George Barber alias Nynne

b. circa 1554, d. 1555
FatherJohn Barber alias Nynne b. c 1530, d. 1591
MotherAlice Farmer b. c 1530, d. 1595
     George Barber alias Nynne was born circa 1554.
George Barber alias Nynne died in 1555 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England. He was the son of John Barber alias Nynne and Alice Farmer.
George Barber alias Nynne was buried on 6 January 1555 at St Denys, Rotherfield, Sussex, England, recorded as "George, son of John Nynde" which would normally indicate he died a young child. The date also fits perfectly with John and Alice's marriage. However, there is a chance that this could be a son of the previous generation, John and Joan, as their son William's burial in 1548 also says "son of John".1,2

Citations

  1. [S103] Transcript of the Parish Register of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, (ESRO: PAR 465/1/1/1).
  2. [S443] Rotherfield St Denys, Burials and MIs, undated, Rotherfield, Sussex (http://www.stdenysrotherfield.org.uk/familyhistory.htm).

Introduction Barber alias Nynne

      The search for the Barber family history began in my parent's hometown of Brighton in East Sussex. My mother had a good memory for family matters so I made an excellent start getting birth, marriage and death certificates and working back through the census returns. In the 1851 census I discovered that our earliest Barber in Brighton was born in Tonbridge in Kent and, with the help of genealogist Gillian Rickard, started to build an interesting picture of the Barbers who lived there which included three generations of malsters (makers of malt) and a long history of property ownership. A marriage licence dated 1672 between Thomas Barber alias Nin and Mary Rootes both of Tonbridge revealed the first usage of "alias Nin" in the surname, and the mention of a property called Drapers in Thomas's will of 1683 was the means by which earlier generations were traced back to Rotherfield in Sussex. The existence of a surprising amount of manorial records, wills, church records and published research for Rotherfield enabled the line to extend back to 1530, nearly five hundred years of family history.

This website traces the family back to the very beginnings of church records (the recording of baptisms, marriages and burials commenced in 1538) and even back a little further through manorial records. I have been very fortunate with this research, much of which has been possible because of research and transcriptions done by others in the past. I have been told that it is a rare achievement indeed to have gone back so far in such detail.

The research also traces about 200 years of ownership of a property in Rotherfield called Drapers which is clearly shown on a 1597 map of the lands of the manor of Rotherfield as being held by Georg Barbar [sic]. A list of tax payers in the 1296 Sussex subsidy roll for Rotherfield includes an Alexander Draper and Pullein links him to the property suggesting that he was probably one of the earliest owners. Other Rotherfield properties which were owned by the Barber family include a cottage in the village called "Bonnetts" and a small area of associated land called "Bachelands" which may have connections to John Bache, rector of Rotherfield St Denys 1406-1430. Bonnetts and Bachelands were owned by the Barbers from 1530 and sold in 1677, a few years after the family had moved to Hildenborough in Kent (near Tonbridge), although the more valuable Drapers property was kept until 1787. The income from the Drapers property was probably very important to the prosperity of many generations of Barbers and although they were not wealthy it allowed them to remain land owners and operate their own farms and businesses. They were able to purchase or lease other properties in the Tonbridge area including a house in Hildenborough purchased in 1691, Finches (4 acres) in Tonbridge purchased in 1743, and Tonbridge town site land and shops, some of which was still owned at the time of Mary Barber's death in 1841.

By the late 1700s the Barbers appear to have been in a very comfortable financial position, although it appears that a business venture in Ightham (near Tonbridge and pronounced "Item"!) may have caused the loss of some of their properties. In the early 1800s the family dispersed from Tonbridge with the eldest son Thomas Barber moving to Brighton in Sussex. The move to a larger city saw their occupations change and three generations of cabinet makers/carpenters followed resulting in the families moving from the propertied positions they had in Tonbridge to a more working class existence based on employment with less opportunity for financial improvement. In the case of my own family, this eventually led to migration to Australia seeking better opportunities and higher wages.

Having spent many years on this project I feel it would be remiss of me not to make some personal observations about the family history. While recognising that we have limited knowledge of the actual people involved and the challenges they faced, I feel that there is some wisdom to be gained. Here are my observations:

1. The period 1500-1785 appears to be a time of increasing prosperity for the family despite four consecutive generations where the husband died early leaving a widow with a young family. The involvement of extended family members and trusted business connections such as the Wellers in Rotherfield and Tonbridge, and the Polhill and Children families in Tonbridge, is seen again and again in the records. In most cases properties were held for long periods of time and purchased from, leased or sold to other family members. It appears they looked after each other's interests. This may have been out of necessity - you needed to deal with people you could trust - but it also appears to have been effective. Extended family and connections were important.

