In the last two posts I’ve been tracing the descendants of two brothers, John and Richard Byne of Burwash, Sussex, who were born in the early years of the sixteenth century and died in 1559 and 1574 respectively. In his history of the Byne family, Walter Charles Renshaw suggests that there was probably a third Byne brother: my 12 x great grandfather William Byne. Although I’ve written about William and his family before, for the sake of symmetry I’ll use this post to trace his family’s descent through three generations, as I did for John and Richard.

Interior of St Bartholomew's church, Burwash

Interior of St Bartholomew’s church, Burwash

First generation

William Byne was probably born, like John and Richard Byne, in the first decade of the sixteenth century. He may have married his wife Joan some time around 1530. William and Joan Byne had five surviving children: Margaret or Margery, Edward (my 11 x great grandfather), Anthony, Symon and Jane.

William Byne made his will on 16th April 1557, appointing John Byne (probably his brother) as overseer, and he was buried at Burwash on 28th August 1559. His wife Joan made her will on 20th May 1567 and was buried on 31st July 1575.

Second generation: the children of William Byne

Margaret or Margery Byne was probably the eldest child, as she seems to have married first. She married Goddard Russell of Salehurst in 1551. According to her brother Anthony’s will she had a son named Thomas and was still alive in 1590.

Edward Byne, my 11 x great grandfather, married Agnes Fowle, only daughter of Magnus Fowle of Mayfield, on 24th October 1575, which suggests that he was probably born in the early 1550s. Edward and Agnes Byne had the following children: Magnus, William, Edward, Stephen (my 10 x great grandfather), John, an unbaptized daughter buried in 1590, and James, born in December 1593 and buried a year later. Edward Byne made his will on 11th December 1611 and was buried at Burwash on 4th January 1614. His widow Agnes made her will in 1625 and died in the following year.

Anthony Byne married a woman named Joan and lived in Battle. They had a son called Edward. In 1581 Anthony Byne witnessed the will of John Byne, son of Richard Byne of Ticehurst, and probably Anthony’s first cousin, alongside Magnus Fowle (father-in-law of Anthony’s brother Edward). Anthony’s will was dated 2nd July 1590 and proved on 22nd August 1591. His brother Edward was appointed as co-executor, with his wife ‘Johane’ or Joan. Anthony’s son Edward was not yet of age when his father made his will.

Symon Byne married Elinor Pudland at Burwash on 25th October 1574. Elinor was the daughter of Richard Pudland of Heathfield, and the sister of Dionysia Pudland who married Symon’s cousin John, son of his uncle Richard Byne of Ticehurst. Symon and Elinor had the following children: Edward (born and died in 1584), William (born 1587), John (born 1589, died 1590), Thomas (born 1590), Joan (apparently non compos mentis, died 1625), and another John. Symon Byne was churchwarden at Burwash in 1602. Elinor died in 1608 and Symon in 1616. He appointed Stephen Byne of Mayfield, yeoman – presumably my 10 x great grandfather, the son of his brother Edward- as one of the overseers of his will. Magnus Byne, another of Edward’s sons, and William Byne, his own eldest son, were witnesses.

Jane Byne married Henry Foster. She was still living in 1590.

The gatehouse, Battle Abbey

The gatehouse, Battle Abbey

Third generation

I’ll discuss the children of my 11 x great grandfather Edward Byne in a separate post.

Children of Anthony Byne 

The only surviving child of Anthony Byne was his son and heir Edward, who seems to have inherited his father’s property in Battle. A catalogue of the muniments of Battle Abbey includes the following entries:

Admission of EDWARD BYNE, son and heir of ANTHONY BYNE, to the Moiety of a Tenement called the Harpe, at the Manor Court of Battle, held by Magdalen Viscountess Montague, April 24, 1593. 

Admission of EDWARD BYNE, son and heir of ANTHONY BYNE, to the Moiety of the Tenement called Stacey’s otherwise Loxbeche, in the Manor of Battle, April 24, 1593. Byne, on the same day, had Admission to the Moiety of a Tenement called Brond’s Ponde. 

Magdalen Dacre, Viscountess Montague, was the matriarch of one of the leading Catholic recusant families in Sussex, and Battle Abbey, one of the family’s two houses in the county (the other was at Cowdray Castle, Midhurst), was thought to be a hiding place for priests smuggled into the country. The Montagues’ house in Southwark was also a noted recusant centre and this may explain the area’s importance for members of the Ashburnham family, who had links with my ancestor Magnus Fowle. Clare Asquith, in her book about the coded religious and political messages of Shakespeare’s plays, makes the case for Magdalen Montague being the inspiration for his Winter’s Tale. Of course, none of this means that the Bynes of Battle were necessarily sympathetic to the recusant cause: they may simply have been tenants of the Montagues.

According to Renshaw, Edward Byne filed a bill in Chancery in 1611 against a Thomas Couchman of Batttle. Apparently this record reveals that Edward had recently carried on the trade of beer brewer at Battle. An ‘Edward Byne of Battle yeoman’, perhaps a grandson or great grandson, was alive in 1773.

Effigy of Magdalen Dacre, Viscountess Montague (died 1608)

Effigy of Magdalen Dacre, Viscountess Montague (died 1608)

Children of Symon Byne

William Byne seems to have married Anne, daughter of Isaac Athurst. Their children may have included Margaret or Mary Byne, who was baptised at Burwash in 1614; Judith, born in 1616; Susan , who was born in 1618 and married Edward Sanderson in 1638; Anne, born in 1621; William, born in 1623; Bathshua, born in 1625; Elizabeth, born and died in 1629; and John, born in 1630.

Renshaw’s history includes no further information concerning Symon Byne’s other two sons Thomas, who was born in 1590, and John, born a few years later.