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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Byne properties in Burwash

Orchard and oast houses in Burwash, Sussex

Orchard and oast houses in Burwash, Sussex

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 [1620], 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.

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Who was John Byne of Wadhurst?

In the last two posts I’ve been exploring the life of John Byne of Wadhurst, Sussex, who died in 1614. This person was obviously related in some ways to my known Byne ancestors, but his precise connection to the Byne family remains unclear.

John Byne’s eldest child, Elizabeth, was baptised at Burwash, about six miles south of Wadhurst, in October 1582. We can therefore deduce that John must have been married by early 1582 at the latest. Since I believe it was usual at this period for men to marry in their early to mid twenties, it seems likely that John Byne was born in the late 1550s or early 1560s.

Graves in Burwash churchyard

Graves in Burwash churchyard

In his history of the Byne family, Walter Renshaw concludes that John Byne was born in 1555, since he identifies him with the John Byne of Burwash, yeoman, aged forty-nine, who was a witness to the boundaries of the parish in May 1604. Moreover, and seemingly on the basis of John’s reference in his will to ‘lands, tenements and hereditaments’ in Penhurst (about six miles south of Burwash), Renshaw suggests that may be the ‘John at Byne’ of Penhurst against whom proceedings in the Archdeaconry Court were taken in July 1585 (Renshaw, page 194).

Whatever the truth or otherwise of these specific claims, it seems likely that John Byne was born sometime between 1555 and 1565, probably in Burwash. As I noted in the previous post, all of John’s seven children (born between 1582 and about 1603) were baptised at the parish church in Burwash, leading me to believe that he moved to Wadhurst quite late in life, perhaps to live with his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Abraham Manser, and probably after the death of his wife.

We can conclude that John Byne was of the same generation as (though probably slightly younger than) my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne, who was born in 1550 (and who died in the same year as John Byne), the son of William Byne of Burwash. Richard Byne of Ticehurst, who I believe was William’s brother, had a son named John, who married Dionysia Pudland on 10th July 1569. A number of websites and family histories confidently claim that this was, in fact, the John Byne of Wadhurst who died in 1614. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Renshaw quotes from the will of this John Byne, which was proved by his widow Dionysia, and it seems clear that he died in 1579 and that he only had one child who survived him, a daughter named Mary.

Countryside near Wadhurst (via

Countryside near Wadhurst (via

The only other John Bynes that we know of don’t fit the likely dates for John Byne of Wadhurst. The earliest of them is the other likely brother of William and Richard, the John Byne who died at Burwash in 1559. Another was the John Byne who was the son of Thomas Byne, himself another of the sons of Richard Byne of Ticehurst. However, this John was born in 1576, married Susan Ticehurst in 1602, and made his will in 1630.

My 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne had a brother Symon who in 1574 married Elinor Pudland, sister of the Dionysia Pudland who had married his cousin John in 1569. Symon had a son John who was born in 1589 but died in 1590, and another son with the same name. We don’t have any further information about this John Byne, but he must have been born after 1590, so he would be much too young to be the person we’re looking for.

So the search for information about the origins of John Byne of Wadhurst goes on. However, we can be fairly certain that he was related in some way to my Byne ancestors. Renshaw suggests that he may be the ‘John Byne of Burwash Towne’ described as ‘my Couzen’ by my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne, in his will of 1611. Edward appointed this John Byne as one of the two ‘trusty supervisors and Overseers’ of his will (the other being his brother Symon) and he also seems to have been of its witnesses. Edward Byne’s son, my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne, was described as a ‘cousin’ by Henry Goldsmith, husband of John Byne’s daughter Faintnot, when he made his will in 1634; he appointed Stephen as one of its overseers. As mentioned in the previous post, in 1630, in the fifth year of the reign of King Charles I, Stephen purchased a substantial amount of land from another of John Byne’s daughter, Anne – land which she had received when her late brother Thomas’ property was partitioned in 1620.

Anne was, of course, Stephen’s sister-in-law, having married Christopher Manser, brother of Stephen’s wife Mary. The transaction was witnessed by Stephen’s older brother Magnus Byne and his son, Magnus junior. Two years before this transaction took place, Magnus senior had married Anne’s older sister Elizabeth, who (to complicate things further) was the widow of Abraham Manser, who was in turn the uncle of Christopher and Mary Manser. These multiple intermarryings may simply reflect the realities of a small rural community, or they may be an indication of existing bonds of kinship between different branches of the Byne family.

