Some notes on the will of Edward Byne of Burwash

The last will and testament of my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne of Burwash, signed and sealed in December 1611, includes some interesting information about him and his family.

Parish church of St Bartholomew, Burwash

Parish church of St Bartholomew, Burwash

Although will preambles should not be taken as an entirely reliable guide to the testator’s religious affiliation, it’s worth noting that Edward’s is fairly neutral and certainly doesn’t reflect the Calvinism of some of his descendants. He simply commends his soul ‘into the hands of Allmighty God my maker and redeemer and my Body to the earth when yt shall please him’. I plan to return to the shifting religious loyalties of my Sussex ancestors in another post.

Edward bequeaths ‘tenn shillings of lawfull English money’ to his brother Symon Byne. Symon, whose wife Elinor had died in 1608, would outlive Edward by just two years, dying in 1616. One of Edward’s sons, Stephen, my 10 x great grandfather, acted as an overseer of his uncle’s will and another son, Magnus, would be a witness. Edward Byne’s other brother Anthony had died in 1591.

Edward Byne makes bequests to his five sons – Magnus, John, William, Edward and Stephen. They are to inherit certain items of furniture which I assume are from Edward’s house in Burwash, though his son Edward junior is given items from his father’s house in ‘Chatfield’ – i.e. Catsfield. The sons also receive gifts of money, as do two grandchildren, John and Agnes, the children of Edward’s eldest son Magnus. As I noted in an earlier post, Magnus had already been married twice at the time of his father’s death: first to Elizabeth Polhill, and then to Bathshua Newington. At this stage, I’m not sure which of these wives was the mother of John and Agnes: I’ll explore Magnus Byne’s life and family in a separate post.

Edward also bequeaths money to a number of godchildren. Of these, Edward Byne was probably the son of his late brother Anthony Byne of Battle, of whose will Edward Byne of Burwash had been co-executor twenty years earlier. Thomas Byne may have been another nephew, the son of Edward’s other brother Symon, born in 1590.

Countryside near Wadhurst (via morgenguard.com)

Countryside near Wadhurst (via morgenguard.com)

I’m grateful to my fellow researcher Ed Rydahl Taylor for the information that another godson, Edward Cruttoll, was probably the son of William Cruttoll of Wadhurst, who died in 1616. Edward Cruttoll would make his own will in 1653. At this stage, it’s not possible to determine the precise relationship between the Cruttolls and the Byne family, though we know that another William Cruttoll would marry Ellen or Helen Manser, daughter of Abraham Manser of Wenbourne and his wife Elizabeth Byne, in 1636, while a Christopher Cruttoll witnessed Abraham’s will of 1627. (To complicate the picture further: after Abraham’s death, Elizabeth would marry Magnus Byne, son of Edward, thus becoming his third wife.)

As for ‘Edward Morphen my godsonne’, the International Genealogical Index suggests that he may have been the son of William Morfin of Mayfield and that he may have been baptised there on 8th October 1598. His father is probably the person referred to in the 1595 will of Edward Byne’s father-in-law Magnus Fowle as ‘my Brother William Morffyn’ and appointed as one of the overseers of that will. Presumably he was the husband of ‘my sister Morfyn’ also mentioned by Magnus: ‘I give to my sister Morfyn Tenne shillings and to her children Twentie shillings’. I’ve been able to find no further information about the Morfyns or Morphens of Mayfield, my only clue being the reference to a John Murfin in the Recusant Rolls for 1592-3.

Countryside near Mayfield, Sussex (via countrylife.co.uk)

Countryside near Mayfield, Sussex (via countrylife.co.uk)

There are two witnesses to Edward Byne’s will. One is David Foster, who I assume was a relative (perhaps a son?) of Edward’s sister Jane who married Henry Foster. The other is John Byne, who is probably the person referred to elsewhere as ‘my Couzen John Byne of Burwash Towne’ and appointed as joint overseer together with Edward’s brother Symon. Renshaw, in his history of the Byne family, suggests that John may be the person of that name who was the father of the Elizabeth Byne who married Abraham Manser, and later Magnus Byne, and whose identity and connection to the other Bynes of Burwash is unclear. I plan to explore this mystery at a later date, but for now, I suggest that there might be at least two other candidates for the John Byne mentioned in Edward Byne’s will.

Renshaw himself notes that Edward’s brother Simon had two sons named John, one who died in infancy in 1590, and a second whose date of birth is not given, but who would obviously have been after 1590, meaning that he might have been twenty years old or so when Edward made his will. Perhaps a stronger candidate is the John Byne who was born in 1576, the son of Edward’s cousin Thomas Byne, himself the son of Richard Byne of Ticehurst. This person was apparently a churchwarden in Burwash in 1609 and 1611, where Edward himself had served in the same capacity some years earlier. The first of these John Bynes would have been Edward’s nephew, the other his second cousin, but we know that the word ‘cousin’ was often used very loosely in wills of the time, to cover any number of family relationships.