2. Marriage was often a practical arrangement, sometimes postponed until an inheritance was received or occurring after a widowed mother had died, suggesting perhaps that there was a need for a woman to manage the house and also that financial arrangements needed to be in place in order to attract a suitable bride. We must remember that these were times when love was not necessarily the main factor in a marriage and also that there was a lot of work in running a self-supporting household that would have farmed, grown, stored and cooked its own food, baked bread, brewed beer, etc. Much of this would have been the responsibility of the women in the household and an unmarried son inheriting a house or cottage would be in need of a partner. The marriage in 1639 of Thomas Barber (age 54) to the widow Ann Heath (age 30 years), just four months after the death of his mother, appears to fall into this category especially when one considers that there is evidence of a marriage settlement (property rights) being given to Ann at the time of their marriage. The marriage of Thomas Barber to Elizabeth Waite in 1749, just five months after he inherited from his unmarried uncle, is probably another example. These are indications that marriage may have been an arrangement based more on practical considerations than love. The wills left by the husbands do however reflect genuine affection and concern for their wives and indicate to me their importance and status in the family especially when we also consider that as widows they showed they were more than capable as heads of their families.

3. I am often drawn to the example of the unmarried uncle, Thomas Barber (1675-1749), a malster whose hard work built up a prosperous business in Tonbridge making malt from barley and who successfully involved his nephew Thomas Barber whose father had died when he was only 9 years old. He eventually passed the business and his accumulated properties to the younger Thomas while also looking after other members of his extended family, especially his sister Elizabeth and her family. He appears to have played an important role as a family elder given the early death of his brother Richard who left his wife Margaret with five young children under the age of 9 years. His nephew Thomas and his other nephew Richard did not marry until after the uncle died. I think this is another example of where hard work and some sacrifice were required in serving the best interests of the family.

4. Ownership of property over long periods of time probably created much of the wealth, and more importantly, provided an income to the family in hard times. As well as providing income to the widowed families, it also allowed the family to pay an annuity to older parents, equivalent to our modern old age pension. There are two documented examples of this in the Barber family - one in 1662 and another in 1776 - indicating that it may have been a common practice in families that could afford to do so. Having property was important for keeping their families safe and secure and I feel there are lessons here in the importance of financial independence and in the custodianship of assets across more than one generation.

5. The decline in Barber family wealth in the 1800's and 1900's is obvious and coincides with the move to the cities. With assistance from his family, Thomas Barber established a business in cabinetmaking/undertaking in Brighton with later generations seeking employment in cabinet making and carpentry and ultimately becoming unskilled. Working for others is generally not the path to wealth, especially in the trades. The move to Australia in 1950 provided access to better wages and gave the ability to save money for home ownership, something which was no longer possible for the family in England. Interestingly, the wider access to higher education in the 20th century has allowed children to seek more professional (and higher paid) levels of employment and our current generations are benefitting from this. Where this leads is for future generations to decide.

I must acknowledge the wonderful work done by Catherine Pullein in her book "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", published in 1928. This book is a treasure to those who have an interest in the history of the parish of Rotherfield. I would, however, like to point out two small errors in the book relating to the Barber alias Nynne family.1
1. Firstly, Chapter XIX, page 223 in the list of churchwardens - a John Wynde is listed for 1532. This should be John Nynde (who is actually the same person as the John Barber listed for 1531).
2. Secondly, Chapter XIII, page 156, fourth paragraph, states that in 1690/91, according to the Rates Book, John Moone "for some years he had held the Holmans' twenty-two acres called Drapers". He may have held it as a tenant, but the property was owned by Mary Barber in Tonbridge at that time (see Appendix I).
Last year I obtained a copy of Catherine Pullein's handwritten transcriptions of the churchwarden's accounts book and five volumes of manorial court rolls transcribed from Latin. The existence of these documents was previously unknown and they came to light when they were handed to Alan Yates, Archivist for the Rotherfield St Denys Church, by the grandson of a deceased former churchwarden who had kept them in a box in her flat. They represent a wonderful find and have provided new information regarding the Barber alias Nynnes in Rotherfield. They are an example of the enormous amount of work done by Pullein for which I am very grateful. I was with Alan when he handed these over to the East Sussex Record Office at The Keep on 9 April 2014.

Family history research never finishes, but at some point one needs to decide to publish in order to make it available to a wider audience. Long term preservation of the information is also a consideration, and a hardcopy book still offers greater security over digital copies which can be so easily deleted and lost. Copies of the Barber alias Nynne book which was published in January 2015
have been sent to the Sussex and Kent county archives, libraries and the Society of Genealogists in London.

