Thomas Scotson and Mary Maunser

In his last will and testament, signed and sealed in 1599, Nicholas Fowle of Wadhurst, Sussex, notes that he has already ‘payde unto Mary Maunser my daughters daughter fiftye poundes of good English money, and John Maunser her brother Tenne poundes’. According to William Berry’s pedigree of the Ma(u)nser family, Nicholas Fowle’s daughter Mary married William Maunser, son and heir of my 12 x great grandfather, Robert Maunser of Hightown, Wadhurst (I trace my descent from his younger son John).

As I’ve noted before, Robert Maunser’s will fails to mention a son named William, casting doubt on this part of the Maunser pedigree. However, Nicholas Fowle’s will, while not naming his son-in-law, at least confirms that someone with the surname Maunser married one of his daughters, and that they had at least two children. For some reason, Nicholas’ will does not include any reference to Nicholas Ma(u)nser, supposedly the eldest son of William Maunser and Mary Fowle, who would inherit the family property at Hightown.

Berry’s pedigree provides us with information about the marriages of all three of the children of William and Mary Maunser. Nicholas Maunser of Hightown, their first son, married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas (Hepden) of Burwash. I believe they were married in 1609. John Maunser ‘of the borough of Southwark’, their second son, married Mary, daughter of Benjamin Cole of Aston, Sussex. This marriage took place in 1614. And Mary, daughter of William and Mary Maunser, married Thomas Scotson of Malling, near Lewes, in 1604.

1622 map of Malling showing the Scotson family residence

1622 map of Malling showing the Scotson family residence (via

There’s a record of a marriage between Thomas Scotson and Mary Maunser in the Calendar of Sussex Marriage Licences, under the heading of the Archdeaconry of Lewes, and dated 10th September 1604. This record describes Thomas Scotson as being a ‘gent’ of Burwash, rather than Malling (this could be a mistake), and Mary as being a ‘virgin’ of Wadhurst: unfortunately the calendar doesn’t give her father’s name. Sureties were provided by Thomas himself, and by Nicholas Manser (sic), a gentleman of Wadhurst, and John Polhill, a gentleman of Burwash. I’m fairly certain that Nicholas was Mary’s older brother, the proprietor of Hightown, and that John Polhill was either her uncle, the husband of her mother’s sister Elizabeth, or her cousin of the same name, whose will of 1613 would include a bequest to Thomas Scotson. The absence of Mary’s father from this record, and indeed from Nicholas Fowle’s will and those of all other immediate relatives, suggests that he probably died while his children were still young.

I’ve been able to discover very little about the family background of Thomas Scotson, but someone of that name matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1594, gained his B.A. degree in 1599-1600, and was licensed to practice medicine in 1604. Given these dates, and the fact that his youngest son Edward would practice as an apothecary, I suggest this was probably the Thomas Scotson who married Mary Maunser.

Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1575 (via wikimedia)

Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1575 (via wikimedia)

Thomas Scotson died in 1636, after thirty-two years of marriage to Mary. Although he is not a direct ancestor of mine, I’ve taken the trouble to transcribe his will, since it provides useful information not only about the extended Ma(u)nser family and their connections with other Sussex families, but also about the wider social and religious context in which they lived. I’ll discuss these implications in a separate post, but for now here is the transcription of Thomas Scotson’s will.