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The last will and testament of Edward Byne of Burwash

Graves in Burwash churchyard

Graves in Burwash churchyard

In the last post I wrote about my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne of Burwash, Sussex, who was buried there on 4th January 1613/4. Two years earlier, on 11th December 1611, Edward had made his will, a copy of which I’ve now obtained and managed to transcribe. I’m reproducing my transcription in this post, and in the next post I’ll reflect on what we learn from the will about Edward and his family.

In the name of God Amen the eleventh daye of December in the yeare of our Lord God one Thousand Six Hundred and Eleven and in the nynthe yeare of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord James by the grace of God of England Fraunce and Ireland Kinge defender of the faythe and of Scotland the five and fortieth I Edward Byne of the parrishe of Burwashe in the County of Sussex yeoman being in good health and of good and perfect memory I prayse God therefore doe make ordayne and dispose this my present Testament and last will in writinge in manner and forme following First and principally I Commend my Soule into the hands of Allmighty God my maker and redeemer and my Body to the earth when yt shall please him, Item I give to the poore people of the parrishe of Burwashe Tenn Shillings of lawfull money of England To bee payd and distributed amongst the poorest of them by my Executrix hereafter named upon the daye of my burial or within halfe a yeare next after my decease at her discretion Item I give and bequeath unto Symon Byne my brother Tenn shillings of lawfull English money To bee payd unto him within one whole yeare next after my decease Item I give and bequeath unto my sonne John my best Cubbard standing in the hall the iron plates standing in the hall Chimny and in the kitchen Chymny the furnase in the backhouse my best ioyned Chest standing in the middle Chamber the ioyned bedsteddle in the same Chamber one featherbed one bowlster two pillows two pillowcotes one Covering one blankett fower payres of sheetes of indifferente sorte two pewter platters one pewter dishe a latten Candlesticke the longe table in the hall with the frame, whereon yt lyeth and my best longe forme Item I give and bequeath to my sonne William one bedsteddle or Twenty shillings of money one featherbed one bowlster twoo pillows two pillowcotes one Covering one blanket fower payres of sheetes of indifferent sorte two pewter platters one pewter dishe Item I give and bequeath unto my sonne Edward my ioyned bedsteddle standing in my house at Chatfeild with all the other moveable goods of mine there one featherbed one bowlster two pillows two pillowcotes one Coveringe one blanket fower payres of sheetes two pewter platters one pewter dishe Item I give and bequeath unto my sonne Stephen one ioyned bedsteddle or Twenty shillings of money one featherbed one bowlster two pillows two pillowcotes one coveringe one blanket fower payres of sheetes of indifferent sorte twoo pewter platters one pewter dishe Item I give and bequeath unto Magnus Byne my sonne Twenty pounds of lawfull Englishe money To bee payd unto him within one whole yeare next after my decease Item I give and bequeath unto John Byne sonne of the sayd Magnus five pounds of lawfull Englishe money and I give unto Agnes Byne daughter of the sayd Magnus Byne the like some of five pounds To bee payd unto them and putt fourth for them by my Executrix within one halfe yeare next after my decease for and to the use of benefit and advantage of them And whereas my sonne Edward Byne standeth bounde unto mee in one obligacion of the some of Two hundred pounds with condicion there underwritten for the full payment of one hundred pounds of currante Englishe money out of thys aforesaid some of one hundred pounds I give and bequeath unto my sonne William fifty pounds of currante Englishe money To bee payd unto him by my sonne Edward within one whole yeare next after my decease All with goods and household stuffe so by mee before given and bequeathed unto my severall sonnes aforesaid my will and true meaning ys that Agnes my wife shall have enioye and use during her naturall life and after her decease to come and remayne unto them according as the same ys beforegiven Item I give and bequeath to my sonne William fyfty pounds of currante Englishe money To bee payd him by myne Executrix within one whole yeare next after my decease Item I give and bequeathe unto Edward Byne my godsonne Three shillings foure pence of lawfull Englishe money Item I give to Edward Cruttoll my godsonne three shillings foure pence And I give unto Thomas Byne my godsonne Twoo shillings six pence And also I give unto Edward Morphen my godsonne Twoo shillings six pence And I give unto Thomas Byne my godsonne two shillings six pence To be payd within one whole yeare next after my decease All the residue of all my moveable goods and Chattles not formerly given or bequeathed I give unto Agnes my wife the debts and legacyes being first payd and dischardged whom I make my sole Executrix of this my last will and Testament Also I also further nominate ordeyne and appoynt my Couzen John Byne of Burwashe Towne and my Brother Symon Byne to bee my trusty supervisors and Overseers of this my last will and Testament to see the same performed according to my true intent and meaning And I give unto them three shillings foure pence a peece and to have all their Chardges and Expenses payd and borne when they shall travel and take paynes to see my will performed The marke of Edward Byne John Byne David Foster.

