William and Joan Byne of Burwash

In the previous post I wrote about my 11 x great grandfather, Edward Byne of Burwash, Sussex, who died in 1613, and about his connections with the Fowle family, via his wife Agnes. In this post, I want to explore Edward’s origins and see if we can push my maternal family tree back another generation.

Burwash churchyard (via www.hebdens.com)

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

Edward was the eldest son of William Byne, who was married to a woman named Joan. From their wills, we can ascertain that William and Joan had the following children: Edward (my 11 x great grandfather); Anthony; Symon; Margaret; and Jane.

Edward Byne’s brother Anthony lived in Battle and had a wife named Joan; he died in 1591. On 25th October 1574, another brother, Symon, married Elinor Pudland, daughter of Richard Pudland, a churchwarden at Burwash; Symon had a number of children with Elinor and died in 1616. Edward’s sister Margaret married Goddard (or Godfredus) Russell, while his sister Jane married Henry Foster.

Queen Mary (died 1558)

Queen Mary (died 1557)

William Byne’s will is dated 16th April 1557, in the last months of the reign of Mary Tudor (she died in November of that year and was succeeded by her sister Elizabeth). Although Renshaw quotes some sections of William’s will, it’s unclear whether (like Gabriel Fowle’s will of 1554) it betrayed where he stood in the religious divisions of the day. The will was proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Lewes on 24th April 1560. William’s widow Joan was buried at Burwash in July 1575.

Renshaw speculates that William might have been the brother, or at least a near relation, of the John Byne who was buried at Burwash in November 1559. The latter is the earliest member of the Byne family definitely associated with that part of Sussex: at a court held in the manor of Burwash in 1534, someone of that name was fined 2d. ‘for cutting down trees and upsetting the King’s highway and filling up a ditch’ (Renshaw, p. 75). At that time, Henry VIII had been on the throne for twenty-five years: in the following year, Thomas More would be executed and the year after that, the monasteries would be dissolved.

16th century manorial court rolls

16th century manorial court rolls

For now, it seems that (with a fair bit of help from William Charles Renshaw) I’ve traced this particular line of my family history back as far as I can confidently go. Nevertheless, since discovering my 7 x great grandmother Mary Byne just over a week ago, I’ve added five new generations to this branch of my family tree and taken my maternal family history back a hundred years or so from its previous earliest point. Not bad going.

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