© Geoffrey Barber 2015.

Citations

  1. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928).

Jane Barber alias Nynne

b. 4 March 1665
FatherJohn Barber alias Nynne b. 13 Feb 1602, d. 1667
MotherEleanor Maynard b. 23 Feb 1625/26, d. 1681
     Jane Barber alias Nynne was baptized on 4 March 1665 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.1 She was the daughter of John Barber alias Nynne and Eleanor Maynard.

Citations

  1. [S388] Website "FamilySearch" (http://www.familysearch.org/) "GS Film number: 1468914."

John Barber alias Nynne

b. circa 1530, d. 1591
FatherJohn Barber alias Nynne b. c 1500, d. 1548
MotherJoan (?) b. c 1500, d. 1577
     John Barber alias Nynne was born circa 1530 at England. He was the son of John Barber alias Nynne and Joan (?)
John Barber alias Nynne married Alice Farmer, daughter of John Farmer, on 8 April 1554 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.1
The marriage is recorded as "John Nen married Alis Farmer".1
Farmer/Fermor is an old Rotherfield name with a long history in the parish.2
There is an interesting entry on the inside back cover of the Rotherfield churchwarden accounts book (undated but a comparison of the handwriting with other entries in the book by ESRO archivist Christopher Whittick dates it at 1550 to 1560):
Be it known by thys present that I John nynde otherwise called barber of the parishe of Retherfyld have reseived [received]of the parish aforesaid 3 pounds of good & lawfull English money for the keeping of a child & have made promis to the parish to keep her honestly & to discharge the parish of the said child for ever.
John Nynne has been paid £3 to take responsibility for the girl, either as an adoption or as a servant, and thus discharge the parish of any obligation for her. There may be a connection to the fact that John and Alice’s first child George was buried in 1555, and so she may have been taken in to assist or comfort Alice.3
John lived during the reign of “Bloody Queen Mary” (1553-1558) who tried to turn England back to Catholicism and took religious persecution to extremes. Three Rotherfield citizens were burnt at the stake in Lewes for their Protestant beliefs (Alexander Hosmer and Ann Ashdowne, burnt about 22 June 1557, and later John Ashdowne). In 1556 the rector of Rotherfield, William Collyer was deprived of his living and although a new rector, John Baxter, was appointed, there are no entries in the church registers from 1555 until 1558 when Queen Mary died. Norman Peachell, an 11xgreat grandson of John Filknisch (Fyltnesse/Filtness), churchwarden with John Barber in 1532, writes that John Filknisch's son Edward was "taken for heresy in the days of Bloody Mary but somehow got away with it". Pullein states that Edward and two others were taken in 1556 but managed to flee and escape before reaching Lewes, eventually returning to Rotherfield where Edward is mentioned in manorial court records of 10 March 1557/58. It was a dangerous time in Rotherfield and would have affected everyone in the village.4
John Farmer's will made 13 Oct 1558 mentions "John Nynde's two children". One of these is obviously George Nynne but who is the other, as all are accounted for in John Nynne's will made in 1589? Could it be the adopted child?5,6
John Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of John Farmer dated 13 October 1558 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.6,5
In the manorial court held on 11 May 1 Eliz. (1559), John Nynde is elected a headman. On 17 October 1 Eliz. (1559) he is listed as one of three "constables of this hundred" and also headman of Southborough and his presentations to the court refer to him as the "headman there with his ten" (his jury of ten men). In the manorial court held 29 April 2 Eliz. [1560] John Nynne is listed again as headborough (or headborgh) for Southborough, and at the end of his presentation to the court two from within the ten men are nominated for headborough, and one is appointed to the position, indicating that John had completed his period of service. Transcriptions of manorial court records for 1557 and 1558 (i.e. Queen Mary's reign) do exist and have been searched but there was no mention of John Nynne as having any official positions or involvement, which was probably wise given there was so much upheaval in the parish with regard to convictions for heresy.7
Pullein mentions that the Manor was divided into three tithings: Northborough, Southborough and Frant, with a headman over each. According to the Middle English Dictionary, the tithing was “an English system of collective surety within a territorial unit by which a group of ten freemen or villagers combined to give security for each other to keep the peace and to guarantee payment of fines or fees”. In practice, the number of villagers in a tithing would vary according to the situation and could be more or less than ten. The word “borgh” is another word meaning a tithing, hence the name Northborgh, Southborgh, etc., or Northborough and Southborough.
A headman would attend the Rotherfield court with his tithing (nominally ten men hence “with his ten”) and they were responsible for keeping the peace in their area. Southborough was evidently the most important for in it lay the village and the church where so much business was transacted.