Tower Hill in the late 17th century

Tower Hill in the late 17th century

Some forty-four years after this transaction occurred, and in the very different circumstances of Restoration London, another Stephen Byne made his will and appointed ‘my cosen John Manser’ as one of its overseers. This Stephen, a citizen and upholder or upholsterer of Tower Hill, was the son of another Magnus Byne, rector of Clayton-cum-Keymer in Sussex, and the grandson of Stephen Byne of Burwash. Seven years later, in 1681, the same John Manser would appoint ‘my kinsman Mr John Byne of Tower Hill’ as one of the overseers of his own will. This John Byne, a citizen and stationer, was Stephen’s brother, and my 8 x great grandfather. John Manser, who worked as an apothecary in nearby East Smithfield, was the son of Christopher Manser of Burwash and his wife Anne Byne, the youngest daughter of John Byne of Wadhurst. John Manser was certainly entitled to call John and Stephen Byne of Tower Hill his kinsmen, and to be described by them as a ‘cousin’ (using the term in its loosest, seventeenth-century sense), because his father Christopher was the sister of their grandmother Mary Byne née Manser. But it seems more than possible that he was their kinsman twice over, if his mother Anne Manser née Byne was related in some way to their grandfather Stephen Byne of Burwash.

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The children of John Byne of Wadhurst

In the previous post I shared my transcription of the last will and testament of John Byne of Wadhurst, Sussex, who died in 1614. I’m trying to establish this person’s identity and his relationship with my known Byne ancestors. In this post, I’ll summarise what we know about John Byne’s children, both from his will and from other sources.

Elizabeth Byne

According to Renshaw’s history of the Byne family, John Byne’s daughter Elizabeth was baptised at Burwash, Sussex, on 21st October 1582. On 27th December 1600 she married Abraham Manser or Maunser of Wenbourne (or Wenbans) in Wadhurst at the same church. As I’ve noted before, he was the younger brother of my 11 x great grandfather John Manser, and the uncle of my 10 x great grandmother Mary Byne née Manser, husband of Stephen Byne of Burwash. Since not only Elizabeth, but all of John Byne’s children were baptised at Burwash, and since he expressed a desire to be buried there, and also entrusted the execution of his will and the education of his three youngest daughters (Mary, Judith and Anne) to Abraham, I wonder if John had moved to Wadhurst in order to live with his daughter and son-in-law, perhaps after the death of his wife?

Wenbans, or Wenbourne, in 2008 (via

Wenbans, or Wenbourne, in 2008 (via

Abraham and Elizabeth Manser had three daughters of their own – Mary, Ellen and Elizabeth. I’m not sure what became of Mary and Elizabeth, but according to my fellow researcher Ed Rydahl Taylor, Ellen was made a ward of Nicholas Manser of Hightown, presumably after her father Abraham’s death in 1627. Nicholas was the grandson of Robert Maunser and thus Abraham’s nephew, which would mean that Ellen Manser was his first cousin. Ellen married William Cruttall in 1636. Abraham Manser’s widow Elizabeth married Magnus Byne of Framfield, older brother of my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne, on 17th June 1628; it was his third marriage.

Ellen Byne

John Byne’s second daughter Ellen, otherwise known as Helen, Elinor or Elinora, was baptised at Burwash on 25th July 1585. On 31st January 1602, when she would have been about seventeen years old, she married Mark Coney, also at Burwash. He was from another old Burwash family, and was probably born there in 1571. Mark Coney died in 1648 and his will provides details of his and Ellen’s children. They had a son named Simon who predeceased his father, leaving a son of his own called John. There was a daughter Elizabeth who married Thomas Jarvis, another daughter Mary who married William Baker, and a third daughter Anne who was married to William Austin.

Faintnot Byne

A third Byne daughter was given the distinctly Puritan name of Faintnot. We don’t have a birth date for her, but it was probably around 1590. Faintnot Byne married Henry Goldsmith before 1611, when their son, Henry junior, was born. Henry Goldsmith senior was a churchwarden at Burwash in 1623. He died in 1634/5 and was buried on 15th January. In his will Henry appointed his son Henry junior as executor, and his brother-in-law Mark Coney and his ‘cousin’ Stephen Byne (my 10 x great grandfather) as overseers. Although, as I’ve often noted before, the word ‘cousin’ tended to be used very loosely at the time, this does suggest a close tie of some kind between Faintnot’s family and my own Byne ancestors. Faintnot Goldsmith remarried on 9th October 1638 at Chiddingly to a 45-year-old yeoman of that parish named Richard Thunder.

