Links between the Byne and Manser families: a recap

A few months ago I wrote about the connections between my 8 x great grandfather John Byne (1651 – 1689), a London citizen and stationer, and his Tower Hill neighbour, John Manser (1631 – 1681), a citizen and apothecary. In his will of December 1680, John Manser describes John Byne as his ‘kinsman’; in his own will written six years earlier, John Byne’s brother Stephen had described John Manser as ‘my cosen’.

In an earlier post I established that John Manser was actually a second cousin of John and Stephen Byne, but also that the connections between the two families were multiple and complicated, stretching back over a number of generations. I’ll attempt to summarise those connections in this post.

Countryside near Burwash (via bandbchurchhouse.co.uk)

Countryside near Burwash (via bandbchurchhouse.co.uk)

John and Stephen Byne were the sons of my 9 x great grandfather Magnus Byne (1615 -1671), rector of Clayton-cum-Keymer in Sussex, and his wife Anne (1611 – 1661). Magnus was born in Burwash, Sussex, the son of yeoman Stephen Byne (1586 – 1664) and his wife Mary Manser (born about 1590): they were my 10 x great grandparents. Mary was the daughter of John Manser of Wadhurst (died 1598), who also had a son named Christopher (born about 1580).

Christopher Manser and his wife Anne had at least eight children, of whom John, the London apothecary, was the eldest son. This means that Mary Manser, who married Stephen Byne, was John’s aunt, and their son Magnus was his first cousin. So Magnus Byne’s children, including my 8 x great grandfather John and his brother Stephen, were John Manser’s second cousins.

The story is complicated by the fact that the maiden name of John Manser’s mother Anne (born 1605) was also Byne. She was the youngest daughter of John Byne of Burwash (1555 – 1615), whose precise connection to my other Byne ancestors is still uncertain – perhaps he was a cousin of my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne. Complicating matters even further is the fact that Anne’s sister Elizabeth married Abraham Manser, brother of John Manser of Wadhurst, and therefore the uncle of Anne’s husband Christopher. A final twist is provided by the fact that, when Abraham died in 1627, Elizabeth married for a second time to Magnus Byne – not my 9 x great grandfather, but his uncle Magnus Byne of Framfield, who was the brother of my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne.

The multiple connections between the two families are exemplified in a document in the National Archives dated 24th June 1630 and entitled ‘Bargain and sale for £200’. Its contents are summarised as follows:

Christopher Manser of Burwash, yeoman and his wife Anne to Stephen Byne of Burwash, yeoman

8 pieces of land ‘Woodlandes and Highlandes’ (40a); 6 pieces S: lands of John French gent and lands of Thomas Glyd gent ‘Wiverherst’; N, W: a whapple way from Halton house to ‘William Cruttendens of the greene’; E: land of Herbert Lunsford gent. Other 2 pieces W: land of HL; N: whapple way as before; S: land of TG ‘Wiverherst’, E: lands of John Dawe of Burwash ‘Hickmans’

This land lately occupied by John Byne of Burwash deceased, came to Anne Manser by partition of the property of Thomas Byne her brother by Nicholas Eversfield esq, sheriff [1620]

W: John Dawe, John Stoner, Magnus Byne, William Foster, Magnus Byne junior

What does this document tell us? Firstly, it provides solid evidence that Anne, wife of Christopher Manser, was the daughter of John Byne of Burwash. She inherited ‘the land lately occupied’ by this John Byne, after the death (in 1618) and partition of the property of her brother Thomas Byne, who was the heir to their father’s estate.

Burwash churchyard (via www.hebdens.com)

Burwash churchyard (via http://www.hebdens.com)

The Stephen Byne of Burwash mentioned here is my 10 x great grandfather, the husband of Mary Manser, sister of Christopher. So in this transaction Christopher Manser was selling ‘8 piece of land’ to his brother-in-law. Since these properties originally belonged to Anne’s father John Byne, perhaps the ‘bargain’ was simply a way of returning the land to the Byne family?

The Magnus Byne named as a witness to this transaction is almost certainly the second husband of Elizabeth, sister of Anne Manser née Byne (see above), and Magnus Byne junior was presumably his son. As well as being Anne Manser’s brother-in-law Magnus senior was, as already noted, the brother of Stephen Byne.

Having clarified the relationship between the families of John Byne and John Manser, in the next post I want to set down, in chronological order, what we know about their intertwined lives in London in the second half of the seventeenth century.

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