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Edward Byne of Burwash (died 1614)

In the previous post I wrote about the family of my 12 x great grandfather William Byne of Burwash, Sussex, who died in 1559. In this post I want to focus on what we know about his son Edward, my 11 x great grandfather, and his immediate family.

Burwash parish church

Burwash parish church

As I’ve noted before, Edward Byne was probably born in the early 1550s, perhaps during the brief reign of Edward VI. His father William was a yeoman farmer in Burwash, with properties at Witteres (probably modern Witherhurst), Upper Croft, Colth and Moyses. Edward is the first son mentioned in William’s will, so he may have been the eldest of the three: his brothers were Anthony and Symon. There were also two sisters, Margaret and Jane, of whom the former at least must have been older than Edward, since she married her husband Goddard Russell in 1551.

In other posts I’ve suggested that John Byne of Burwash, who died in 1559 (a few months after William) and Richard Byne of Ticehurst, who died in 1574, were probably William Byne’s brothers, and therefore Edward’s uncles. John Byne and his wife Joan had four children – Richard, Symon, Henry and Joan – all of whom lived in Burwash and would have been Edward’s first cousins, though they were perhaps somewhat older than him. Edward’s uncle Richard and his wife Gillian, living in nearby Ticehurst, had five children – John, Thomas, Anne, Odiane and Margaret – who were also Edward’s cousins. The families seem to have been close, since John Byne, son of Richard, who married Dionysia Pudland and lived at Witherden in Burwash, mentioned Edward in his will of 1581 and at the same time appointed Edward’s father-in-law Magnus Fowle of Mayfield as an overseer. Thomas, another of Richard’s sons, made Edward the overseer of his own will in 1588.

Countryside near Mayfield, Sussex (via http://media.rightmove.co.uk)

Countryside near Mayfield, Sussex (via http://media.rightmove.co.uk)

Edward Byne would still have been a child when his father William died in 1559. In his will of 1557 William divided his lands between his three sons, but he left all his copyhold lands, as well as Moyses Farm, to Edward.

As already mentioned, Edward’s sister Margaret married Goddard Russell of Salehurst in 1551. There is some evidence that they may have lived at Brightling. We don’t know when Edward’s sister Jane married Henry Foster, or when his brother Anthony married his wife Joan and went to live in Battle. His brother Symon married Elinor Pudland (sister of Dionysia, who was married to his cousin John Byne) on the day after Edward married Agnes Fowle, and at the same church in Burwash.

Edward’s mother Joan died in 1575, perhaps a few months before his marriage. She appointed him executor of her will, which was proved in September of that year, and required him ‘to gyve to the Poore ate my burryal 10s. for my sowles helthe’.

Edward married Agnes on 24th October 1575, in the sixteenth year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. As I’ve noted in other posts, Agnes Fowle was the only daughter of Magnus Fowle of Mayfield, about eight miles north-west of Burwash, and his wife Alice Lucke. Magnus was the son of Gabriel Fowle, master of the Free Grammar School in Lewes, and a member of the Fowle family who were originally from the Lamberhurst area, just across the county border in Kent, and who included the Fowles of Riverhall in Wadhurst.

Walter Charles Renshaw’s history of the Byne family includes some useful information on Edward Byne’s property transactions, and on other contemporary records that refer to him (see Renshaw pages 98 – 101). Apparently Edward was a churchwarden at Burwash in 1592. He was a copyhold tenant of the manor of Bivelham, in Mayfield. His freeholds were called Bronserdshill. He was also a freehold tenant of the manor of Hammerden, this property being at or near Stonegate Cross in Ticehurst. He owned a property in Catsfield called Heardsbeake and another called Somerleas. In addition, Edward owned land in Burwash, Waldron, Heathfield and in Ringmer (the latter, like his property in Mayfield, might have been inherited from his father-in-law Magnus Fowle, a noted landowner in that area, who in turn had inherited property there from his father Gabriel).

Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle

Renshaw also refers to a transaction concerning a property called Twiserlye, consisting of ten acres abutting on to Somerleas. This was conveyed to Edward and his third son, Edward junior, and also involved another son, Magnus, and a certain Walter Saxpes, a gentleman of Battle. The property was conveyed by deed poll, in consideration of £50, ‘under the hand and seals of Dame Helen Pelham, widow of Sir Edmund Pelham, Henry Darrell and Thomas Tyndall’. Renshaw gives no date for this transaction but it must have been after Edmund Pelham’s death in 1611.

