The last will and testament of Magnus Byne of Framfield (died 1647)

An email from my fellow researcher Ed Rydahl Taylor has reminded me that, to date, I haven’t got around to transcribing the will of Magnus Byne of Framfield in Sussex. Magnus was the eldest son of my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne of Burwash (died 1611) and his wife Agnes (died 1626), and the grandson of Magnus Fowle of Mayfield (died 1595), after whom he was obviously named. He was the older brother of my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne (1586 – 1664), and is not to be confused with his namesake, Stephen’s son, Rev. Magnus Byne (1615 – 1671), the rector of Clayton-cum-Keymer and my 9 x great grandfather – nor with any of the other Magnus Bynes in the Byne family tree, including his own son and grandson (see below).

Parish church, Framfield (via wanderinggenealogist.wordpress.com)

Parish church, Framfield (via wanderinggenealogist.wordpress.com)

As I’ve noted before, Magnus Byne of Framfield was married three times: firstly to Elizabeth Polhill, secondly to Bathshua Newington, and thirdly to Elizabeth Manser née Byne, the widow of Abraham Manser of Wenbourne and the daughter of the John Byne of Wadhurst who has been the subject of a number of my recent posts. Magnus died in May 1647 a year after the end of the Civil War, and the absence from his will’s preamble of any mention of the reigning monarch may be an indication of his own political views, or simply a reflection of the confusion of the times.

I’m not sure that Magnus Byne’s will provides us with any startling new information about him or his family. The preamble includes standard Calvinist wording about ‘hoping to have full pardon of all my sinnes through the meritts of Jesus Christ my Redeemer’, probably reflecting the Byne family’s Puritan beliefs and suggesting a shift in religious sympathies from the days of his Catholic-leaning Fowle forebears (a development I plan to explore on another occasion). At the same time, Magnus’ reference to lands in Ringmer and Glynde reflects a kind of continuity with those same ancestors, in that they were inherited from his grandfather Magnus Fowle, who in turn was bequeathed them by his father Gabriel Fowle of Southover (died 1555). Magnus Byne’s appointment as overseer of ‘my trusty and welbeloved Brother Stephen Byne of Burwashe’ (my 10 x great grandfather) is surely an indication of the close bond between the two men.

In the name of God Amen the 7th day of May 1647 I Magnus Byne senior of Framfield in the County of Sussex gent being not well in body but of perfect memory thankes be to god therefore doe make and ordaine this my last will and testament in manner and forme following That is to say I comend my Soule into the handes of Almighty God my maker hoping to have full pardon of all my sinnes through the meritts of Jesus Christ my Redeemer As for my worldly Goodes I dispose of them as followeth. Item I give and bequeath to the poore people of the parish of Framfield fourteen shillinges to be payd within one weeke next after my decease Item I give to the poore people of Burwashe tenn shillinges to be payd within fifteen dayes next after my decease. Item I give to the poor people of Chiddinglie six shillings and eight pence to bee payd by my Executor within fifteen dayes next after my decease Item I give and bequeath to Magnus Byne my sonne five shillinges to be payd within one weeke next after my decease And I doe forgive unto my sonne all such said money and debts as hee doth owe or shall owe mee att the time of my decease. Item I give to Mary his wife one piece of Gold of Twenty shillinges to bee payd within 15 dayes next after my decease. Item I give Magnus Byne the sonn of my sayd sonne one piece of gold called a portigue to bee delivered unto my sayd sonnes wife to the use of her child ymmediately after my decease. Item I give and bequeath unto Mr John Sawfford minister of the parish of Framfield Twenty shillings. Item I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Byne the daughter of Thomas Byne my sonne ten shillinges and one silver spoone. Item I give and bequeath to Thomas Byne the sonne of Magnus Byne my sonne two silver spoones And my will and mynd ys that the Overseers of this my will shall see the delivery and equally dividing of the sayd spones. All the residue of my goodes chattels and credditts not formerly given and bequeathed by this my will my debts and legacyes being payd the expenses of my funeral discharged and this my ? and last will and Testament performed I give and bequeath wholy to Thomas Byne my sonne whom I make sole Executor of this my will. And as concerning my freehold landes Tennements and hereditaments lyinge in the parishes of Ringmire and Glynde I give and bequeath the same withal and singular th’appurtanances unto Thomas Byne my youngest sonne To have and to hould the sayd freehold landes Tennements and hereditaments with th’appurtenances unto the sayd Thomas Byne his heires and Assignes for ever. And I doe constitute ordaine and appoint my trusty and welbeloved Brother Stephen Byne of Burwashe and Magnus Byne his sonne to bee the Overseers of this my will to whom I give for their paynes tenne shillinges a piece and their necessary expenses to bee borne by my executor when they travel att any time aboute the sayd business. In wittnyse whereof I the sayd Magnus Byne have hereto sett my hand and Seale the day and yeare first abovewrytten fine (?) Magnus Byne Read sealed and published in the presence of John Peckham William Peckham & John Squire

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