Parish church, Chiddingly (via geograph)

Parish church, Chiddingly (via geograph)

Mary Byne

Mary Byne, the fourth daughter of John Byne of Wadhurst, was baptised at Burwash on 20th August 1592. She married Francis Lucas, a yeoman of Barcombe, on 24th April 1617. The marriage took place at Wadhurst, suggesting that (as prescribed by her late father’s will) Mary was living with her older sister Elizabeth Manser and the latter’s husband Abraham at the time. Francis Lucas was one of the three sons (the others were John and Edward) of John Lucas of Barcombe.

Judith Byne

Mary’s younger sister Judith was baptised at Burwash on 23rd May 1602. She married John Baker at Wadhurst on 4th June 1622.

Anne Byne

Renshaw’s account has very little to say about the youngest of John Byne’s daughters Anne, but we know from other sources that she married Christopher Manser. It’s my belief that Christopher was the brother of my 10 x great grandmother Mary Byne née Manser and the son of my 11 x great grandfather John Manser of Wadhurst. The latter bequeathed ‘all my lands lying in Burwashe to my sonn Christofer and to the heires of his body lawfully begotten’ in his will of December 1597. In this land transaction of 1630, Christopher Manser, the husband of Anne, is described as ‘of Burwash’:

Christopher Manser of Burwash, yeoman and his wife Anne to Stephen Byne of Burwash, yeoman

8 pieces of land ‘Woodlandes and Highlandes’ (40a); 6 pieces S: lands of John French gent and lands of Thomas Glyd gent ‘Wiverherst'; N, W: a whapple way from Halton house to ‘William Cruttendens of the greene'; E: land of Herbert Lunsford gent. Other 2 pieces W: land of HL; N: whapple way as before; S: land of TG ‘Wiverherst’, E: lands of John Dawe of Burwash ‘Hickmans’

This land lately occupied by John Byne of Burwash deceased, came to Anne Manser by partition of the property of Thomas Byne her brother by Nicholas Eversfield esq, sheriff [1620]

W: John Dawe, John Stoner, Magnus Byne, William Foster, Magnus Byne junior

Among other things, this confirms that Christopher Manser’s wife Anne was born Anne Byne and was the brother of Thomas (see below) and son of John (interestingly described here as ‘of Burwash’, suggesting that his connection with Wadhurst was probably fairly brief). As I think I’ve mentioned before, if my theory is correct, then the couple’s connection to the Stephen Byne mentioned here would have been a double one, firstly, because I believe Stephen to have been a relation of some kind of Anne’s father John Byne, and secondly and more immediately, because Christopher and Stephen were brothers-in-law, Stephen being married to Christopher’s sister Mary.

And since we learn from John Byne’s will that Anne and her two sisters were to be looked after by Abraham Manser of Wadhurst, what could be more natural than that he would suggest his nephew Christopher, son of his late brother John, as a suitable husband? One source claims that Christopher and Anne were married in 1621. The information I have about their children is gathered from a number of sources and may be of varying reliability. Apparently their daughter Mary was baptised at Burwash on 4th December 1625. I believe their son John was born in the early 1630s; Jane was baptised at Burwash on 29th June 1645; Anne was probably born shortly before or after this, as was their son Nicholas; possibly Deborah was baptised at Burwash on 29th October 1648; and Abraham may have been born in about 1650. Manser and Byne influences can be seen in these Christian names: Mary was perhaps named after her aunt, Christopher’s sister; John after Anne’s late father; Nicholas after Christopher’s nephew, the owner of Hightown; Abraham after Anne’s brother-in-law (and Christopher’s uncle) who acted as her guardian before her marriage.

Mottynsden, Burwash

Mottynsden, Burwash

I’ve written before about the children of Christopher and Anne Manser. Their son John moved to London, where he lived close to his second cousins Stephen and John Byne (the latter being my 8 x great grandfather) and worked as an apothecary. His brother Nicholas appears to have lived at Mottynsden in Burwash and may have inherited this from his father (who in turn may have inherited it from his father John – it could be the ‘lands lying in Burwash’ bequeathed in the latter’s will).