Although having various meanings, by the early 16th century the term headman (also called headborgh or headborough) described a parish law-enforcement officer subordinate to constable. In the court rolls they are listed immediately under the constables for the hundred (a hundred being an administrative area comprising a number of parishes – originally an area supporting a hundred families, or ten tithings). Their responsibilities can be seen by the various items that John Nynne "with his ten" presented to the court, all requiring judgements and fines to be dispensed to those responsible. Upkeep of roads, hedges, ditches and property are frequent topics, although occasional disputes leading to damage or violence are also presented. The phrase "John Nynne and his ten" also highlights an interesting aspect concerning the evolution of the jury system. In earlier times, a defendant could establish his innocence by taking an oath and getting a required number of persons, typically twelve, to swear they believed the defendant's oath (called compurgation). This later became a group of people from the community (e.g. John Nynne and his ten) who knew the parties and the facts at issue and who could swear as to the guilt or innocence of the accused. This appears to be how the court operated in Rotherfield at this time.8
On the 22 March 1572, Robert Rivers and John Ninne alias Barber were made churchwardens of Rotherfield St Denys for that year.9
In 1572, the churchwardens' accounts record the building of a new seat in the church: "Mem. that Nicholas Manard, Richard Coe, John Stapely, William Dongate, Leonard Callis, thomas Lockier, John howman and John Ninne did build and sett upp the newe seatt next belowe and adjoyninge to the chauncell viz: on the north side off the chauncell Door at their own costs and charges for them and their heires to sett in, and that any other usinge or setting in the same is by them to be forbidden" . The paying for seats to be built and re-built in the church for the exclusive use by the owners and their heirs, and the subsequent buying and selling of these seats, was a characteristic of the church for about one hundred and sixty years after seats were first introduced in 1532. This may be the seat that was sold on 19 July 1679 "that formerly did belong to Thomas Barbour".10
On the 9th June 1574, John Nynne was a juror in a coroners' inquest held at Rotherfield. The inquest concerned a person, John Buckeleyne, who had drowned himself. On the 8th August 1582, John Nynne was again a juror at a coroners' inquest concerning the killing of John Westnet by poachers.11,12
John's service to the parish as a headborough, a churchwarden and as a juror at coronial inquests indicates that he was a respected member of the community.
The earliest evidence of the Barber alias Nynnes possessing the property called Drapers occurs in John’s lifetime. Drapers was 22½ acres of land in the High Cross area just outside Rotherfield village. Catherine Pullein's notebooks record extracts from an undated Quit Rental for Rotherfield which she states is "proved by me to be before Feb. 1580" which records "John Nynn. For 12 acres of freland called Drapers lying between scottyll croch and fathermans. For 101/2 acres (ditto)". This is evidence of John Nynn owning the property Drapers at that time.13
There are also a number of property transactions in the manorial court rolls that involve John Nynne and the Farmer family:
At the manorial court of 2 May 1587, John Nynne is mentioned: Adam Farmer out of Court, viz. Sep 11(?) by John Nynne alias Barber deputy of Isaac Alchorne, bedell, in presence of John Staple, Nic. Coe & George Farmer, surrenders 1 mess. 1 barn & 1 garden cont. 1/2 ac. at Town hyll in R. to use of Margt Farmer his wife.
Pullein adds a note that Adam Farmer, a weaver, was buried 18 Apr 1587. If this is the same Adam Farmer as mentioned above then he therefore can't be the Adam Farmer (son of John Farmer) who was appointed overseer in John Nynne's will in 1589. The above entry is an example of a deathbed transfer where a person near death could instruct a manorial officer in the presence of witnesses regarding the disposal of his property on his death. Those present then attended the next manorial court meet to carry out the dying (or dead) tenants wishes.14,15
At the manorial court held on 2 Aug 1587: "Thomas Farmer at Marke (Cross) surr. 1 messuage, 1 garden, 1 piece of land cont. 3 acres on furling of Frith in R. To use of John Nynne alias Barber"
At the manorial court held on 1 Apr 1588: "John Nynne alias Barber prays to be admitted to 1 mess. 1 barn 1 garden & 1 parcel adjt to sd mes. at Mark crosse cont. 3 ac on f. of Fryth in R. which Thos Farmer at the court held on 2 Augt last surrendered to use of sd John. Comes John N. alias B & surr. above to use of Thos Farmer & his heirs."
This may be an example where a copyhold property was surrendered to the use of a will, with John Nynne alias Barber the executor of the will (needs further work to check this as it would appear that Thomas Farmer was buried 15 Apr 1591). If anything, it does indicate a close relationship between the Farmers and the Barber alias Nynne.
Immediately following these transactions Thomas and Margaret Farmer nominate their daughter Gertrude Savage, wife of William Savage, as their heir so the transactions do appear to be part of an inheritance strategy. The families of John Barber and William Savage are linked again in the will of Henry Aderoll alias Skynner in 1612 (documented in under George Nynne alias Barber) which names both families’ children as beneficiaries.16
