Magnus Byne of Framfield (1576 – 1647)

My 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne of Burwash, Sussex, who died in 1614, and whose will I discussed in the previous post, had five sons who survived him. In this post I want to write about his eldest son, Magnus. Named after Edward’s father-in-law, Magnus Fowle of Mayfield, this Magnus Byne shouldn’t be confused with later bearers of the same name – especially his nephew, my 9 x great grandfather Magnus Byne (1615 – 1671), the rector of Clayton-cum-Keymer.

Burwash parish church

Burwash parish church

Magnus Byne, the son of Edward Byne and his wife Agnes Fowle, was baptised at Burwash on 4th November 1576, a little over a year after his parents’ marriage, and in the seventeenth year of the reign of Elizabeth I. In 1595, when Magnus was nineteen, his maternal grandfather Magnus Fowle appointed him co-executor, with his mother Agnes, of his last will and testament. Although Magnus Fowle decreed that, on his death, his son-in-law Edward Byne should have the profits of his various properties, he also stated that after five years these should pass to his grandson Magnus Byne, and also that following the death of his mother Agnes, all of the property left to her should pass to him.

Renshaw’s history of the Byne family (pages 107-8) notes that in 1602, when Magnus would have been twenty-six years old, ‘Cortelands in Ticehurst were mortgaged by John Humfrey to Magnus Byne to secure £54 10s. made payable at the house of “Edward Byne the father in Burwash”.’ Two years later, in 1604, Magnus married Elizabeth Polhill of Burwash: on the licence he is described as a gentleman of Burwash. One of the sureties named on the licence was Hamond Hardiman of Cliff, near Lewes. Hardiman, a glover by trade, was married to Mary Harman, daughter of John Harman, the Lewes merchant who married Agnes, sister of Magnus Fowle: in other words, he was Magnus Byne’s second cousin. His name on Magnus’ marriage licence, and his involvement with Magnus in a bond mentioned elsewhere by Renshaw (page 109) suggests a continuing close relationship between Magnus and his mother’s family. As I’ve noted before, the exact identity of Elizabeth Polhill remains unclear, but she almost certainly had some connection with the family of John Polhill who married Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Fowle of Wadhurst.

Magnus and Elizabeth Byne had a daughter named Elizabeth who died in infancy and was buried at Burwash on 22nd June 1606. Magnus’ wife Elizabeth would die, perhaps in childbirth, just over a year later and be buried on 28th July 1607.

Framfield parish church

Framfield parish church

Renshaw states that in July 1606 Magnus Byne was admitted to Croxted and other ‘extensive copyholds’ of the manor of Framfield, which was about twelve miles to the west of Burwash. In the following year he was plaintiff and his father Edward was deforciant in a fine levied as to lands in Ringmer. Perhaps these were lands bequeathed by Magnus Fowle, but it’s unclear whether this case is evidence of a disagreement between father and son.

On 23rd August 1608 Magnus Byne married for a second time, at Kingston Bowsey (now Kingston by Sea) to Bathshua Newington, daughter of Morgan Newington of that parish and his wife Elizabeth Stephens. Bathshua’s first name hints at her parents’ religious sympathies. Two of Bathshua’s brothers married daughters of Goddard Hepden of Burwash (the uncle of Elizabeth Hepden who married Nicholas Manser of Hightown, Wadhurst) with even more obviously Puritan names: Samuel Newington married Hopestill Hepden, and Thomas Newington married her sister Fearnot; another relative, Zabulon Newington, married a third sister, Goodgift. Morgan Newington’s will of 1610 mentions his daughter ‘Bathshua Byne’ while his widow Elizabeth’s will of 1622 bequeaths ‘to the four children of Magnus Byne my sonne in law 10s. each’ (Renshaw, page 108).

Magnus’ father Edward Byne died in 1614. His will divides his household effects between his five sons and also bequeaths them sums of money, but makes no mention of his land holdings. This may mean that he had made provision for these properties elsewhere, or that they were all inherited by Magnus, as the eldest son.

In 1611 Magnus Byne, ‘gent.’ was a churchwarden at Framfield. His second wife Bathshua was buried there on 22nd July 1620. Eight years later, on 17th June 1628, Magnus married for a third time, to Elizabeth Manser, widow of Abraham Manser of Wenbourne. Abraham was the younger brother of my 11 x great grandfather John Manser of Wadhurst, whose daughter Mary had married Magnus’ brother, my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne, in 1611. Elizabeth Manser had been born a Byne: her father was the John Byne of Burwash (Renshaw, pages 194 & ff) whose precise connection with my Byne ancestors I’m still trying to establish.

Renshaw mentions a purchase of land in Burwash made by Magnus Byne in 1629, and in 1642 a court case relating to properties in Battle and Ticehurst. Magnus Byne made his will on 7th May 1647. He died shortly afterwards and was buried on 13th May at Framfield.

Magnus Byne had four children. John, his firstborn, was mentioned in his grandfather Edward’s will of 1611, so must have been the child of Magnus’ first or second marriage, but I have no further information about him. His daughter Agnes was also mentioned in her grandfather’s will. She married John Bennett of Lewes in about December 1639.

Another son, Magnus Byne junior, married Mary Durrant in 1637. He seems to have inherited a considerable amount of property in Framfield from his father, so perhaps his older brother John died young leaving Magnus as the heir. Magnus and Mary Byne had a number of children, including yet another Magnus Byne, also a gentleman of Framfield, who married Constance, widow of John Osbaldiston, a recusant.

Little is known about Magnus Byne’s third son, Thomas, except that he seems to have inherited property in Ringmer and also to have owned land in East Hoathly. Renshaw suggests that he is probably the Thomas Byne who was buried at Burwash in August 1667 and who had children named Elizabeth, Thomas and William.

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