The 1592 will of Robert Maunser of Hightown, Wadhurst

Yesterday I summarised what we know about the early generations of the Manser or Maunser family of Wadhurst, Sussex. A quick recap: Sir Robert Maunser, who lived at Hightown during the reign of Richard III, had a son and heir named Walter, who in turn had a son and heir called Christopher. In his will of 1545, Christopher Maunser named his son Robert as his executor.

Part of Richard Budgen's map of 1724, showing Wadhurst and Hightown

Part of Richard Budgen’s map of 1724, showing Wadhurst and Hightown

According to William Berry’s Sussex pedigrees, Robert Maunser (my 12 x great grandfather) married Joan Rootes of Marshalls and they had two sons: William, who inherited Hightown, and John. We already know that this pedigree is incomplete, since it fails to mention a third son, Abraham, who is mentioned in John Manser’s will of 1597. However, I’ve now transcribed Robert Maunser’s will of 1592 (thanks again to Ed Rydahl Taylor for sharing his copy) and it contradicts the pedigree to be found in Berry’s account and in other sources. There is no mention of a son named William, and instead we learn that Robert’s son and heir was yet another Robert, and that his other sons were Thomas, George, John and Abraham. The fact that Robert senior describes himself as ‘of Hightown’ confirms that this is, indeed, Christopher Maunser’s son, while the references to John and Abraham, and the fact that one of the witnesses to the will is Jane Snatt, either the fiancée or the mother-in-law of John (see this post), connects him to the later generations of the family. 

I’ll have more to say about Robert Maunser’s will in another post, but for now, here is my transcription:

In the name of god Amen the xxvth daie of August in the xxxvth year of the Reigne of our sovereign Ladie Elizabeth by the grace of god Queene of England France & Irland Defender of the faith. I Robt Maunser the elder of Hightowne in the p[ar]ysh of Wadherst in the countie of Sussex yeoman beinge sicke in bodie, but of good & p[er]fect memorie (god be thanked for yt) do make and ordeyne this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following. First I bequeath my soule into the hands of almyghtie god my maker, trusting to have full p[ar]don and forgyveness of all my Synnes thoroughe the merritts of Jesus Christ my only Saviour and my bodie to be buryed when it shall pleas god to take me to his me[???]. Item I will that my Executor hereafter named shall bestowe money amongst the poor at my Buriall at his discretion Item I gyve & bequeath unto my sonne Robt Maunser tenne pounds of lawfull money of England, Item I gyve and bequeath unto my sonne Thomas Maunser tenne pounds of lawfull money of England to be paide unto him or his assignes within one year next after my decease, Item I gyve & bequeath unto my sonne George Maunser tenne pounds of lawfull money of England  to be paide unto him or his assignes within one year yeare after my decease, Item I gyve and bequeath unto my sonne John Maunser tenne pounds of lawfull money of England to be paide to him or his assignes within one yeare next after my decease  Item I gyve & bequeath unto my sonne Abraham Maunser tenne pounds of lawfull money of England to be paide to him or his assignes within one yeare next after my decease, Item [??] I gyve & bequeath unto Robt Maunser sonne of my said sonne Robt Maunser tenne pounds of lawfull money of England to be paide to him at his age of xxi yeares The residue of all my goods and chattels money & household stuff after my debts and funeral expenses and legacies and thoer charges about the execution of this my will beinge [???] & discharged I gyve and bequeath unto my saide sonnes Robt, Thomas, George, John & Abraham to be equallie divided amongst them, And I do make & ordayne my saide sonne Robt Maunser to be the sole and only Executor of this my last Will & testament And I gyve and bequeath unto my sonne George Maunser & his heires & assignes for ever[?] (by the licence [?} of the Lord) all my copihold lande called W[??]dreed conteyninge by estimation [?] three acres lyinge & beinge in Maighfield in the saide countie of Sussex.

Witnesses to this Will Thomas Maunser, Abraham Maunser, George Maunser, John Maunser, Jane Snatt and Thomas Ballarde.

Syned [?] Robti Maunser [???]

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