Sir Edmund Pelham was a member of the distinguished Pelham family of Laughton. He was an Irish judge who held the office of Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer. His marriage to Helen or Ellen Darrell of Scotney Castle in Lamberhurst was a surprising one for an ambitious lawyer, since the Darrells were Catholic recusants who allowed the Jesuits to use Scotney as a refuge. The Henry Darrell mentioned here was probably Helen’s brother (they were both the children of Thomas Darrell of Scotney), who married Margaret, daughter of Sir Edward Gage of Firle in Ringmer, a courtier in the time of Henry VIII and a member of another prominent recusant family.

Edward and Agnes Byne had the following children who survived, all of them born and baptised in Burwash: Magnus Byne was baptised on 4th November 1576, William on 28th October 1579, Edward junior on 21st May 1581, Stephen (my 10 x great grandfather) on 3rd July 1586 and John on 6th April 1589. They also had an unbaptised daughter, who was buried on 14th August 1590, and a son named James, baptised on 9th December 1593 and buried on 20th December 1594.

In 1595, when Edward and Agnes Byne had been married twenty years and were probably in their forties, Agnes’ father Magnus Fowle died. In his will Magnus Fowle appointed his daughter Agnes and grandson (whom he describes as his godson) Magnus Byne as his joint executors (the latter would have been about 19 years old at this time). The will includes the following request:

I will that ymeadyatlie after my decease my sonne in lawe Edward Byne shall have and take duringe the term of five yeares nexte after my decease the proffitts of all suche Landes and Tenements as I have purchased Lyenge in Ringmer and Maughfield upon condicion and to this ende purpose and effecte and not otherwise viz that he performe and accomplishe this my will, paye my Legacies and debts 

The said legacies are then enumerated, after which Magnus declares that if his son-in-law should fail to pay them, his overseers should make sure that his intentions are fulfilled. He continues:

Item I will that after the saide five yeares be ended Magnus Byne shall have the use and possession and the proffitts of my said purchased landes duringe the coverture between my daughter his mother and the saide Edwarde Byne his father.

Does this suggest a degree of frostiness, not to say distrust, in relations between Edward Byne and his father-in-law? Is it significant that Renshaw’s history also refers to the fact that, in 1588, Edward was deforciant in a fine levied of land in Waldron in which Magnus Fowle was plaintiff (Renshaw, page 100)?

In 1604 Edward and Agnes Byne’s eldest son Magnus married Elizabeth Polhill, who was also of Burwash. Elizbeth died three years later and in 1608 Magnus , now living in Framfield, married Bathshua Newington of Kingston Bowsey. In January 1611/12 Edward and Agnes Byne’s son Stephen married Mary Maunser, daughter of John Maunser of Wadhurst.

Edward Byne made his will on 11th December 1611, in the ninth year of the reign of James I. He was buried at Burwash on 4th January 1613/14.

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The family of William Byne of Burwash (died 1559)

In the last two posts I’ve been tracing the descendants of two brothers, John and Richard Byne of Burwash, Sussex, who were born in the early years of the sixteenth century and died in 1559 and 1574 respectively. In his history of the Byne family, Walter Charles Renshaw suggests that there was probably a third Byne brother: my 12 x great grandfather William Byne. Although I’ve written about William and his family before, for the sake of symmetry I’ll use this post to trace his family’s descent through three generations, as I did for John and Richard.

Interior of St Bartholomew's church, Burwash

Interior of St Bartholomew’s church, Burwash

First generation

William Byne was probably born, like John and Richard Byne, in the first decade of the sixteenth century. He may have married his wife Joan some time around 1530. William and Joan Byne had five surviving children: Margaret or Margery, Edward (my 11 x great grandfather), Anthony, Symon and Jane.

William Byne made his will on 16th April 1557, appointing John Byne (probably his brother) as overseer, and he was buried at Burwash on 28th August 1559. His wife Joan made her will on 20th May 1567 and was buried on 31st July 1575.

Second generation: the children of William Byne

Margaret or Margery Byne was probably the eldest child, as she seems to have married first. She married Goddard Russell of Salehurst in 1551. According to her brother Anthony’s will she had a son named Thomas and was still alive in 1590.

Edward Byne, my 11 x great grandfather, married Agnes Fowle, only daughter of Magnus Fowle of Mayfield, on 24th October 1575, which suggests that he was probably born in the early 1550s. Edward and Agnes Byne had the following children: Magnus, William, Edward, Stephen (my 10 x great grandfather), John, an unbaptized daughter buried in 1590, and James, born in December 1593 and buried a year later. Edward Byne made his will on 11th December 1611 and was buried at Burwash on 4th January 1614. His widow Agnes made her will in 1625 and died in the following year.