John Barber alias Nynne died in 1591 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.
John Barber alias Nynne was buried on 15 May 1591 at St Denys, Rotherfield, Sussex, England; recorded as John Barber als Nynne.1
John Barber alias Nynne left a will made on 10 April 1589 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.17
His estate was probated on 25 May 1591 at Lewes, Sussex, England.
John Barber als Nynne of Retherfield, Sussex, my body to be buried in the churchyard of Retherfield. I will to Alice Barber my wife the house wherein I now dwell together with the barn, outhouses, orchard, garden and the little croft thereunto adjoining for life and also to her all the household stuff within the said house together with half the corn in the barn and half the corn on the ground which I the said John or George my son have or hath in occupying for me. I will to William my son £10 to be paid to him within two years next after my decease. (crossed out: Item: I give unto Mary my daughter £20, £10 whereof to be paid unto the said Mary within four years next after my decease & the other £10 to be paid to the said Mary within four years next after the time of payment of her said first £10.) I will to my son John £10 to be paid to him 6 years after my decease. My will and meaning is that if any of my aforesaid sons or Mary my daughter die before the time of payment, not being married, then his, her or their part shall remain to them, him or her who survives. My will is that my sister Margaret shall have a sufficient dwelling in my house with my wife for life. I will to George my eldest son, who I make the sole executor of this my last will and testament, the residue of all my goods and chattels and of the execution hereof I make Adam Farmer, son to John Farmer, deceased, and Thomas Barber, my brother, overseers.
John Barber's sign.
Witnesses: John Wickham, John Middleton.
Probate 25 May 1591 to George, the son and executor named. William Barber als Nynne minor.
(Transcribed by Gillian Rickard for Geoffrey Barber, 2010.)
During John’s lifetime, there were other Nynne alias Barbers in the nearby parish of Ticehurst. The earliest reference is a baptism on 25 Aug 1577 of Thomas son of Richard Nynne als Barbor. Given the rarity of the name it is almost certain that Richard is related to John, possibly a brother or son. If Richard was born c1555 then his baptism may never have been recorded as there are gaps in the church records at Rotherfield during the reign of Queen Mary. However, there is no mention of Richard in John Nynne alias Barber's will made in 1589, so he is more likely to be John's brother rather than his son in which case he may have been born before 1538 when the recording of baptisms first began.18
Richard was obviously a respected member of the community in Ticehurst as he appears as a juror in a coroners' inquest on 3 Oct 1584 at Etchingham where the case concerned John Sovage of Ticehurst, who had hanged himself.19
Richard was buried in Ticehurst on 20 Apr 1603 as Richard Nynn als Barber.18
The administration of Richard's estate was granted to his wife: 5 May 1603 – admon of the goods of Richard Nyn late of Tiseherst, deceased, granted to Johanne, his relict, in the person of Robert Oteingham, notary public and procurator. Bonds William Nyn of Tiseherst, ‘paylemaker’, and Christopher Fowle of the same parish, husbandman, in £30. Inventory examined, value £15 15s 2d.20
There are baptisms for two of Richard’s sons in the Ticehurst registers: Thomas (25 August 1577) and John (11 Oct 1584). Both were buried in 1584. The above grant of administration suggests that there is at least one surviving son, William, whose baptism has not been found. The burial entry for Richard's wife Joan on 24 May 1620 supports this by stating that she is "mother of William". There are also burials in Ticehurst of Silvester Barber alias Nynn on 20 November 1608 and Richard Barber alias Nynn on 19 March 1610 who could also be children of Richard and Joan.
Their son William married Elizabeth Fuller at Ticehurst on 21 August 1609 and the Ticehurst parish registers record the following baptisms of William's children: Susan (bap. 1611, bur. 1611), Ann (bap. 1615), Richard (bap. 1622, bur. 1631). The entry in the burial register for Richard in 1631 states that he is the son of William Barber alias Nynn and this is the last reference to the Nynn surname in Ticehurst. There is also a marriage in Ticehurst on 4 February 1638/39 of a Thomas Barber and Joan Primer and this Thomas is another son of William and Elizabeth (baptised at Burwash on 15 April 1610, "son of William Barber of Tishurst"). William was buried in Ticehurst on 13 January 1625 and the Barber surname does carry through the Ticehurst parish registers into the 1700’s. Prior to the earliest Richard, the only Barber in Ticehurst is a Jhon (John) Barber, gent, and his wife Elizabeth who first get mentioned with the baptism of their son Wyllm (William) on 30 Aug 1562. Wyllm and Elizabeth are both buried in 1562. There are some Sussex Archaeological Society deeds relating to this family, and a brief inspection indicated that no males survived, that the name Nynne was never mentioned, that there were a number of daughters, and that a daughter Frances Barber was the main beneficiary.

