In the previous post I shared my transcription of the last will and testament of John Byne of Wadhurst, Sussex, who died in 1614. I’m trying to establish this person’s identity and his relationship with my known Byne ancestors. In this post, I’ll summarise what we know about John Byne’s children, both from his will and from other sources.
According to Renshaw’s history of the Byne family, John Byne’s daughter Elizabeth was baptised at Burwash, Sussex, on 21st October 1582. On 27th December 1600 she married Abraham Manser or Maunser of Wenbourne (or Wenbans) in Wadhurst at the same church. As I’ve noted before, he was the younger brother of my 11 x great grandfather John Manser, and the uncle of my 10 x great grandmother Mary Byne née Manser, husband of Stephen Byne of Burwash. Since not only Elizabeth, but all of John Byne’s children were baptised at Burwash, and since he expressed a desire to be buried there, and also entrusted the execution of his will and the education of his three youngest daughters (Mary, Judith and Anne) to Abraham, I wonder if John had moved to Wadhurst in order to live with his daughter and son-in-law, perhaps after the death of his wife?
Abraham and Elizabeth Manser had three daughters of their own – Mary, Ellen and Elizabeth. I’m not sure what became of Mary and Elizabeth, but according to my fellow researcher Ed Rydahl Taylor, Ellen was made a ward of Nicholas Manser of Hightown, presumably after her father Abraham’s death in 1627. Nicholas was the grandson of Robert Maunser and thus Abraham’s nephew, which would mean that Ellen Manser was his first cousin. Ellen married William Cruttall in 1636. Abraham Manser’s widow Elizabeth married Magnus Byne of Framfield, older brother of my 10 x great grandfather Stephen Byne, on 17th June 1628; it was his third marriage.
John Byne’s second daughter Ellen, otherwise known as Helen, Elinor or Elinora, was baptised at Burwash on 25th July 1585. On 31st January 1602, when she would have been about seventeen years old, she married Mark Coney, also at Burwash. He was from another old Burwash family, and was probably born there in 1571. Mark Coney died in 1648 and his will provides details of his and Ellen’s children. They had a son named Simon who predeceased his father, leaving a son of his own called John. There was a daughter Elizabeth who married Thomas Jarvis, another daughter Mary who married William Baker, and a third daughter Anne who was married to William Austin.
A third Byne daughter was given the distinctly Puritan name of Faintnot. We don’t have a birth date for her, but it was probably around 1590. Faintnot Byne married Henry Goldsmith before 1611, when their son, Henry junior, was born. Henry Goldsmith senior was a churchwarden at Burwash in 1623. He died in 1634/5 and was buried on 15th January. In his will Henry appointed his son Henry junior as executor, and his brother-in-law Mark Coney and his ‘cousin’ Stephen Byne (my 10 x great grandfather) as overseers. Although, as I’ve often noted before, the word ‘cousin’ tended to be used very loosely at the time, this does suggest a close tie of some kind between Faintnot’s family and my own Byne ancestors. Faintnot Goldsmith remarried on 9th October 1638 at Chiddingly to a 45-year-old yeoman of that parish named Richard Thunder.
Mary Byne, the fourth daughter of John Byne of Wadhurst, was baptised at Burwash on 20th August 1592. She married Francis Lucas, a yeoman of Barcombe, on 24th April 1617. The marriage took place at Wadhurst, suggesting that (as prescribed by her late father’s will) Mary was living with her older sister Elizabeth Manser and the latter’s husband Abraham at the time. Francis Lucas was one of the three sons (the others were John and Edward) of John Lucas of Barcombe.
Mary’s younger sister Judith was baptised at Burwash on 23rd May 1602. She married John Baker at Wadhurst on 4th June 1622.
Renshaw’s account has very little to say about the youngest of John Byne’s daughters Anne, but we know from other sources that she married Christopher Manser. It’s my belief that Christopher was the brother of my 10 x great grandmother Mary Byne née Manser and the son of my 11 x great grandfather John Manser of Wadhurst. The latter bequeathed ‘all my lands lying in Burwashe to my sonn Christofer and to the heires of his body lawfully begotten’ in his will of December 1597. In this land transaction of 1630, Christopher Manser, the husband of Anne, is described as ‘of Burwash’:
Christopher Manser of Burwash, yeoman and his wife Anne to Stephen Byne of Burwash, yeoman
8 pieces of land ‘Woodlandes and Highlandes’ (40a); 6 pieces S: lands of John French gent and lands of Thomas Glyd gent ‘Wiverherst'; N, W: a whapple way from Halton house to ‘William Cruttendens of the greene'; E: land of Herbert Lunsford gent. Other 2 pieces W: land of HL; N: whapple way as before; S: land of TG ‘Wiverherst’, E: lands of John Dawe of Burwash ‘Hickmans’
This land lately occupied by John Byne of Burwash deceased, came to Anne Manser by partition of the property of Thomas Byne her brother by Nicholas Eversfield esq, sheriff 
W: John Dawe, John Stoner, Magnus Byne, William Foster, Magnus Byne junior
Among other things, this confirms that Christopher Manser’s wife Anne was born Anne Byne and was the brother of Thomas (see below) and son of John (interestingly described here as ‘of Burwash’, suggesting that his connection with Wadhurst was probably fairly brief). As I think I’ve mentioned before, if my theory is correct, then the couple’s connection to the Stephen Byne mentioned here would have been a double one, firstly, because I believe Stephen to have been a relation of some kind of Anne’s father John Byne, and secondly and more immediately, because Christopher and Stephen were brothers-in-law, Stephen being married to Christopher’s sister Mary.
And since we learn from John Byne’s will that Anne and her two sisters were to be looked after by Abraham Manser of Wadhurst, what could be more natural than that he would suggest his nephew Christopher, son of his late brother John, as a suitable husband? One source claims that Christopher and Anne were married in 1621. The information I have about their children is gathered from a number of sources and may be of varying reliability. Apparently their daughter Mary was baptised at Burwash on 4th December 1625. I believe their son John was born in the early 1630s; Jane was baptised at Burwash on 29th June 1645; Anne was probably born shortly before or after this, as was their son Nicholas; possibly Deborah was baptised at Burwash on 29th October 1648; and Abraham may have been born in about 1650. Manser and Byne influences can be seen in these Christian names: Mary was perhaps named after her aunt, Christopher’s sister; John after Anne’s late father; Nicholas after Christopher’s nephew, the owner of Hightown; Abraham after Anne’s brother-in-law (and Christopher’s uncle) who acted as her guardian before her marriage.
I’ve written before about the children of Christopher and Anne Manser. Their son John moved to London, where he lived close to his second cousins Stephen and John Byne (the latter being my 8 x great grandfather) and worked as an apothecary. His brother Nicholas appears to have lived at Mottynsden in Burwash and may have inherited this from his father (who in turn may have inherited it from his father John – it could be the ‘lands lying in Burwash’ bequeathed in the latter’s will).
John Byne’s only son, and his intended heir, Thomas, was baptised at Burwash on 23rd November 1595. His father died in 1614 when Thomas was not quite 21 and presumably inherited his property a year later. However, Thomas himself only lived a little while longer, being buried at Wadhurst on 5th October 1618. According to Renshaw, letters of administration of his effects were granted to his sister Faintnot Goldsmith. The land transaction record cited above mentions the partitioning of Thomas’ property in 1620.