More information about William Wane (died 1626)

Yesterday I noted that William Wane, my 10 x great grandfather, was ordained in 1598 in Chichester, when Lancelot Andrewes, the noted scholar and mentor of the poet George Herbert, was bishop. I’ve been trying to find out more about William, in the hope of extending this particular branch of my maternal family tree a little further back in time.

South Downs near Clayton, Sussex

South Downs near Clayton, Sussex

Firstly, though, a reminder of my connection to William Wane. He was the father of Anne Wane (1611 – 1661), whose third husband was Magnus Byne (1615 – 1671) – one of William’s successors as rector of Clayton-cum-Keymer in Sussex. Magnus and Anne Byne were my 9 x great grandparents: their son John (1651 – 1689), a London stationer, and his wife Alice Forrest (died 1738) were my 8 x great grandparents.

I owe my discovery of William Wane’s existence to Walter Charles Renshaw’s 1913 publication, Searches into the History of the Family Byne or Bine of Sussex, which has also been my source for much of the information about this branch of my family tree. Citing a Deposition Book of 1607/8, Renshaw claims that William Wane was born in 1561 in Westerham, Kent. However, this would mean that he was 37 when he was ordained in 1598, which seems rather old, given that ordination usually followed soon after graduation from Oxford or Cambridge. However, I’ve now found a reference in the International Genealogical Index to the licence for William’s marriage to Joan Kemp, which was registered at Lewes and dated 9th December 1601. The licence describes Joan as being of Albourne, Sussex (five miles or so north-west of Clayton), and as having been born in about 1580, which means that she was 21 years old when she married. As for William, he is said to be of Clayton, Sussex, and to have been born in about 1576, which would make him 25 at the time of his marriage, a much more believable age.

St Bartholomew's church, Albourne, Sussex

St Bartholomew’s church, Albourne, Sussex

According to Renshaw, William Wane’s wife Joan was the widow of Thomas Kempe of Albourne, a yeoman. Thomas’ will is dated 24th September 1601 and was proved on 31st October in the same year. William Wane was inducted to the rectory of Clayton-cum-Keymer on 1st January 1601/2, but it’s unclear whether this refers to the year before the death of Thomas Kempe and William’s subsequent marriage to Joan or after those events.

What else do we know about William Wane? We know that his first appointment was as curate in Wivelsfield, about five miles north-east of Clayton. Renshaw also offers the tantalising information that, in 1606 and 1607, William was ‘in trouble in the Court on account of his relations with a woman named Ellenor Poulter’.  Anne, daughter of William and Joan Wayne, was christened at Clayton on 2nd March 1602/3, so she was probably their first child. William died in 1626, at the age of 50, and was buried at Clayton on 22nd September.

Wivelsfield church, Sussex

Wivelsfield church, Sussex

Thomas Kempe’s will of 1601 and William Wane’s will of 1626 are held at the East Sussex Record Office in Lewes, and I am in the process of applying for copies of both. I hope they will shed more light on their lives and families, and enable me to trace William’s and Joan’s lines back further into the sixteenth century.

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