Family

Alice Farmer b. c 1530, d. 1595
Marriage*
John Barber alias Nynne married Alice Farmer, daughter of John Farmer, on 8 April 1554 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.1 
Children

Citations

  1. [S103] Transcript of the Parish Register of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, (ESRO: PAR 465/1/1/1).
  2. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928) "Chap XXX and XXXI "The Fermors of Walsh Manor.""
  3. [S108] Churchwardens' account book for Rotherfield, 1510-1675. (ESRO: PAR 465/10/3/1) page 144.
  4. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928) "Chap XXIII "The Marian Persecution in Rotherfield.""
  5. [S586] Will of John Fermar of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 13 Oct 1558, proved in the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 20 Mar 1558/59. (ESRO: PBT 1/1/4/305A).
  6. [S572] R. Garraway Rice & edited by Walter H. Godfrey, "Transcript of Sussex Wills, Vol IV: Racton to Yapton", Sussex Record Society, First Edition (1940) "p. 25."
  7. [S440] Indexed translation of a court book of the manor of Rotherfield, 1557-1560 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/2) "page 9 of 78 (1559), page 51 of 78 (1560)."
  8. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928) "pp48,49."
  9. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928) "page 223."
  10. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928) "page 247,252,253."
  11. [S280] R F Hunnisett, "Sussex Coroners' Inquests 1558-1603", PRO Publications, First Edition (1996) "Inquest No 127, p28."
  12. [S280] R F Hunnisett, "Sussex Coroners' Inquests 1558-1603", PRO Publications, First Edition (1996) "Inquest No 285, p64."
  13. [S335] Catherine Pullein's notebook from the box file marked "Pullein" in the Working Papers Room at the Sussex Archaeological Society's Barbican Library in Lewes, East Sussex., c1925. (unknown document ref) page 108.
  14. [S111] Court Rolls of the manor of Rotherfield, 1587-1631 (ESRO: ACC 2953/86).
  15. [S441] Indexed translation of a court book of the manor of Rotherfield, 1587-1593 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/3) "page 5/106 and 7/106 of the PDF (pages 6&7 are out of order)."
  16. [S441] Indexed translation of a court book of the manor of Rotherfield, 1587-1593 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/3) "page 11/106, and page 22/106 of the PDF."
  17. [S112] Will of John Barber als Nynne of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 10 Apr 1589, proved in the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 25 May 1591. (ESRO: PBT 1/1/8/423D).
  18. [S116] Transcript of the Parish Register of Ticehurst, Sussex, England, (ESRO: PAR 492/2/1).
  19. [S280] R F Hunnisett, "Sussex Coroners' Inquests 1558-1603", PRO Publications, First Edition (1996) "Inquest No 311, p70."
  20. [S130] Letters of administration of the estate of Richard Nyn of Ticehurst, Sussex, England, granted by the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 5 May 1603 (ESRO: PBT 1/3/3/17F).

John Barber alias Nynne

b. 13 February 1602, d. 1667
FatherGeorge Barber alias Nynne b. c 1558, d. 1627
MotherElizabeth Godsell b. 21 Dec 1561, d. 1638
     John Barber alias Nynne was baptized on 13 February 1602 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England. He was the son of George Barber alias Nynne and Elizabeth Godsell.
John Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of Henry Aderoll alias Skinner dated 6 July 1612 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.1
John Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of George Barber alias Nynne dated 18 January 1617 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.2
John Barber alias Nynne was a witness: Admon: 1635: Appeared personally Mr. William Aweret, notary public and procurator for John Barber als Nyn natural and legitimate brother of Mary Barber als Nyn late of Retherfield deceased and renounced administration of the goods and chattels of the said deceased .3
John Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of Elizabeth Godsell dated 12 September 1637 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.4
The records for the “Relief of Irish Protestants 1642 – East Sussex Contributors” show John Barber in Rotherfield:
John Barber 1d.5
John Barber alias Nynne married Mary (?) circa 1646 at Sussex, England.
John's wife has been identified as Mary purely on the burial in 1662 which says "Mary, wife of John Barber, Retherfield", as the mother's name is not given on any of the children's baptisms. However, it is possible that Mary was a second wife as there is a marriage of John Barber to Joan Coarde on 16 Sep 1645 at Burwash. A Joan Goorde/Goarde/Gourde was baptised 30 Sep 1627 at Barcombe, daughter of Thomas. Another Joan Gord was baptised 30 Oct 1625 at East Grinstead, daughter of Henry and Margaret. These two would appear to be the only possibilities in the SFHG baptism index. While it is possible that Joan Coarde/Goard was John Barber of Rotherfield's first wife (the marriage date fits well with the children's births and no other family has been found for them), there is a burial of a John Barber on 23 Jan 1646 at Warbleton which could also account for him. There is also the marriage of John Barber and Margaret Comber on 21 May 1644 at Buxted which would also have to be a contender.6,7
John's wife Mary was buried on 20 June 1662 in Frant, and her burial entry reads "Mary, wife of John Barber, Rotherfield".8
John Barber alias Nynne married Eleanor Maynard, daughter of Arthur Maynard and Jane Chowne, on 10 September 1663 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.7
There are no other John Barbers of marriageable age in the area that could be the spouse of Eleanor Maynard. Eleanor would have been age 37 and therefore a marriage to a 61 year old widower seems possible.
John Barber alias Nynne died in 1667 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.
John Barber alias Nynne was buried on 30 December 1667 at St Denys, Rotherfield, Sussex, England.9