Anthony Byne married a woman named Joan and lived in Battle. They had a son called Edward. In 1581 Anthony Byne witnessed the will of John Byne, son of Richard Byne of Ticehurst, and probably Anthony’s first cousin, alongside Magnus Fowle (father-in-law of Anthony’s brother Edward). Anthony’s will was dated 2nd July 1590 and proved on 22nd August 1591. His brother Edward was appointed as co-executor, with his wife ‘Johane’ or Joan. Anthony’s son Edward was not yet of age when his father made his will.

Symon Byne married Elinor Pudland at Burwash on 25th October 1574. Elinor was the daughter of Richard Pudland of Heathfield, and the sister of Dionysia Pudland who married Symon’s cousin John, son of his uncle Richard Byne of Ticehurst. Symon and Elinor had the following children: Edward (born and died in 1584), William (born 1587), John (born 1589, died 1590), Thomas (born 1590), Joan (apparently non compos mentis, died 1625), and another John. Symon Byne was churchwarden at Burwash in 1602. Elinor died in 1608 and Symon in 1616. He appointed Stephen Byne of Mayfield, yeoman – presumably my 10 x great grandfather, the son of his brother Edward- as one of the overseers of his will. Magnus Byne, another of Edward’s sons, and William Byne, his own eldest son, were witnesses.

Jane Byne married Henry Foster. She was still living in 1590.

The gatehouse, Battle Abbey

The gatehouse, Battle Abbey

Third generation

I’ll discuss the children of my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne in a separate post.

Children of Anthony Byne 

The only surviving child of Anthony Byne was his son and heir Edward, who seems to have inherited his father’s property in Battle. A catalogue of the muniments of Battle Abbey includes the following entries:

Admission of EDWARD BYNE, son and heir of ANTHONY BYNE, to the Moiety of a Tenement called the Harpe, at the Manor Court of Battle, held by Magdalen Viscountess Montague, April 24, 1593. 

Admission of EDWARD BYNE, son and heir of ANTHONY BYNE, to the Moiety of the Tenement called Stacey’s otherwise Loxbeche, in the Manor of Battle, April 24, 1593. Byne, on the same day, had Admission to the Moiety of a Tenement called Brond’s Ponde. 

Magdalen Dacre, Viscountess Montague, was the matriarch of one of the leading Catholic recusant families in Sussex, and Battle Abbey, one of the family’s two houses in the county (the other was at Cowdray Castle, Midhurst), was thought to be a hiding place for priests smuggled into the country. The Montagues’ house in Southwark was also a noted recusant centre and this may explain the area’s importance for members of the Ashburnham family, who had links with my ancestor Magnus Fowle. Clare Asquith, in her book about the coded religious and political messages of Shakespeare’s plays, makes the case for Magdalen Montague being the inspiration for his Winter’s Tale. Of course, none of this means that the Bynes of Battle were necessarily sympathetic to the recusant cause: they may simply have been tenants of the Montagues.

According to Renshaw, Edward Byne filed a bill in Chancery in 1611 against a Thomas Couchman of Batttle. Apparently this record reveals that Edward had recently carried on the trade of beer brewer at Battle. An ‘Edward Byne of Battle yeoman’, perhaps a grandson or great grandson, was alive in 1773.

Effigy of Magdalen Dacre, Viscountess Montague (died 1608)

Effigy of Magdalen Dacre, Viscountess Montague (died 1608)

Children of Symon Byne

William Byne seems to have married Anne, daughter of Isaac Athurst. Their children may have included Margaret or Mary Byne, who was baptised at Burwash in 1614; Judith, born in 1616; Susan , who was born in 1618 and married Edward Sanderson in 1638; Anne, born in 1621; William, born in 1623; Bathshua, born in 1625; Elizabeth, born and died in 1629; and John, born in 1630.

Renshaw’s history includes no further information concerning Symon Byne’s other two sons Thomas, who was born in 1590, and John, born a few years later.

 

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The family of Richard Byne of Ticehurst (died 1574)

Having summarised what we know about the family of John Byne of Burwash, who died in 1559, I turn now to his brother Richard, whose family it’s possible to trace through to the eighteenth century. However, my interest is in the early generations of the family, and in this post I’ll set out what we know about them.

Fields south of Ticehurst, Sussex (via geograph.co.uk)

Fields south of Ticehurst, Sussex (via geograph.co.uk)

First generation

Richard Byne was probably born in Burwash in the first or second decade of the sixteenth century. He married Gillian, perhaps in the early 1540s. They lived at Witherden farm in Ticehurst, about five miles from Burwash, where (according to Renshaw, p. 79) Richard was assessed, first on £16 and then on £13, in goods, at 16 and 13 shillings respectively, to the Lay Subsidy levied in 1549 and 1552, of which he was also a ‘pettye collector’. He purchased land in Burwash from Henry Merry in 1566 and his will refers to ‘my newe howse’ there. Richard and Gillian Byne had five children: John, Thomas, Anne, Odiane and Margaret.

