My last post discussed Bartholomew Fowle, the last prior of St Mary Overy, Southwark, before Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, and his possible connection with my 13 x great grandfather Gabriel Fowle of Southover, Sussex (1507 – 1554). I also summarised the information I’ve been able to glean about Gabriel, in the absence of his will: I’m in the process of applying for a copy from the Sussex archives and I’m hoping it will shed more light on his life and his family connections.

According to one source, Gabriel’s will reveals that he had two surviving children: a son named Magnus and a daughter named Agnes. Apparently Agnes married John Harman. The latter is said to have been mentioned in his father-in-law’s will, by which he was left Gabriel’s best gown and best jacket. John and Agnes Harman had a daughter named Elizabeth and a son named John.

St Dunstan's church, Mayfield (via

St Dunstan’s church, Mayfield (via

Magnus Fowle was my 12 x great grandfather. He was born in about 1528 and in about 1550 he married Alice Lucke, daughter of Richard Lucke of Mayfield. They had a daughter named Agnes, probably born some time in the 1550s, who married Edward Byne of Burwash: they were my 11 x great grandparents. According to Renshaw‘s history of the Byne family, on his death in 1555 Gabriel Fowle devised his properties in Ringmer and Glynde to Magnus, and Renshaw further states that Magnus was described as a yeoman of Mayfield in a document of 1560.  We also learn from Renshaw that in 1580 Magnus was one of the witnesses to the will of John Byne of Witherden in Ticehurst.

Magnus Fowle died in 1595 at Mayfield. I have a copy of his will, signed and sealed on the 30th July of that year. I’m posting my transcription below, and in the next post I’ll discuss what it can tell us about Magnus, his family and his times. As usual, I’ve kept to the original spelling and punctuation as far as possible, used ‘xxx’ for illegible words and ‘[?]’ to indicate any uncertainty about my transcription. For ease of reference, names are rendered in bold on their first appearance.

In dei nomine Amen the Thirtieth daie of Julye in the yeare of our Lorde god One Thousande five hundred ninetie five and in the Seaven and Thirtieth yeare of the Reigne of our Sovraigne Ladye Elizabeth by the grace of god Queene of England France and Irelande Defender of the faith – I Magnus Fowle of the parrishe of Maughfield in the countie of Sussex and within the peculiar Jurisdiction [?] of South mallinge, whole of mynde in perfecte health, and of good remembrance, Thankes be to Almightie god Doe ordeyne make dispose and putt in wrytinge this my present Testamente and Last will in manner and forme following. Firste I give and wholie bequeathe my soule to Almightie god, the father, the sonne, and the holie ghoste, Three persones and one god, and my Bodye to the earth when and where yt shall please god of his mercie to dispose yt. Item I give to the poore people of the parrishe of Retherfield Tenne shillings. Item I give to the poore of the parrrish of Maughfield Tenne Shillings. Item I give to the poore of the parrishe of Southover nexte to Lewes Thirtene shillings and foure pence. Item I give to the poore of Ringmer tenne shillings. Item I give to the poore of the Towne of Lewes Tenne shillings, Item I give to Elynor Ashbourneham the daughter of Mrs Isabell Ashbourneham Twentie Shillings in gold. I give to my old servannte Katheryne Byshopp Tenne shillings of sterling money. I give to Robert Barham of Lamberhurst fortie shillings. Item I give to my sister Morfyn Tenne shillings and to her children Twentie shillings Item I give to my godsonne Magnus Mone Two shillings and two pence. Item I give to my servannte Thomas Over five shillings. Item I give to my cosen Hamnon Hardyman Tenne Shillings. Item I give unto Thomas Floude and to his wife Twentie shillings. Item I will that this my will be proved in the Qyeenes prerogative court. The Residue of all my moveable goodes not given nor bequeathed I give and bequeathe to Agnes Byne my daughter and to Magnus Byne my godsonne whome I make my Executours of this my Laste will and Testament . This is the Last will and Testamente of me the abovenamed Magnus Fowle made and declared in wrytinge the daie and yeare firste above written concerning the disposicion of my Landes Tenements rentes xxx and heredytaments whatsoever. Firste I will that ymeadyatlie After my decease my sonne in lawe Edward Byne shall have and take duringe the term of five yeares nexte after my decease the proffitts of all suche Landes and Tenements as I have purchased Lyenge in Ringmer and Maughfield upon condicion and to this ende purpose and effecte and not otherwise viz that he performe and accomplishe this my will, paye my Legacies and debts And first that he paye or cause to be paide to John Burges of Buxted my servannte five poundes of sterling money And to Thomas Ellis of Burwashe Eighte shillings. Also my very mynde and will is That yf the saide Edward Byne doe refuse to paye the saide somes of money and to accomplishe this my will That then I desire ordeyne and appoynte Mr John Motley viccar  of Ringmer and John Collett and my Brother William Morffyn to be my Overseers and to take the proffitts of my saide Landes And they to paye and performe this my will as the saide Edward Byne should do. Item I give to John Oake sonne of Robert Oake of Maughfeld five shillings. Item I will that after the saide five yeares be ended Magnus Byne shall have the use and possession and the proffitts of my said purchased landes duringe the coverture between my daughter his mother and the saide Edwarde Byne his father. And yf yt shall fortune the saide Edward Byne to dye before my saide daughter his wiefe Then I will that my saide daughter shall have all my saide purchased Landes and all my other Landes duringe her natural life And after he decease I will all my saide purchased Landes to remayne to remayne to the saide Magnus Byne and to his heires forever. Item I give to Alice Fourde and to Alice Miller sometimes my  servannts Twenty shillings yf they demande yt. And I give to the saide John Motlay vicar of Ringmer John Collett and William Morffyn unto eche of them Twentye shillings for their paynes over their charge borne Item I give to my servannte Rose Brackfield five poundes. Item to every poore bodye that shall come to my Buryall foure pence. Item I will all my other landes and Tenements to my saide daughter duringe her natural liefe, and after her decease, I will all my saide Landes remayne to the saide Magnus Byne and to his heires Item I give to Michaell Marten sometime of Brightlinge fortie shillings. Item I give to old John Tysherst his wydowe sometime of Brightlinge fortie shillings Item I give to everye of my servants that are in my house Tenne shillings provided always and my verie will and mynde is That and yf my sonne Edward Byne or my daughter his wiefe or Magnus Byne shall att any tyme xxx bargayne sell alienate lease demyse grante or otherwise convey or assine any of my Landes Tenements rents or herdytaments situate or lyinge in Ringmer or Glynde of the saide countie of Sussex to Arthur Langworth to his heires or to anie of his name, or to anie other p[er]sone or p[er]sones whereby or by meanes whereof anie of my saide Landes or the inhertytance thereof maie come to the saide Arthure or to anie other p[er]sone or p[er]sones to his use,  or to the use of anie of his heries or of his name, Then my verie will and mynde is that John Motley gentleman John Fitzherbert, John Corneforde, nowe of Grensted John Shepparde sonne of Robert Shepparde deceased, John Delve and Thomas Sharpe and their heires shall have full power and authorytie to enter into all my purchased Landes and Tenementes and the same to reteyne to them and  their heires to the use of the poore of the parish of Ringmer, the Towne of Lewes and Southover, and the parrishe of Retherfield There beinge witness, Richard Burges, Roberte Oake, John Luke and William Foster Snr.