Thomas Byne

John Byne’s only son, and his intended heir, Thomas, was baptised at Burwash on 23rd November 1595. His father died in 1614 when Thomas was not quite 21 and presumably inherited his property a year later. However, Thomas himself only lived a little while longer, being buried at Wadhurst on 5th October 1618. According to Renshaw, letters of administration of his effects were granted to his sister Faintnot Goldsmith. The land transaction record cited above mentions the partitioning of Thomas’ property in 1620.

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John Byne of Wadhurst (died 1614)

In my recent posts about the early generations of the Byne family of Sussex, I’ve referred several times to a certain John Byne of Wadhurst and to the fact that his exact relationship to my ancestors remains a puzzle. The story of this John Byne’s family intersects with the lives of my ancestors at a number of points. His daughter Elizabeth married Abraham Manser or Maunser of Wenbourne, who was the younger brother of my 11 x great grandfather John Manser of Wadhurst and the aunt of my 10 x great grandmother Mary Manser who married Stephen Byne of Burwash. When Elizabeth’s father John made his will in 1614 he appointed his son-in-law Abraham Manser as his executor. When Abraham himself died in 1627, his widow Elizabeth married Magnus Byne of Framfield, the elder brother of my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne. Another of John Byne’s daughters, Anne, married Christopher Manser, who seems to have been the son of John Manser of Wadhurst and the brother of my 10 x great grandmother Mary Byne née Manser.

Despite these connections to individuals of whom we have substantial knowledge, John Byne’s precise identity remains uncertain. Walter Renshaw, on whose painstaking researches into the history of the Byne family all later researchers rely, felt unable to connect him with confidence to any of the known branches of the family. A number of family history websites claim that it was this John Byne who married Dionysia Pudland. However, Renshaw states that it was a different John Byne, the son of Richard Byne of Ticehurst, who married Dionysia. He concludes this from the fact that, in his will of 1580, this John Byne, who mentions his wife ‘Dyonice’, refers to his residence at Witherden in Ticehurst, a property that had belonged to Richard. John’s will, proved by his widow Dionysia Byne, mentions only one daughter, Mary. This seems to prove conclusively that the John Byne who was married to Dionysia Pudland could not be the father of Elizabeth, Anne, and the other children who we know to have been the offspring of John Byne of Wadhurst.

Countryside near Wadhurst, Sussex (via

Countryside near Wadhurst, Sussex (via

The most reliable piece of evidence that we have concerning John Byne of Wadhurst, and the starting-point for any investigation into his life, is his last will and testament, signed and sealed on 3rd February 1613/4 and proved on 23rd May of that year. John Byne was buried at Burwash on 10th February. I’m reproducing my transcription of the will below, and in another post I’ll discuss what we can learn from it about him and his family.