Richard Byne made his will on 8th April 1574, appointing his ‘cosin’ (i.e. nephew, son of his brother John) Henry Byne as overseer, and it was proved on 13th May in the same year. Gillian Byne was buried at Burwash on 20th February 1581.

Old map showing part of East Sussex

Old map showing part of East Sussex

Second generation: children of Richard Byne 

John Byne was probably born in about 1545 in Ticehurst. He married Dionysia Pudland, daughter of Richard Pudland of Heathfield, in Burwash on 10th July 1569. According to John’s will of 25th January 1580, he lived at Witherden, which he must have inherited from his father Richard. John and Dionysia Byne had two children: Mary, and an unnamed child baptised at Burwash on 10th April 1574 and buried there on 18th May in the same year. John Byne’s will, proved on 10th May 1581, makes reference to two of my direct ancestors: my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne (who, if my hypothesis is correct, was John’s first cousin) and the latter’s father-in-law, my 12 x great grandfather Magnus Fowle of Mayfield, who was one of the witnesses to the will. 

Thomas Byne was probably born in the early 1540s in Ticehurst. There is a record of a marriage between Thomas Byne and Agnes Stephen in Ticehurst on 13th June 1563, but the name of Thomas’ wife in his will of 1588 (in which he appointed Edward Byne as one of its overseers) was Amy. Thomas Byne and his wife or wives had eight children: Lawrence, Thomas, John, Peter, Joseph, Margaret, Elizabeth and Mary. Thomas Byne senior was buried at Burwash on 23rd November 1588. Amy Byne made her will on 16th January 1616, appointing Stephen Byne (my 10 x great grandfather and her late husband’s nephew) as one of the overseers. 

Anne Byne was probably born in the 1540s. She married a man with the surname Gardiner.

Odiane Byne and Margaret Byne may have been born in the early 1550s. We have no further information about them.

Map showing villages on the Kent-Sussex border

Map showing villages on the Kent-Sussex border

Third generation

Children of John Byne

Mary Byne married Thomas Freeman, a yeoman of Burwash. She was buried at Burwash on 12th April 1623.

Children of  Thomas Byne

Lawrence Byne was baptised at Burwash on 13th December 1571. He married Margery Yonge and they lived in Brenchley, Kent. They had five children: John, Thomas, Mary, Amy and Elizabeth. Renshaw speculates that John and Thomas Byne were ‘the persons of that name who participated in the royalist rising in Kent in 1648’ and were subsequently imprisoned (Renshaw, pp. 83-84). John Byne had married Mildred Maylam at Maidstone in 1628. Amy married Thomas Mitchell of Maidstone in 1631. Lawrence Byne made his will on 1st July 1623 and it was proved on 12th August in that year.

Thomas Byne was christened at Burwash on 14th February 1574. He may have married a woman named Alice and lived at Ticehurst. Thomas apparently died intestate before 1618 and seems not to have had any children.

John Byne was baptised at Burwash on 10th June 1576. He married Susan Ticehurst on 31st May 1602. He was churchwarden of Burwash in 1609 and 1611. John and Susan Byne had the following children: Mary (born 1604), Anne (1605 – 1618), Thomas (born 1607), Elizabeth (1608), Susan (1611), Goodgift (1614), John (January – March, 1617), John (born 1619), Anne (1623) and Ellen. John Byne made his will on 2nd April 1630 and was buried at Burwash four days later.

Peter Byne was baptised at Burwash on 16th February 1579. He married Jane Humphry in about May 1612. Peter lived in Ticehurst but was tenant of a farm in Burwash. In 1622 he was excommunicated for not attending church. He seems to have died without issue and was buried at Burwash on 30th March 1630.

Joseph Byne was christened at Burwash on 23rd August 1584 and seems never to have married. He was a customary tenant of the manor of Burwash on various dates between 1624 and 1630. Joseph was buried at Burwash on 26th January 1636.

Margaret Byne was baptised at Burwash on 3rd September 1567. She appears to have married William Meriam on 15th August 1594 at Goudhurst, Kent.

Elizabeth Byne was christened at Burwash on 28th September 1569. She married a man by the name of Webb.

Mary Byne was baptised at Burwash on 8th June 1572. We have no further information about her.

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The family of John Byne of Burwash (died 1559)

Some weeks ago I wrote about the early generations of the Byne family of Burwash, Sussex. My earliest confirmed Byne ancestor was my 12 x great grandfather William, who died in 1559, the year after Elizabeth I became queen, having lived through the traumatic reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary Tudor. Walter Charles Renshaw, whose 1913 history of the Sussex Bynes is the main source for my knowledge of the family, suggests that William may have been the brother of two other men who were living in Burwash at the same period: John and Richard Byne. In this and subsequent posts, I want to set down what we know about each of these brothers and their families.

