I’ve discovered some new information about Nicholas Maunser or Manser of Hightown, Wadhurst, Sussex, whose life I’ve been exploring in the hope of solving some of the mysteries that surround my Manser ancestors. According to the pedigree of the Maunser family in Berry’s account of the heralds’ visitations, Nicholas Maunser married a woman named Elizabeth ‘daughter of Thomas…..of Burwash’. I recently found a reference to a marriage between Nicholas Maunser and Elizabeth Hepden which took place in Rye on 21st September 1609. Searching for records of the Hepdens of Burwash, I came across the will of John Hepden who died in 1628. In his will, John Hepden bequeaths sums of money to Thomas, Nicholas, Herbert, Abraham, Elizabeth and Mary, the children of ‘my brother in lawe Nichollas Manser’. Nicholas Manser junior he describes as ‘my godson’. None of the children seem yet to have reached the age of twenty-one. John Hepden also mentions his sister Elizabeth Manser. Nicholas Manser senior is appointed as one of the executors of the will.
Having made this discovery, I searched for more information about the Hepdens of Burwash and came across a pedigree of the family at the website of a one-name study. This confirmed that Elizabeth and her brother John were among the children of Thomas and Mary Hepden of Burwash. Apparently Elizabeth was born in 1592, which would mean she was seventeen when she married Nicholas Maunser. Another Hepden sibling was named Herbert: was this the inspiration for Nicholas and Elizabeth giving their third son that name?
One of Elizabeth’s uncles, Goddard Hepden, appears to have given his children resoundingly Puritan names – Goodgift, Hopestill, Fearnot, Thankfull – thus giving a clue as to the religious sympathies of the Hepdens.