In the name of God Amen The Eight daie of Februarie, In the yeare of our Lord God, One Thousand Six hundred Thirtie five. And in the Eleaventh yeare of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Charles by the grace of God of England Scotland Fraunce and Ireland king defender of the faith. I Thomas Scotson of South malling in the countie of Sussex gent doe make and declare this my last will and testament in writing in manner, and forme following first I comitt my soule into the hands of Almightie God and my Bodie to be buried in decent manner in the south Ile of the Bodie of the ould church of South malling now inclosed with a stone wall without solemnity or stone upon my grave, And as touching the disposal of all my messuages Lands and Tenements I will and devise them in manner, and forme following, And first whereas William Hay gent Edward Polhill clerk, and Roger Coby gent stand seised to them and their heires of a Messuage, Kitchin Barne, and other buildings, and divers Lands Tenements, and hereditaments with th’appurtenances sittuat lying and being in Laugton in the said county of Sussex conteyning by estimacon three score Acres more or lesse in trust soe that they are to convey, and dispose the same, and the rente and proffitte thereof to my selfe or to such other person or persons to whome I shall direct or appoint. My will and meaning is, and I do earnestly desire the said William Hay, Edward Polhill, and Roger Coby, and their heires to graunt, and convey unto my second sonne Thomas Scotson One Annuitie, or yearely Rent of Eight Pounds to be yssueing, and goeing out of all my Lands and Tenements in Laughton aforesaid to hold to him during his natural Life, to bee halfe yearelie payd unto him by equall portions with clause of distresse for the same, Alsoe I give unto the said Thomas my sonne Twenty Pounds of lawfull money of England to be paid unto him within one moneth after my decease And whereas I have procured certaine copyhold Landes in Laughton aforesaid conteyninge by estimacon fower Acres to be surrendered by John Carpenter gent to the use of my said sonne Thomas Scotson and his heires forever my will and meaning is that the said Thomas my sonne shall surrender the said copyhold premisses to Sarah Scotson my youngest daughter, and to her heires forever within One and Twenty dayes next after my decease, which if he delay or refuse to doe accordingly then my will and meaning is that the said Thomas my sonne, his heires, and assignes shall have noe benefit by this my last will, And for all my Landes and Tenements in Laughton aforesaid conteyning by estimacon Three score Acres more or lesse, I doe earnestly desire the said William Hay, Edward Polhill and Roger Coby, and their heires to convey and dispose the same, and all the Rents issues and proffitts thereof arising from and ymediately after my decease (excepting the said Annuity of Eight Pounds graunted) to Mary Scotson, and Sara Scotson my daughters, and their heires forever togeither with the said annuity of Eight Pounds after the decease of my said sonne Thomas in such manner that Mary my daughter and her heires may have soe much more for her part of the said freehold Lands, as may be aunswerable to the true value of the copyhold Landes before appointed to bee surrendered to Sarah my daughter, and her heires, And alsoe in such manner, and soe my will and meaninge is, That if either of my said daughters Mary or Sarah shall dye without yssue of their Bodies lawfully begotten that then the survivor of them shall have and enjoy all the same freehold Lands before menconed to her, and her heires forever paying to Jane Scotson my eldest daughter, and her heires the some of one hundred pounds of lawfull money of England within one yeare after the decease of either of my daughters aforesaid dying without yssue as aforesaid. Alsoe I doe hereby give unto my said daughter Mary Scotson fiftie and three pounds, And to my said daughter Sarah Scotson forty pounds of lawfull money of England to be paid unto them att, or before the tenth daie of October next after my decease, And whereas there is due, and oweing upon Bonde unto Jane Scotson my eldest daughter divers somes of money, I doe hereby give, and bequeath unto her soe much more of lawfull money of England as shall, and may make upp the said moneys due upon Bonds to amount to the full somme of Three hundred, and Twenty Pounds. Item whereas I purchased one messuage or tenement in the Parrish of Saint Michael in the Burrough of Lewes whereof William Newton gent and John Coby taylor stand seised to them and their heires in trust so that they are to convey, and dispose the same, and the rents, and profitts thereof to my selfe, or such other person or persons as I shall direct or appoint, My will and meaning is, and I doe earnestlie desire the said William Newton, and John Coby to graunt, and convey unto Mary Scotson my loving wife One Annuitie or yearelie rent of Tenn Pounds to be yssueinge and goeing out of the said messuage or tenement to hold to her during her naturall life to bee halfe yearely paid by equall porcons with clause of distresse for the same. And further my will and meaninge is, and I doe desire and appoynt the said William Newton and John Coby and their heires to convey and dispose all the aforesaid Messuage, and garden with th’appurtenances to Edward Scotson my yongest sonne, and to his heires forever, when he shall accomplish his full age of fower and twenty yeares and not before, and in the meantime I will that he shall have the rents and profitts thereof excepting the said Annuity of Tenn Pounds to my wife. Alsoe I give unto the said Edward all the wares in the shop, warehouse, cellar or anie other rooms there with all utensills, household stuffe and furniture in the same And I give more unto him Thirty Pounds of lawfull money of England, And whereas the said Mary my wife hath by a deed Indented or grant of Nine pounds per Annum to be yearely paid unto her out of my Lands at South malling in the county of Sussex during her naturall life my will and meaning is that if shee require and take above Five Pounds per annum by virtue of the said graunt, that then shee shall have noe benefitt by this my last will. Item I give unto John Scotson my Eldest Sonne, and to his heires forever all that my Messuage Lands, Tenements, and hereditaments with th’appurtenances lying and being in the parrishe of South malling aforesaid, Provided always that hee the said John doe within one moneth after my decease surrender unto Edward Scotson my youngest sonne, and his heires forever One Stable, and all the copihold Lands heretofore surrendered to him the said John by Henry Perk Esquier, which if hee refuse to doe accordingly my meaning is that he shall have noe benefitt by this my last will, And my will and meaning is, That Marie my lovinge wife shall have, and hold the [one] halfe of my dwelling house in South malling foresaid with the garden thereto adioyning ymediately from, and after my decease, for so long tyme as shee shall remayne my widdowe unmarried. And I will that shee shall have the use of soe much of my houshold stuffe as shalbe necessary for her use in the one halfe of my house, and for the use of her children abiding with her by the appointment of the overseers of this my will for soe long as shee shall remaine unmarryed as aforesaid, Alsoe I give unto my said wife the Bedd whereon I now lye with all the furniture thereunto belonging, And I give unto her Thirty Pounds of lawfull money of England, Item I will that all such Provision of Corne victuals and fewell as I have provided shalbe spent for the mayntenance of my familie. Item I will that Twentie Pounds of the legacy before given to my daughter Jane Scotson shall not bee paid till the Tenth day of October next after my decease: Item whereas I have given to my youngest daughter Sarah Scotson forty pounds to be paid att or beforethe Tenth day of October next after my decease and the said Sarah is in minorities I will that her Acquittance in wryting under her hand and seale upon the receipt of the said fortie pounds, shalbee a sufficient discharge thereof to my Executor, and as effectuall as yf shee were of full age, Item I give unto my said sonne Edward Scotson one featherbed and flockbedd with two blanketts, one featherbolster, one pillow, and one queene Rugg all which I bought of Richard Sykes Grocer, and I give unto him two pairs of sheets, Item I give unto my wife six payres of sheets. Item I will that my daughter Marie shall have such sheets napkins, and other things that were given to her by her grandmother. Item I give to my daughter Jane Scotson my silver cann, or Tankard, And to my daughter Mary my silver saltceller, And to my daughter Sarah my silver Bowle, And to Jane Pollard my maidservant I give fortie shillings: All the residue of my goods chattels, creditts, and household stuffe, (my debts due and owinge before the date of this my last will, and alsoe my Legacyes, and funeralle discharges) I give and bequeath unto John Scotson my eldest sonne whome I make, and ordayne sole Executor of this my last will and Testament, And I earnestlie desire my loving brother Beniamin Pickering clerk, and my loving friend William Kempe to be overseers of this my last will for the advising and directing of my children, And I require my severall children to take their advise and direction into serious consideracon. In witnes whereof I have to this my last will and testament being written on three sheets of Paper sett my hand to everie leafe thereof, And have thereunto putt my seale the day, and yeare first above written, Thomas Scotson. Signed sealed and published to be my last will and testament in the presence of Robert Moonk. Henry Gouldham, and William Ancock Not[a]rie publique.