Family 1

Mary (?) d. 1662
Marriage*
John Barber alias Nynne married Mary (?) circa 1646 at Sussex, England
Children

Family 2

Eleanor Maynard b. 23 Feb 1625/26, d. 1681
Marriage*
John Barber alias Nynne married Eleanor Maynard, daughter of Arthur Maynard and Jane Chowne, on 10 September 1663 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.7 
Children

Citations

  1. [S361] Will of Henry Aderoll alias Skynner of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 6 Jul 1612, proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 2 Nov 1613. (TNA: PROB 11/122/389).
  2. [S113] Will of George Nynne als Barber of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 18 Jan 1617, proved in the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 26 May 1627. (ESRO: PBT/1/1/20/40A).
  3. [S362] Letters of administration of the estate of Mary Barber of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, granted by the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 1635 (ESRO: W/B6/219).
  4. [S114] Will of Elizabeth Nyne als Barber of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 12 Sep 1637, proved in the Archdeaconry Court at Lewes, 3 Dec 1638. (ESRO: PBT/1/1/25/189).
  5. [S110] M J Burchall ed. "East Sussex Contributors to the Relief of Irish Protestants 1642", Sussex Genealogical Centre, Occasional Paper No 10, First Edition (1984).
  6. [S23] Index to Sussex Baptisms, 1538 onwards, compiled by Sussex Family History Group, http://www.sfhg.org.uk/, ongoing project,.
  7. [S24] Index to Sussex Marriages, 1538-1837, Compact Disc SFHGCD003, compiled by Sussex Family History Group, 2008.
  8. [S122] Transcript of the Parish Register of Frant, Sussex, England, 1544-1881 (ESRO: PAR 344/1).
  9. [S388] Website "FamilySearch" (http://www.familysearch.org/) "GS Film number: 1468914."

John Barber alias Nynne

b. circa 1574
FatherJohn Barber alias Nynne b. c 1530, d. 1591
MotherAlice Farmer b. c 1530, d. 1595
     John Barber alias Nynne was born circa 1574. He was the son of John Barber alias Nynne and Alice Farmer.
John Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of John Barber alias Nynne dated 10 April 1589 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.1
John Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of George Barber alias Nynne dated 18 January 1617 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.2

Citations

  1. [S112] Will of John Barber als Nynne of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 10 Apr 1589, proved in the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 25 May 1591. (ESRO: PBT 1/1/8/423D).
  2. [S113] Will of George Nynne als Barber of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 18 Jan 1617, proved in the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 26 May 1627. (ESRO: PBT/1/1/20/40A).

