Abraham Manser, miller of Wadhurst (died 1656)

The previous two posts focused on Abraham Manser of Wenbourne near Wadhurst in Sussex, who was the youngest son of Robert Manser of Hightown, Wadhurst, and the brother of my 11 x great grandfather John Manser. In his will of 1627, Abraham bequeathed to his wife Elizabeth ‘all my landes lying in Maifield’ which were currently occupied by ‘Abraham Manser my kinsman’. The Abraham Manser who witnessed the codicil to the will was almost certainly the same person.

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

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

As noted in my last post, my best guess is that this other Abraham was the son of Nicholas Manser of Hightown, cousin of the Abraham of Wenbourne, and another witness to his will. Nicholas, who died in 1653, had five children who were still living when he made his will: Thomas, who inherited the property at Hightown; Nicholas, who lived in Battle; Herbert; Abraham; Elizabeth, who married David Leader; and Mary, who married Giles Watts.

At first I thought that this Abraham was identical with the Wadhurst miller who composed his last will and testament in 1654 and who died in 1656. However, there are several discrepancies that give me pause. In his will of 1653, Nicholas Manser of Hightown bequeaths ‘unto Abraham Maunser my fourth and youngest sonne all those my lands situate lyeinge and beinge in the pish of Burrish in the County of Sussex aforesaid called or knowne by the name of Withers wch I lately purchased to me the said Nicholas and to my forenamed sonn Abraham of one John Shepheard’. ‘Burrish’ is Burwash and ‘Withers’ or Witheris is a farm there. There is no mention of this property in the will of Abraham Manser the Wadhurst miller, composed in the following year. Later in his will, Nicholas refers to household items ‘beinge att the Millhouse in the occupation of Abraham Maunser’: this would seem to be Abraham the miller, not his own son. Finally, another Nicholas Manser of Hightown – grandson of the Nicholas who wrote his will in 1653 – mentions in his own will of 1674 that his uncle Abraham Manser (son of the first Nicholas) had two sons, Abraham and Thomas. The will of Abraham Manser, miller, only mentions one son, Thomas.

Whatever his actual connection to my Manser ancestors, the will of Abraham Manser, miller of Wadhurst, informs us that he was married to a woman named Mary, that her maiden name was probably Young, and that besides their son Thomas they also had two daughters, Elizabeth and Marie. My transcription of that will follows:

In the name of God Amen I Abraham Manser of Wadhurst in the countie of Sussex Miller being very weak in bodie but of sound mind & understanding thanks be unto God doe this three and twentieth daie of November one thousand six hundred fiftie foure make my last will and testament in manner and form following Impr[imi]s my soule I commend into the hands of God who gave it hopeing assuredlie through the meritts of Jesus Christ my Savior to obteyne Salvation. My bodie I commit to the ground whence it was taken to be buried according to the discretion of my Executrix hereafter named. And for the disposing of my lands & goods, my will is as followeth. Imprimis I give my howse & land conteyning one acre of ground more or lesse wherein Thomas xxxxx now liveth situate in Wadhurst aforesaid to my sonne Thomas Manser and his heires for ever. Item I give unto my daughter Elizabeth, and to my daughter Marie twenty pounds a peece to xxxxxx out of all my goods and Chattles. To be paid unto them at their respective age of twentie and one yeres or the severall daies of their marriage which soever shall first happen Item I make and ordenie my wife Marie executrix of this my last will and testament And I give unto her all my goods and chattles whatsoever for the paying of my debts, and discharge of the legacies above said;  the remainder of them to her self. And my will is that my wife have the xxxx of my children and the profitts of all my lands and goods for her and their maintenance till they come of age. And if my wife shall marrie before they come of age My will is that she paie the legacies of twentie pounds a peece given to my two daughters into the hands of my brother Thomas Young of Catfield whom I make overseer of this my will for the better securitie of it to my two daughters This I declare to be my last will and testament And to this the day abovesaid sett my hand & seale. Abraham Manser miler. Declared the last will of Abraham Manser and sealed in presence of and the words (for the better securing of it for my two daughters interline before sealing James Wilcocke clerk Abraham Manser. John Young.

This will was proved at London the second day of March one thousand six hundred fiftie six, English style, Before the judges for the probat of willes and granting of Administracions lawfullie authorized By the oath of Mary Manser the Relict and Executrix named in the said will To whom was committed Adminstracion of all and singular the goods chattles & debts of the said deceased She being first legallie sworne by committee (?) well and fullie to Administer ye same.

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