In the name of God Amen The Third day of February Anno Domini 1613 in the yeare of our soveraigne Lord Kinge James of England Scotland France and Ireland kinge that is of England France and Ireland the Tenth and of Scotland the Seven and Fortieth, I John Byne of Wadhurst in the countie of Sussex yeoman being weake in bodie but of good understanding and memory do make my last will and Testament in manner and forme following, First I bequeath my soule into the handes of Allmyghtie God trustinge to be saved by the death and meritts of Jesus Christ my Saviour and my body to be buried in the churchyard of the parish of Burwashe, Item I bequeath my lands and goods in manner and forme following, Item I bequeath to the poore of the parish of Burwash Twentie shillings to be divided amonge them by my Executor at the day of my buriall, Item I further bequeath unto the poore Inhabitants of the parrishe of Wadhurst Ten shillings to be divided amonge them within one quarter of a yeare after my decease, Item I bequeath unto myne onlie sonne Thomas and his heires all my landes tenements and hereditaments lyinge situate and beinge within the parishes of Burwashe Catesffeild and Penhurst, Item I bequeath further unto my sonne Thomas all my houshold stuffe and implements of husbandry lyeinge and beinge at my house at Burwash towne and remayninge nowe in the house of Abraham Maunser my sonne in lawe dwelling in Wadhurst as also all such houshold stuffe as is nowe in the custodie of Henry Goldsmyth my sonne in lawe at Tunbridge, Item my will is that my sonne Thomas above named shall not come to the enioynge of the landes and goodes above named untill the full terme of his age of two and Twentie yeares, but that the whole disposing of the said goods and landes during the terme above named to be in the handes of my Executor from whome my will is that my said sonne shall have such yearely maintenance out of my landes duringe the tyme above named as my said Executor in his disposition shall thinke fit, Item I give and bequeath to Elizabeth Maunser my eldest daughter five poundes to be paide within one whole yeare after my decease, Item I bequeath to Ellen Coney of the parrish of Burwashe my second daughter five poundes to be paid within one whole yeare after my decease, Item I bequeath unto Fayntnot Goldsmith of Tunbridge my third daughter five poundes to be paid within one whole yeare after my decease. Item I bequeath to Mary my fourth daughter one hundred poundes to be paid to her within one whole yeare after my decease, Item I bequeath unto my daughter Judith one hundred poundes to be paid at the age of one and twentie yeares or day of marriage whichever come first. Item I bequeath to my sixth daughter Anne one hundred pounds to be paid at the age of one and Twentie yeares or day of marriage whichever come firste, Item my will is that my sonne in lawe Abraham Maunser have the tuition and government of my above named three youngest daughters unto the tymes lymitted for the payment of every one of their severall portions, Item I give unto my daughter Mary fortie shillings towards her mainteynance untill the tyme of the payment of hers the said portion above named, Item I further give unto Abraham Manser my sonne in lawe Twentie markes yearely towardes the mayntenance of my two youngest daughters untill the tyme of their said portions, Item my meaning is that the portion of my daughter Mary above named shall be raysed out of the Rents of my landes which shall accrue from them whilest my sonne be under the age of two and twentie yeares, And for the portions of my two youngest daughters my will is that they shall be paid by my sonne Thomas together with their yearely mayntenance allotted to my said sonne in law Abraham Maunser for their education and [?] and for default of the payment of the portion of my daughter Judith at the tyme mentioned it shall be lawfull for her and her assignes to enter into possesse and hold one peice of land called Sonant meadow Lyinge nigh to the towne of Burwash and another peice of land called Hoppers Croft adioyning to myne orchard in the said towne to her and her heires for ever, And for the default of the payment of my daughter of [?] portions specified at the tyme limited it shall be lawfull for my said daughter or her assignes to enter into possesse inioye to her and her heires for ever one peice of land called Hamlane feild with two other peices of land called the deans situate and lyeing neare the town of Burwash, Item I constitute appoynt and ordayne my sonne in lawe Abraham Maunser sole Executor of this my last will and Testament And I doe give unto him full power and authorities to take gather and receive into his handes all and all manner of goods belonging to me wheresoever lyinge as allso to let all myne above named landes as occasion shall require and as he shall thinke fit and to take up and receive all rents due to be due from the said lands toward the payment of the above named portions and the education and mayntenance of myne above named Children and the discharging of all funeral expenses and all manner of legacies already mentioned duringe the terme above mentioned. Moreover my will is that whereas I have given and bequeathed to my three yongest daughters Mary Judith and Anne to every one of them an hundred poundes if it please God that any them should happen to die before theire severall tymes wherein by my will the above named portions are due that all such portion or portions be devided or remayne to the survivor or survivors of those the above named my three yongest daughters and the said survivors to have the same authoritie and meanes for recoveringe the portions of the deceased from my said sonne as my said daughters should have had if they had lived, Item I appoynt and ordeine my sonnes in lawe Marke Coney and Henry Goldsmyth overseers of this my last will and Testament to whome for their paynes I will that Twentie shillings a peice be given them by myne above named Executor within one whole yeare after my decease, And to this my last Testament I have sett my my hand and seale in the presence of John Hatley and Syndenye Elit. John Byne.

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Three generations of Bynes: a summary

My recent posts have traced my Sussex Byne ancestors from the early sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century. Before moving on, it might be useful to provide a summary of these three generations in this branch of my maternal family tree (italics indicate my direct ancestors):

First generation

William Byne (died 1559) and Joan had the following children:

Margery or Margaret Byne (alive in 1590) married Goddard Russell 

Edward Byne (died 1614) married Agnes Fowle 

Anthony Byne of Battle (died 1591) married Joan 

Symon Byne (died 1516) married Elinor Pudland

Jane Byne (alive in 1590) married Henry Foster 

Second generation

Edward Byne (died 1614) and Agnes Fowle (died 1626) had the following children:

Magnus Byne of Framfield (1576 – 1647) married (i) Elizabeth Polhill (ii) Bathshua Newington (iii) Elizabeth Manser née Byne 

William Byne (1579 – 1628)

Edward Byne (1581 – 1647) married Dorothy Alchorne (died 1656) 

Stephen Byne (1586 – 1664) married Mary Manser 

John Byne (1589 – 1616)

Third generation 

Stephen Byne (1586 – 1664) and Mary Manser had the following children:

