and her husband, Martin Creamer or Cremer. The couple had been married seven years earlier, in 1702, at the church of St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, though both were said to be from Southwark. So far I’ve found evidence of only one child born to the Creamers: Joseph, christened at St George’s, Southwark, in 1707, who would work as a coach harness maker in Westminster.

Finally, Joseph Dakin made a bequest to his daughter Jane Byne or Bynes, and also made her husband Magnus joint executor of the will, together with Joseph’s other son-in-law Martin Creamer.

In an earlier post I listed the names of the children of Magnus and Jane Byne, and noted that for much of their married life they lived ‘by the Marshalsea’, the notorious debtors’ prison off Borough High Street, north of the church of St George the Martyr. Very few of the Bynes’ fifteen or so children survived infancy. They had two sons named Magnus (in 1691 and 1693), both of whom died within a couple of years. They had three sons named John (in 1700, 1701 and 1708), all of whom died in the first year of life. There were two daughters named Sarah (born in 1697 and 1705): the first died when still a baby while the second lived for three years. Anne was born in 1703 and died in 1704, Mary lived from 1706 to 1709, Jane from 1708 to 1709, and Henry from 1710 to 1712. There was another Jane, born in 1713, who may have survived: she was probably the last child to be born and I haven’t come across a record of her burial. Elizabeth, born in 1695, and George, born in 1704, also seem to have survived to adulthood.

We know from other records that Magnus and Jane also had a son named Joseph: in fact, one document (see below) describes him as their ‘son and and heir’.  I speculated in my earlier post that he might be the nameless ‘sonne of Magnus Byne’ who was christened at St George’s, Southwark, in 1698. It’s possible they also had a son named Magnus, since someone of that name ‘from the Borough’ was buried at the same church in 1743, and we know from another document that Jane Byne had died at least eleven years earlier and that her husband Magnus had predeceased her.

Marshalsea prison in 1773

Marshalsea prison in 1773

That other document, dated 27th and 28th May 1734, describes the conveyancing of land in West Tilbury, Essex, and the parishes of St George the Martyr, Middlesex (a mistake for Southwark?) and St Mary Newington, Southwark, to a long list of new trustees, beginning with Nathaniel Hough, the rector of both St George’s and St Mary’s. Those doing the conveyancing, or releasing of the properties, are listed as follows:

Mary Holmes of Chertsey (co. Surr.), wid., daughter of Joseph Dakin, late of St George the Martyr, Cheesemonger, decd., Joseph Byne of [blank], s. and h. of Jane Byne, late w. of Magnus Byne of St George the Martyr, apothecary decd., daughter of sd Joseph Dakin and Thomas Creamer of St Ann, Westminster (co. Middx.) coach-harness maker, s. and h. of Sarah Creamer, late w. of Martin Creamer of St George the Martyr and daughter of sd Joseph Dakin (all co.hs. of sd Joseph Dakin).

I’ve so far failed to discover a will for either Magnus or Jane Byne, so we can’t be absolutely sure which of their children were still living when their parents died. However, as already mentioned, we know that their son Joseph was alive in 1734. We also have evidence that their son George and daughter Elizabeth survived. The record of a court case from 1736-7 appears to mention both of them. At this date, Elizabeth Byne, described as a spinster of St George the Martyr, Surrey, was in dispute with one John Heather. The case probably concerned property left by Mary Holmes, since Elizabeth is also said to be ‘sole executrix of Mary Holmes widow deceased late of Chertsey, Surrey’. George Byne was one of the witnesses in the affair.

When Mary drew up her will in 1735 she made her niece Elizabeth the executrix and main beneficiary, leaving her the sum of 150 pounds and ‘also my Small India Cabinet and all my wearing Cloaths and Apparells’. The ‘rest and residue’ of her estate Mary left to ‘my loving Cousen’ George Byne: however, I’m fairly sure that George was actually her nephew, and Elizabeth’s brother. Mary also gives George’s profession as apothecary (another document describes him as a chirurgeon or surgeon), proof that he followed in his father’s footsteps.

Renshaw speculates that George Byne may be the person of that name who was registered at Merchant Taylors’ School (his father’s old school) in September 1716. George married Elizabeth Sly at the church of St Peter in Chertsey on 8th December 1732. According to the marriage allegation, both were from Chertsey. One of the witnesses to this document was Elizabeth Byne. George and Elizabeth Byne had at least one child, a son also named George, christened in Chertsey on 29th October 1733.

As for Elizabeth, she is almost certainly the person described in the 1733 will of my 8 x great grandmother Alice Byne as ‘my Cousin Elizabeth Byne Spinster’. Alice, who would have been Elizabeth’s aunt, left her ten pounds. Given these various bequests and property transactions, it seems unlikely (though still possible) that Elizabeth is the ‘Elizabeth Bynes from the Workhouse’ who was buried at St George’s, Southwark, on 16th November 1765.

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2 Responses to The family of Magnus Byne, apothecary

  1. Jill Crawford says:

    Could the St. George the Martyr referred to in the conveyancing be the one in Queen Square, WC 1? Although if the rector was both St. George’s and St. Mary Newington that doesn’t seem so likely. Maybe Crockford’s could sort this?

  2. Martin says:

    Yes, I wondered about that, Jill. My paternal great great grandparents were married in that church. As you say, it’s more likely that Nathaniel Hough’s two ‘livings’ would both be in Surrey, so it’s probably an error by the clerk. Our various ancestral families seem to have had quite strong Southwark connections, don’t they?

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