Some weeks ago I wrote about the early generations of the Byne family of Burwash, Sussex. My earliest confirmed Byne ancestor was my 12 x great grandfather William, who died in 1559, the year after Elizabeth I became queen, having lived through the traumatic reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary Tudor. Walter Charles Renshaw, whose 1913 history of the Sussex Bynes is the main source for my knowledge of the family, suggests that William may have been the brother of two other men who were living in Burwash at the same period: John and Richard Byne. In this and subsequent posts, I want to set down what we know about each of these brothers and their families.

In this post, I’ll be focusing on John Byne of Burwash and his family, which we can trace through three generations before the line appears to die out. 

Burwash churchyard (via

Burwash churchyard (via

First generation 

John Byne was probably born in Burwash in the first decade of the sixteenth century. In 1534 he was fined 2d. for ‘cutting down trees and upsetting the King’s highway and filling up a ditch’ (Renshaw, p.75). In 1549 he was assessed at Burwash to the Lay Subsidy then levied at 13 shillings on £13 in goods.

John married Joan, perhaps some time around the year 1530. They had four children: Symon, Henry, Richard and Joan.

John Byne made his will on 27th November 1559 , appointing his brother Richard Byne as overseer, and was buried at Burwash two days later (three months after my ancestor – his brother? – William).

Countryside near Burwash (via

Countryside near Burwash (via

Second generation: children of John Byne

Richard Byne died two years after his father and was buried at Burwash on 16th April 1561.

Symon Byne married a woman named Joan, probably some time in the 1550s. They had two children: Margaret or Margery, and Richard, who was christened on 20th August 1559. Symon Byne made his will on 20th December 1560, appointing his brother Henry as executor.

Henry Byne was married twice. His first wife was Margery: they probably married in about 1560. They had two children, Henry and William. Margery died in 1576. Henry’s second wife was Elinor Cruttenden, whom he married on 2nd December 1577 at Burwash. Henry Byne senior made his will on 2nd April 1578 and was buried six days later at Burwash.

Joan Byne was married twice. Her first husband was Goddard Cruttenden, who died in 1575, appointing his brother-in-law Henry Byne as overseer of his will. They had two children, Goddard and John. Joan’s second husband was Thomas Barham, whom she married at Burwash on 15th October 1576.

Burwash village today, via geograph

Burwash village today, via geograph

Third generation

Children of Simon Byne 

Richard Byne was perhaps (according to Renshaw) the Richard Byne, M.A. of Cambridge, who was incorporated at Oxford on 12th July 1608. Nothing further is known about him.

Margaret Byne may have married Henry Garnet at Buxted on 11th October 1573.

Children of Henry Byne

William Byne may be the person of that name who was buried at Burwash on 23rd November 1587. Nothing else is known about him.

Henry Byne junior may be the person of that name who was buried at Wartling on 24th January 1623. This Henry Byne had been in trouble, to the extent of suffering excommunication, for not living with his wife Margaret. She died in 1620 and two years later he married a widow named Agnes Cooper.