The wife of John Byne of Wadhurst?

The mystery of the identity of John Byne of Wadhurst, Sussex, formerly of Burwash, who died in 1614, may be a step nearer to being solved – thanks to a helpful comment on an earlier post of mine, from Brenden Ashton, who is a descendant of John’s daughter Ellen, who was married to Mark Coney. Brenden suggests that John Byne might be the person of that name who married Helen Ticehurst at Brightling, three or four miles south of Burwash, on 15th September 1578. This date would fit well with Walter Renshaw’s suggestion that John was born in about 1555, and also with the birth of John’s eldest surviving daughter Elizabeth in 1584. The fact that John named his second daughter Ellen or Helen might provide further confirmation that this is the right marriage. Brenden has found the record of a baptism for Helen Ticehurst at Brightling in 1563. She would only have been about fifteen years old when she got married, but this was not unusual at the time.

Parish church, Brightling (via geograph)

Parish church, Brightling (via geograph)

Interestingly, a different John Byne married another member of the Ticehurst family. On 31st May 1602 John Byne, son of Thomas Byne of Ticehurst and grandson of Richard Byne of that village, married Susan Ticehurst. Were she and Helen sisters, perhaps? And if so, does that suggest a close family tie between the John Byne who married Helen and this other branch of the Byne family? All that is needed now is to find a Ticehurst will that mentions Helen and/or Susan, and to see whether it provides us with any further clues as to the identity of the mysterious John Byne.

Mandy Willard’s family history website provides information about a number of members of the Ticehurst family, who seem to have lived in the Ashburnham area for many generations. Unfortunately, there is no mention of either Helen or Susan. However, there are numerous references to members of the Glyd or Glyde family, who seem to have intermarried with the Ticehursts. According to Renshaw, a Thomas Glyd witnessed the 1630 will of the John Byne who married Susan Ticehurst. It should be also noted that Ashburnham and Brightling are very close to Penhurst, where the other John Byne – the subject of our quest – owned land. Perhaps he acquired it in a marriage settlement?

The Vale of Ashburnham by JMW Turner

The Vale of Ashburnham by JMW Turner

My 12 x great grandfather Magnus Fowle, whose daughter Agnes married my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne of Burwash, bequeathed forty shillings to ‘old John Tysherst his widowe sometime of Brightlinge’ in his will of 1595. This is the same will in which he left ‘Twentie shillings in gold’ to ‘Elynor Ashbourneham the daughter of Mrs Isabell Ashbourneham’, mother and daughter both being noted Catholic recusants.

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