If ‘follow the money’ is (at least since All The President’s Men) the watchword of investigative journalists, then ‘follow the property’ might be the equivalent in family history research. My fellow researcher Ed Rydahl Taylor has alerted me to the fact that, in 1621, by means of a ‘settlement’, a number of properties in Burwash, Sussex were transferred to the ownership of my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne and to William Cruttall of Wadhurst, as detailed in this summary of a document held at the East Sussex Record Office:
Henry Gouldsmyth gent and wife Faintnot of Burwash, Abraham Manser yeoman and wife Elizabeth of Wadhurst, Mark Conny yeoman and wife Helen of Burwash [sisters of Thomas Byne deceased] to Stephen Byne of Burwash yeoman and William Cruttall of Wadhurst yeoman
1. ‘Hamland’ (5a) in Burwash; two parcels ‘the Dene’ (8a) in Burwash; part of a meadow, ‘Laddes’ or ‘Swanne mead’ now inclosed (6a), all occupied by A[braham] M[anser]
2. House, kitchen, barn and orchard, together with the other part of ‘Laddes’ or ‘Swanne mead’ (2½a) with longe croft (5a), Rushe croft (2½a) Hoppers Croft (2½a) all in Burwash occupied by H[enry] G[oldsmith]
3. House, barn, orchard and eleven pieces of land (35a) called Tyle Oste or Strong land and Kembland in Burwash.
Recites a fine levied in Easter term 1621
1 to A[braham] M[anser] and E[lizabeth] M[anser] and their heirs, 2 to H[enry] G[oldsmith] and F[aintnot] G [oldsmith] and their heirs and 3 to M[ark] C[oney] and H[elen] C[oney] and their heirs, remainders to the heirs of the wives
W[itnesses]: Alexander Thomas, Thomas Longly, Richard Plasted
Endorsed ‘for Mark Conny’.
Faintnot Goldsmith, Elizabeth Manser and Helen Coney were the three elder daughters of John Byne of Wadhurst who died in 1614, and whose identity I’ve been trying to establish in recent posts. Their father left all of his lands to his only son Thomas, who died in 1618, following which his inheritance was divided between his sisters. In addition to the three sisters named here, John Byne had three other daughters: Mary, who married Francis Lucas; Judith, who married John Baker; and Anne, who married Christopher Manser.
Ed Rydahl Taylor also notes that one of the properties transferred in the above settlement, ‘Kembland in Burwash’, is probably the ‘Kemelond’, ‘Kymeland’, or ‘Kembelond’ mentioned in other documents dating back to the mid 15th century. It is usually mentioned in tandem with ‘Mellefield’, ‘Mellefelde’ or ‘Millefeld.’ One document held by the East Sussex Record Office notes that ‘Kemeland and ‘Millfield’ had been acquired by a John Byne by 1540, though unfortunately no reference or date is available. Although we can’t be absolutely certain, this is almost certainly the John Byne who died at Burwash in 1559, was the brother of Richard Byne of Ticehurst who died in 1574, and almost certainly the brother of my 12 x great grandfather William Byne of Burwash, who also died in 1559. This John Byne of Burwash was married to a woman named Joan and they had three sons: Richard, Symon and Henry.
Walter Renshaw’s history of the Byne family provides a brief summary (page 76) of John Byne’s will of 1559. Apparently he bequeathed lands called Kenwardes and Stanlynes in Burwash to his son Symon, and to his son Henry he devised Woodlands and Mattens Crofts, also in Burwash. His son Richard died two years after his father, in 1561, apparently without issue.
I haven’t seen the original will, but I wonder if it’s possible that Renshaw’s ‘Kenwardes’ is a mis-reading of ‘Kemeland’ or similar? If so, what became of it when Symon died, only a year after his father? Symon’s will leaves money to his wife, his son Richard, daughter Margery, and to his brother Richard. He leaves his land and estate to his wife, until his son comes of age. That son, Richard, was baptised in 1559. Renshaw thinks he might be the Richard Byne who graduated from Cambridge in 1608. I can’t find any trace of him after that date, but in any case, his dates are too late to help us follow the trail to John Byne of Wadhurst.
Is it possible that Renshaw got things wrong, and that (perhaps) the original John Byne of Burwash also had another son, John junior, born in the late 1550s, who eventually inherited ‘Kemeland’? We know that John Byne of Wadhurst was of the same generation as John Byne of Burwash’s children, and also that he was probably born in Burwash. If this earlier John Byne was his father, then the later John would have been a first cousin of my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne, and the uncle of my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne. And Stephen would have been a second cousin to John Byne’s daughters, from whom he took over ownership of the properties mentioned in the above transaction, including ‘Kembland’.
There is a slight contradiction between the 1621 record and another document held by the East Sussex Record Office, dated April 1625, which suggests that Mary Lucas, one of the younger daughters of John Byne of Wadhurst, received ‘Keemeland’ as part of her ‘moiety’ on her brother Thomas’ death:
Francis Lucas of Barcombe, yeoman and wife Mary to Goddard Cruttenden of Burwash, butcher
Keemeland (13a) and 4 pieces of land (18a): E: land of James Picknoll and of the heirs of John Cowper; S: ‘Kingsdowne'; N: the whapple way from Dudwell bridge to the four pieces of land
Recites a writ of partition of the lands late Thomas Byne by Nicholas Eversfield esq, sheriff , assigning this property to his sister Mary Lucas; deeds to be copied at G[oddard] C[ruttenden]‘s expense
W[itnesses]: Magnus Byne Stephen Byne, Mark Conney, David Lucas
I suspect that what’s needed is a thorough trawl of the earlier Byne family wills, to pursue more closely the trail of properties through three generations.