John Ma(u)nser of Southwark

In the previous two posts I explored the life and times of Thomas Scotson of South Malling, Sussex, who died in 1636 and was the husband of Mary Maunser or Manser. Mary was the daughter of William Maunser of Hightown and his wife Mary, who was the daughter of Nicholas Fowle of Wadhurst. William and Mary Maunser apparently had two other children: Nicholas Maunser, who inherited the family property at Hightown, Wadhurst, and another son, John. In this post I want to discuss what we know about this John Maunser or Manser.

St George the Martyr, Southwark

St George the Martyr, Southwark

According to William Berry’s version of the Maunser family pedigree, John Maunser, the second son of William Maunser of Hightown, was ‘of Southwark’. Apparently he married Mary Cole, daughter of Benjamin Cole of Aston, Sussex, on 3rd January 1614 at the church of All Saints, Lewes. I’ve been unable to discover anything about Mary Cole’s family or their background. I suspect that ‘Aston’ was the name of their house or property, rather than that of a village, and that (given the location of the wedding) it was in or near Lewes.

It’s not clear whether John Maunser was already ‘of Southwark’ when he married Mary Cole, but there is certainly evidence to place him – or someone with the same name as him – there shortly afterwards. However, if it is the same John Maunser or Manser, then it would seem that his wife Mary died within a year or two of their marriage. On 23rd November 1616, a certain John Manser married Margaret Man at the church of St George the Martyr, Southwark. On 15th March 1617 Mary the daughter of John Mancer (sic) was christened at the same church. On 9th September 1618 the same child was buried there. On 23rd September 1617 a James Manser was buried at St George’s, but no other information is given, so it’s impossible to determine his connection to John.

st saviour's southwark

On 30th April 1618 Margaret the wife of John Manser was buried at St George the Martyr, after less than two years of marriage. On 12 January 1619 William Manser was buried, but I can’t quite make out the information given after his name, making it difficult to determine his place (if any) in the family of John Manser. I’ve been unable to find any trace of the Manser family in Southwark during the 1620s or 1630s, but from 1640 there is a cluster of records at the church of St Saviour, Southwark, which is now the cathedral church but formerly belonged to the Priory of St Mary Overy, closely associated with my Fowle ancestors. This is the church where my 9 x great grandparents Magnus and Anne Byne were married in August 1640.

On 10th January 1640 Mary, daughter of John Manser, was christened there. The record seems to include a description of John’s occupation (image), which I can’t quite make out: it seems to be ‘a drawer of’ something. An Elizabeth Manser was buried at St Saviour’s on 8th May in the same year. On 4 June 1651 Jane Manser married John Turner at the same church.

If we go forward a few more decades, we find another cluster of Manser records in the Southwark area. On 24th May 1681 Giles Manser, a smith, was buried at St Saviour’s. On 15th Mar 1682 Abraham Manser married Avelin Granger at the church of St Mary Newington: as I wrote in an earlier post, I believe that Abraham, an apothecary in East Smithfield, on the other side of the river, was the son of John Manser of St Botolph, Aldgate.

The Old St. Mary's Church, Newington, Destryoed in 1875-1876

On 22nd November 1683 Mary, the daughter of Abraham Maunser, was christened at St George The Martyr. On 3rd October 1684 Elizabeth, an infant of Abraham Manser, apothecary, was buried at St Saviour’s. On 13th April 1687 Martha Maunser, daughter of Abraham, was christened at St George the Martyr. At present I’m not sure whether these were the children of Abraham Manser, apothecary of East Smithfield, or Abraham Maunser, confusingly also an apothecary in London, but seemingly with connections to the Southwark area.

I’m not sure whether any of these later records relate to the family of John Maunser or Manser of Southwark, or to the son of his, also named John, mentioned in Berry’s pedigree. I haven’t found a will for  John, and as it stands, our knowledge of him and his family is extremely patchy. More research is needed to determine whether the later seventeenth-century Mansers and Maunsers trace their descent from him or from other branches of the Sussex family.

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