Elizabeth Byne (1614 – 1639) married Gregory Markwick 

Magnus Byne (1615 – 1671) married (i) Anne Chowne (ii) Sarah Bartlet

John Byne (1617 – 1662) married Elizabeth Coney

Mary (born 1620, living 1662)

Edward (1623 – 1683) married Martha Radford

Stephen (1632 – 1691) married (i) Ann Peckham (ii) Alice Heathfield

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Two sons of Stephen Byne of Burwash

My 10 x great grandparents Stephen and Mary Byne of Burwash, Sussex, had six children: two daughters and four sons. Their daughter Elizabeth (1613 – 1639) married Gregory Markwick but died at a young age, while their other daughter Mary (born in 1620) seems to have remained unmarried. As I noted in my last post, two of their sons, my 9 x great grandfather Magnus (1615 – 1671) and his brother Edward (1623 – 1682), both studied at Cambridge and entered the Church. I’ve written about Magnus and Edward elsewhere, and will probably re-visit them at a future date.

In this post I want to set down what we know about Stephen and Mary Byne’s other two sons, John and Stephen junior, both of whom followed in their father’s (and indeed their grandfather’s and great grandfather’s) footsteps and became yeoman fathers. Once again, my principal source is Walter Renshaw’s history of the Byne family.

Countryside near Burwash (via

Countryside near Burwash (via

John Byne, who was baptised at Burwash on 2nd May 1617, was the third son of Stephen and Mary Byne. He married Elizabeth, widow of Simon Conye or Coney of Burwash. Renshaw deduces this (page 154, footnote) from a Chancery suit in which John and his wife Elizabeth were plaintiffs and John Polhill of Tunbridge and John Coney were defendants.

Simon Coney died in 1648 and his widow Elizabeth’s marriage to John Byne seems to have taken place shortly after this date, when John would already have been in his thirties. The Coneys were another longstanding Sussex family whose lives intertwine with those of my ancestors in a number of ways. For example, Simon was probably a close relative of Mark Coney, who married Ellen or Helen Byne, daughter of the John Byne of Burwash whose identity is still a mystery, and sister of Anne Byne who married Christopher Manser, and of Elizabeth, the third wife of Magnus Byne of Framfield. I’ll have more to say about the Coney family and their connection with the Bynes and Polhills on another occasion.

John and Elizabeth Byne had five children: Stephen, baptised at Burwash on 14th April 1650; Mary, baptised there on 28th December 1651; John Byne, baptised there on 24th April 1657 and buried there on 15th September 1659; Edward Byne, baptised there on 12th September 1661; and Anne, buried there on 15th May 1680.

John Byne made his will on 20th April 1662, leaving a property in Burwash called Woodlands to his son Stephen and another called Herrings Mead, which he had inherited from his uncle William, to his son Edward. He directed that his executors should sell his houses in Burwash Town ‘and use the money arising thereby for the educating and bringing up of my two daughters Mary and Anne.’ John appointed his brother Stephen as his executor and the will was proved at Lewes on 5th May 1662, meaning that John predeceased his father, Stephen Byne senior, by two years. His widow Elizabeth was buried at Burwash on 15th February 1688/9.

Graves in Burwash churchyard

Graves in Burwash churchyard

Stephen Byne junior, the fifth son of Stephen and Mary Byne, was also a yeoman of Burwash and was married twice (Renshaw, page 159). His first marriage was to Ann Peckham, daughter of John Peckham of Framfield. She was buried at Burwash on 17th January 1677/8. Stephen’s second wife, whom he married on 19th October 1678 at Maresfield, was Alice Heathfield of Burwash. Like his father before him, Stephen was a churchwarden at Burwash, in the years 1670, 1671 and 1672.

By his first wife Ann, Stephen Byne had three children: Magnus, baptised at Burwash on 11th April 1672; Anne, baptised there in 1674; and Mary. By his second wife Alice, Stephen had four children: Alice, baptised at Burwash in 1681 and buried there on 10th February 1733/4; Stephen, baptised there on 14th February 1683/4; William; and John, baptised there on 9th February 1689/90.

Stephen Byne made his will on 14th October 1691, directing that all his lands, both copyhold and freehold, should be sold and requesting his loving friends John Polhill and Stephen Coney (see above), both of Burwash, to aid and assist in the sale. Stephen left sums of money to his children and to his wife Alice, whom he appointed as executrix of his will. Stephen Byne was buried at Burwash on 17th November 1691.

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