In this post, I’ll be focusing on John Byne of Burwash and his family, which we can trace through three generations before the line appears to die out. 

Burwash churchyard (via www.hebdens.com)

Burwash churchyard (via http://www.hebdens.com)

First generation 

John Byne was probably born in Burwash in the first decade of the sixteenth century. In 1534 he was fined 2d. for ‘cutting down trees and upsetting the King’s highway and filling up a ditch’ (Renshaw, p.75). In 1549 he was assessed at Burwash to the Lay Subsidy then levied at 13 shillings on £13 in goods.

John married Joan, perhaps some time around the year 1530. They had four children: Symon, Henry, Richard and Joan.

John Byne made his will on 27th November 1559 , appointing his brother Richard Byne as overseer, and was buried at Burwash two days later (three months after my ancestor – his brother? – William).

Countryside near Burwash (via bandbchurchhouse.co.uk)

Countryside near Burwash (via bandbchurchhouse.co.uk)

Second generation: children of John Byne

Richard Byne died two years after his father and was buried at Burwash on 16th April 1561.

Symon Byne married a woman named Joan, probably some time in the 1550s. They had two children: Margaret or Margery, and Richard, who was christened on 20th August 1559. Symon Byne made his will on 20th December 1560, appointing his brother Henry as executor.

Henry Byne was married twice. His first wife was Margery: they probably married in about 1560. They had two children, Henry and William. Margery died in 1576. Henry’s second wife was Elinor Cruttenden, whom he married on 2nd December 1577 at Burwash. Henry Byne senior made his will on 2nd April 1578 and was buried six days later at Burwash.

Joan Byne was married twice. Her first husband was Goddard Cruttenden, who died in 1575, appointing his brother-in-law Henry Byne as overseer of his will. They had two children, Goddard and John. Joan’s second husband was Thomas Barham, whom she married at Burwash on 15th October 1576.

Burwash village today, via geograph

Burwash village today, via geograph

Third generation

Children of Simon Byne 

Richard Byne was perhaps (according to Renshaw) the Richard Byne, M.A. of Cambridge, who was incorporated at Oxford on 12th July 1608. Nothing further is known about him.

Margaret Byne may have married Henry Garnet at Buxted on 11th October 1573.

Children of Henry Byne

William Byne may be the person of that name who was buried at Burwash on 23rd November 1587. Nothing else is known about him.

Henry Byne junior may be the person of that name who was buried at Wartling on 24th January 1623. This Henry Byne had been in trouble, to the extent of suffering excommunication, for not living with his wife Margaret. She died in 1620 and two years later he married a widow named Agnes Cooper.

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Three Polhill wills

Yesterday I wrote about the links between my Sussex ancestors and the Polhill family. I noted that there were several discrepancies between the various sources for our knowledge of the Polhills. Today I want to clarify what we know about one branch of the family – the Polhills of Burwash – based on the wills that I’ve been able to find.

Countryside near Burwash (via bandbchurchhouse.co.uk)

Countryside near Burwash (via bandbchurchhouse.co.uk)

John Polhill senior (1611) 

John Polhill ‘the elder’ made his will on 23rd August 1611. This was the person who married Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Fowle of Wadhurst. In the opening lines of his will John describes himself as ‘of Ekingham’ (i.e. Etchingham) in Sussex, and as a ‘gent’, but in the course of the will he also mentions Frenches, his property in Burwash. We learn that his wife Elizabeth is still alive, and there is also a reference to his sister Elizabeth Tilman.

William Berry’s pedigree of the Polhills claims that John and Elizabeth Polhill had four sons – John, Edward, Nicholas and Robert – but doesn’t mention any daughters. However, John’s will mentions seven sons and gives their order of birth, as follows: John, Edward, Nicholas, Henry, William, Thomas and Robert. We also learn the names of three daughters: Barbara, Susan and Dorothy.

John Polhill junior married Elizabeth Young, daughter of William Young of Wadhurst. John senior’s will names ‘John Younge the brother of John Polhill my eldest sonne his wife’ as co-executor with his son Edward, and also mentions John Polhill junior’s daughter Elizabeth.

John senior’s second son Edward became rector of Etchingham and inherited the family property at Buckland, seemingly on the occasion of his first marriage, to Deborah Bankworth, daughter of Robert Bankworth of Bow Lane, London. I’ve found a record of the marriage, which took place at the church of St Mary-le-Bow on 29th January 1610. Edward would later marry for a second time, to Jane, daughter of William Newton of Lewes.