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4 Responses to Thomas Scotson and Mary Maunser

  1. qsfe8 says:

    I found your site by accident, and see you have found the map I put on the Lewes History Group website. Thank you for shining a light on “Scotson’s Land”, upon which our small estate is partially built! I will put up the history of this estate as soon as I get it back from the reviewer.

    • Martin says:

      Hi Barbara
      Thanks for your comment. I look forward to reading more about the history of the estate. Are you a member of the Lewes History Group? Perhaps you know my old friend (though I haven’t seen him for a long, long time) Graham Mayhew?

      • qsfe8 says:

        Hi Martin

        I know of Graham Mayhew – he is scheduled to do a talk on Lewes Priory to the Lewes History Group next June, and has a significant new book out on this subject. I help to run the History Group, and look after the website, which you may recognise as another Twenty Ten offering!

        I’m interested in your header 1615 map of Stepney, in relation to my 1622 map of Malling Deanery. Do you know if maps of this time drew in actual likenesses of the buildings, and had a standard way of portraying garden planting – such as drawing trees in rows to depict an orchard? I’m trying to find out if things actually looked as they did in the two maps, or whether they were standardised representations, and if there was a key or legend for things, as the OS does now. I have looked up my map-maker, John de Ward, and records suggest he worked only around Sussex. I presume your map had a different creator, but they have similar aspects.


      • Martin says:

        Hi Barbara

        Graham’s talk on Lewes Priory should be good – I’ve got a signed copy of the book, and it’s a magnificent achievement. When I first met Graham we were both tutoring on an Open University summer school. This was years before I became interested in family history – and certainly before I realised that I had Sussex ancestors. It’s purely coincidental that I know someone who’s an expert on Sussex in the Tudor period! I’ve been in touch with Graham about my ancestor Gabriel Fowle of Southover, who was master of Lewes Grammar School, which was attached to the Priory.

        I’m afraid I can’t really answer your questions about the 1615 map of Stepney. I found it on one of my favourite websites – Spitalfields Life. The Gentle Author, as he calls himself, might be able to help:

        Best wishes

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