It’s often helpful to estimate key dates for one’s ancestors, even if hard information is hard to come by, and to set these dates in the context of contemporary historical events. Doing this for my 13 x great grandfather, William Byne of Burwash (see below), makes it possible to see that he lived through the reigns of at least three monarchs and died soon after the accession of a fourth. William was born either just before or soon after the accession of Henry VIII, lived through the religious and political upheavals of Henry’s reign as a young man, was a middle-aged man with a family during the brief reigns of Edward and Mary, and witnessed the arrival on the throne of Elizabeth I shortly before his death.

William Byne: key dates

c. 1505-10       Birth

1509                 Henry VIII becomes king

c. 1525-30      Marriage to Joan

c.1530 –35     Birth of daughter Margery

1531                Henry VIII declares himself Supreme Head of Church of England

1536-40          Dissolution of the monasteries

1538                Leases ‘Witteres’

1547                Edward VI becomes king

1551                Marriage of daughter Margery to Godard Russell

1553                Mary Tudor becomes queen

1558                Elizabeth I becomes queen

1559                Death