The third son, Nicholas, is the first to be mentioned in the will, and he received the generous bequest of eight hundred pounds, equivalent to about £80,000 (US$135,000) in today’s money. When taken together with the slighter smaller bequests to his other children, this gives an indication of John Polhill senior’s considerable wealth. According to Berry, Nicholas had two sons and two daughters, though the name of his wife is not known. The fourth son Henry, about whom we have no further information, received his bequest from his father in the form of property in the parish of Goudhurst, Kent.

William and Thomas Polhill, John Polhill senior’s fifth and sixth sons, both appear to have been apprentices in London at the time of their father’s death, since their bequests are conditional on their becoming freemen of the City. Thomas is granted the lease of his father’s house in Soper Lane, near Cheapside, that had been occupied by his son-in-law James Turner (see below). A number of members of the Polhill family seem to have migrated to London, and Thomas Polhill may be the merchant taylor of that name who was active there later in the century. Robert Polhill, the seventh and youngest son of John Polhill senior, is to receive four hundred pounds.

As for John’s daughters, we learn that Barbara is no longer living. She was married to James Turner, mentioned above, and they had a son John, who is to receive five hundred pounds from his grandfather’s will. Another daughter, Susan or Susanna, had married Thomas Harrison at St Clements, Hastings, on 26th May 1608, and they had a son John, who is mentioned in his grandfather’s will. Thomas Harrison is to act as one of the overseers of the will. A third daughter, Dorothy, appears to be as yet unmarried; she receives four hundred pounds.

John Polhill appoints as overseers of his will ‘my beloved friend Mr Thomas Aynscombe, Mr William Fowle, my brother in law, Mr Robert Porter, and Thomas Harrison, my sonne in lawe’. William Fowle was, of course, the brother of John’s wife Elizabeth, and the only surviving son and heir of Nicholas Fowle of Wadhurst. Thomas Aynscombe was a gentleman of Mayfield, who made his own will in 1621.

London in the 17th century

London in the 17th century

John Polhill Junior (1613) 

John Polhill the younger, eldest son of the John Polhill who made his will in 1611, only outlived his father by a couple of years. He made his will in 1613, describing himself as of Frenches in Burwash, the property he inherited from his father. The will mentions ‘my loving mother Elizabeth Polhill’, his father-in-law William Young of Wadhurst (not John Young as in Berry’s account) and his brother-in-law John Young.

John also mentions his brothers Edward, Nicholas, Henry, William, Thomas and Robert Polhill, his sister Dorothy, ‘sister [Susan] Harrison’, and his ‘brother’ [actually brother-in-law Thomas] Harrison. Other familiar figures from his father’s will include his ‘Aunt Tilman’ , Thomas Aynscombe, and his nephew John Turner, son of his late sister Barbara.

John appoints three of his uncles as overseers of his will: William Fowle, Nicholas Miller and Walter Henley. William was the brother of his mother Elizabeth Polhill née Fowle. Touchingly, the very last bequest in this will reads: ‘I give to my Uncle Fowle my hawke’. Walter Henley or Hendley is almost certainly the ‘gent’ of Lamberhurst, Kent, who made his will in 1616, in which he mentions both William Fowle of Riverhall and John Dunmoll, the husband of another Fowle sister. I assume Henley’s wife must also have been a Fowle sibling. I’m not sure about Nicholas Miller, though the 1622 for someone of that name in Wrotham, Kent, includes references to a member of the Tilman family and to a goddaughter with the surname Hendley.

The will of John Polhill junior includes bequests to his daughter Elizabeth, who is to receive eight hundred pounds, and to his son John, who is bequeathed money to pay for him to be educated at university, and to proceed to the Inns of Court. We know that this third John Polhill would marry Anne, daughter of Sir Edward Gilbourne of Shoreham and that they would have three children: John, who died in 1689; Elizabeth, who married Henry Buskyn of Gore Court; and Edward. This third in the line of John Polhills died in 1651.

Middle Temple Hall, Inns of Court, in the early 17th century

Middle Temple Hall, Inns of Court, in the early 17th century

Elizabeth Polhill (1625)

Elizabeth Polhill née Fowle, daughter of Nicholas Fowle of Wadhurst, husband of John Polhill senior and mother of John Polhill junior, all of whom predeceased her, made her will in 1625, in which she described herself as a widow of Burwash. Elizabeth appoints her son Edward, the rector of Etchingham, as her executor, and besides him she mentions four other children: her sons Nicholas and Robert, daughter Susan Harrison, and a daughter with the surname Perry, who I assume must be Dorothy who was mentioned in earlier wills, though I can’t find any trace of her marriage.

Elizabeth also makes bequests to John and Elizabeth, son and daughter of her late son John Polhill, whom she describes as her nephew and niece, though they were in fact her grandchildren. Elizabeth now has the surname Buskyn (see above).

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