In yesterday’s post about the family of Sussex-born London apothecary John Manser (1631 – 1681), I concluded that he was the son of Christopher and Anne Manser of Burwash, and that his mother Anne was the daughter of a certain John Byne of that town. In this post, I want to set out what we know this branch of the Byne family, in the hope that it will help to tease out their connections with my own Byne ancestors.

Countryside near Burwash (via

Countryside near Burwash, Sussex (via

Anne Byne’s father John appears to have been born in Burwash in about 1555, during the brief reign of Mary Tudor, but later moved to Wadhurst, where he died in 1614. At this stage, I can’t be sure about the identity of his wife, but we know from his will and from other sources that he had seven children who survived him, of whom Anne was the youngest.

All seven of John Byne’s children were christened at the parish church in Burwash: Elizabeth in 1582; Ellen in 1585; Faintnot (whose name hints at the family’s Puritan leanings) in 1590; Mary in 1592; Thomas in 1595; Judith in 1602; and Anne in 1605, in the second year of the reign of King James I.

John’s eldest daughter Elizabeth was married twice. Her first husband was Abraham Manser or Maunser; they were married at Burwash on 27th December 1600. Abraham was the brother of my 11 x great grandfather, John Manser of Wadhurst, who died in 1598. Together with their older brother William Manser, who inherited the family seat at Hightown, Wadhurst, they were the sons of Robert Manser of Hightown. John Manser was the father of Mary Manser who married Stephen Byne of Burwash in 1611 (they were my 10 x great grandparents) and also of Christopher Manser, who would marry Elizabeth Byne’s younger sister Anne. Abraham and Elizabeth Manser lived at Wenbourne or Wenbans near Wadhurst, and they had two daughters, Ellen or Helen, and Mary. Ellen would marry William Cruttall in 1636.

Old map of East Sussex

Old map of East Sussex

Abraham Manser died in 1627 and Elizabeth married her second husband, Magnus Byne of Framfield in the following year. Magnus, for whom this was his third marriage, was born in 1576, so he was already fifty-two years old when he married Elizabeth, who would have been forty-six. He was the son of my 11 x great grandparents Edward Byne and Agnes Fowle, and the brother of my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne who married Mary Manser. Since I’m still unsure how Elizabeth’s branch of the Byne family fits into my family tree, I can’t be sure of the exact relationship between Elizabeth and Magnus at the time of their marriage, but it’s probably safe to say they were distant relatives.

Elizabeth Byne’s sister Faintnot married Henry Goldsmith, by whom she had a son of the same name. Henry, who was a churchwarden at Burwash, died in 1635, leaving his widow the rents from a property named Courtlands and other lands in Burwash. In 1638 Faintnot married her second husband, Richard Thunder, a yeoman of Chiddingly.

Henry Goldsmith junior is presumably the person of that name who witnessed the will of Nicholas Manser of Hightown in 1674. The other witness was the Puritan author and justice of the peace, Edward Polhill, who had something in common with Henry: his mother was also called Faintnot (she was the wife of Thomas Polhill).

Another of John Byne’s daughters, Mary, married Francis Lucas in 1617 at Wadhurst. Her sister Judith married John Baker at the same place in 1622. I don’t have a record for the marriage of Anne Byne to Christopher Manser, but it must have been by 1624 at the latest, since their first child was born in the following year.

John Byne of Wadhurst, formerly of Burwash, died in February 1614. In his will, John left £5 to each of his married daughters and £100 to each of his unmarried daughters. He left his lands in the parishes of Burwash, Catsfield and Penhurst to his son and heir, Thomas, but these were to be managed by the executor and overseer of his will during the latter’s minority (Thomas was nineteen when his father died). The executor was John Byne’s son-in-law, Abraham Manser and the overseer was another son-in-law, Henry Goldsmith.

Thomas Byne died only four years after his father, at the age of twenty-three, and was buried at Wadhurst on 5th October 1618. Administration of his effects was granted to his sister, Faintnot Goldsmith.

What else do we know about John Byne? Renshaw (my main source for much of this post) claims he was born in the year 1555, on the basis of a reference to a John Byne of Burwash, yeoman, aged forty-three, who was a witness to the boundaries of that parish in 1604. Renshaw also argues that he is the ‘John at Byne’ of Penhurst against whom proceedings in the Archdeaconry Court were taken,  for unspecificed reasons, in 1585. A John Byne was also one of the churchwardens at Burwash in 1592 and 1594.

As for John Byne’s marriage, his origins, and his relationship to my own Byne ancestors: I will attempt to tackle those thorny topics in another post.