The other day I wrote about my 10 x great grandfather William Wane (1576 – 1626), the rector of Clayton-cum-Keymer in Sussex. His daughter Anne (1611 – 1661) married Magnus Byne (1615 – 1671), one of her father’s successors as rector at Clayton: they were my 9 x great grandparents. I’ve requested a copy of William Wane’s will from the Sussex Record Office and I’m hoping it will enable me to extend this branch of my family tree a little further back.

Burwash churchyard (via

Burwash churchyard (via

In the meantime I’ve been revisiting Magnus Byne’s own family tree. Magnus was born in 1611 in Burwash, thirty miles or so to the east of Clayton. He was the son of yeoman Stephen Byne (1586 – 1664) and his wife Mary Manser or Maunser, daughter of John Manser of Wadhurst. Stephen was the son of Edward Byne of Burwash (died 1611)  and Agnes Fowle (died 1626) – my 11 x great grandparents.

I’ve written briefly about the Fowle family before, but in this post I want to fill in some more details of their history. Agnes Fowle was the daughter of Magnus Fowle of Mayfield and his wife Alice Lucke, the daughter of Richard Lucke, also of Mayfield.  They were my 12 x great grandparents.  Magnus, who was born in about 1528 and died in 1593, was the son of Gabriel Fowle of Southover, near Lewes.

Countryside near Lamberhurst (via

Countryside near Lamberhurst (via

Gabriel Fowle, my 13 x great grandfather, was the Master of the Free Grammar School in Lewes. He died there in 1555, having made his will in the previous year. Born in 1507, he was the second son of Nicholas Fowle of Lamberhurst,  who was himself born in 1480, and his wife Joan Vince, born in 1485: they were my 14 x great grandparents. They probably married in about 1504 and their eldest son and heir was William Fowle (born 1505) of Riverhall in Wadhurst, Sussex. Nicholas and Joan Fowle had two more sons after Gabriel: Bartholomew, born in 1509, who was the last prior of St Mary Overy in Southwark before the dissolution of the monasteries, and Robert, born in 1511.

Riverhall, Wadhurst, in the 18th century, via

Riverhall, Wadhurst, in the 18th century, via

Nicholas Fowle was the son of Thomas Fowle of Lamberhurst who was born in 1450. He married Ellen, born in the same year. They were my 15 x great grandparents. Thomas died in 1525.

It might be helpful to put some of these dates in chronological order, and to look at them alongside national events during that turbulent period in English history:

1422 Henry VI becomes King 

1450 Birth of Thomas Fowle

1455 – 1487 Wars of the Roses

1471 Edward IV becomes King 

1480 Birth of Nicholas Fowle

1483 Richard III becomes King

1485 Henry VII becomes King 

1507 Birth of Gabriel Fowle

1509 Henry VIII becomes King 

1525 Death of Thomas Fowle

1528 (?) Birth of Magnus Fowle 

1531 Henry VIII assumes title of Supreme Head of Church of England

1533 Henry VIII excommunicated by the Pope

1536 – 1540 Dissolution of the monasteries

1547 Edward VI becomes King 

1550 (?) Magnus Fowle marries Alice Lucke

Birth of Edward Byne (?)

1551 (?) Birth of Agnes Fowle

1553 Mary Tudor becomes Queen

1555 Death of Gabriel Fowle

1559 Elizabeth I becomes Queen 

1564 Birth of William Shakespeare

1575 Agnes Fowle marries Edward Byne

1586 Birth of Stephen Byne

1588 Defeat of Spanish Armada 

1593 Death of Magnus Fowle

1603 James VI of Scotland crowned King James I of England

I’ve previously traced another branch of Magnus Byne’s family tree back to a similar point in history. Magnus’ mother Mary Manser or Maunser, my 10 x great grandmother, was descended from Robert Maunser of Hightown, Wadhurst, who was alive during the reign of Richard III and indeed was knighted by him. Like his contemporary Thomas Fowle, Robert was one of my 15 x great grandfathers.