John Barber alias Nynne

b. circa 1500, d. 1548
John Barber, churchwarden at Rotherfield, 1532.
     John Barber alias Nynne was born circa 1500.
John Barber alias Nynne married Joan (?) circa 1525 at England.
Rotherfield means “the open country where the horned cattle feed”, the anglo-saxon word “hrither” evolving into the Middle English word “rother” meaning horned cattle. It was originally one of just a few clearings formed in the dense Sussex weald (forest).
The written history of Rotherfield begins in AD790 when the Saxon “duke”, Berhtwald, gifts his estate called “Ridrefeld” to the Abbey of St Denys’ in Paris, France. At that time, Sussex formed part of the kingdom of Wessex and had been held by the South Saxons since AD491 when they overran the southern coast of Sussex. The church and lands were taken back from the Abbey soon after the Norman Conquest in 1066, but the church retained its dedication to St Denys, a patron saint of France, and is still known today as Rotherfield St Denys. The present sandstone building is said to date from about 1060.1
In front of the church today is an ancient yew tree reputed to be 1500 years old which would have been a landmark in the village even in the 1500’s. The planting of Yew trees near places of worship is thought to go back to the time of the Druids, pre-dating Christianity.
John and Joan Nynne alias Barber are our earliest known ancestors. The first evidence of them occurs in 1530 in the court books of the manor of Rotherfield when they acquired a cottage from Thomas Morley: "On 11 May 1530, Copy Surrender of Tho. Morley & Rose his wife to use of Joh Nynde & Joan his wf. Cott with ?kitchen (coquina), & gdn, in Retherfield also small pcl land of 1/2 acre, & garden belonging, late Alice Downe's". Transfers of this type of property (ie held by copyhold tenure) amongst manorial tenants were known as "surrenders" and the word "copy" refers to the title to the property which was simply a copy of the entry in the manorial court book recording the transfer of ownership.2
The cottage acquired is Bonnetts cottage, as prior to this in 1516, Thomas Morley acquired Bonnetts and a small parcel of land from the widow Alice A'Downe: " 27 Sep 1516 Copy Surrender of Alice A Downe, wd to use of Tho Morley. Small pcl land (?belonging to) a cottage called Bonnetts on Retherfield Hill". This property was kept in the Barber family until 1677 when it is eventually surrendered (to the manor) and acquired by Edmund Latter, possibly a step son of Thomas or the son of his brother-in-law, John Latter. Regarding the history of this property, the court rolls for the manor of Rotherfield in 1456 has the entry: "The homag present that the tenement of Simon Bonnet viz the plastered hall & grange, are ruiness. Therefore he has a day before Easter next under pain of 13/4 [13s/4d fine?] 34HVI [1456]". It gives some description of the house, if indeed this was "Bonnets". Note that a grange, in this context, probably refers to a barn or granary, as this is the old meaning of the word. Two years earlier, in 1454, Simon Bonnet was also mentioned again in the court rolls for the same problem: "The Homag present that the buildings of John Astyn are in decay in everything. And the house of Simon Bonnet. And the houses of John at Fryth, John Hunt & Thos A'Downe".3,4
In 1627 these properties are described as "Messuage & garden at Retherfield Hill, of 1 rod, & a barn called Bonnetts, with a Way from said messuage to the barn; Also a garden of 1 rod called Bacheland next to said barn; Also a parcel meadow of 1/2 ac, a Kitchen (coquinam) once of Alice Adowne, & a garden once of Adam Farmer". It appears that an adjacent garden called Bachelands has been added to the property, and it is possible that there may have been an association between between Bachelands and John Bache/Bathe, rector of Rotherfield 1406 to 1430.5,6
The rather unique and detailed description of the property (with the “Way”, ½ acre meadow, garden of 1 rod, etc.), its location on Rotherfield Hil (now Church Road or the B2100) and the fact that this description remained unchanged in the manorial records at least until 1854, allows the location of the property to be identified on the 1842 tithe map. We see that the property would have been at the location of the current Town Hill House, a Grade II listed property dating from the 18th century which is just across the road from the church. It appears that the cottage has not survived, unless it has been incorporated in the newer house.
The previous owner of Bonnetts cottage, Thomas Morley, was also the owner of a property called Drapers. It is documented in the 1509 yearly rents of Rotherfield Church:" Thomas Morley for Drapers on Mich. ijd" - Mich. meaning Michaelmas (29th September) when the payment ijd (2 pence) was due. Drapers also eventually came into the Nynne alias Barber family sometime before 1580 as Catherine Pullein's notes mentions an undated Quit Rental record which she says she has shown to be dated before Feb 1580: "John Nynn. For 12 acres of freland called Drapers lying between scottyll croch and fathermans. For 101/2 acres (ditto)" . John's grandson "Georg Barbar" is recorded as the owner on the 1597 map of Rotherfield manor. It may be that there was a family connection to Thomas Morley given that the transfer of Drapers would be the second property to come from him, and that many properties tended to stay within a family for generations. The eventual disposal of Bonnetts and Bachelands in 1677 was to a family relative, Edmund Latter.7,8,9,10
On 11 June 1531, John Barber was a made a churchwarden of Rotherfield St Denys. He was also a churchwarden again in 1532 but this time his name is written as John Nynde (Catherine Pullein's book incorrectly transcribes his name as John Wynde). In 1532, the wardens of Rotherfield Church, John Barber and John Filknisch, were responsible for "pewes and setys made in the church on the xix may". This entry in the accounts book, on 19 May 1532, records John's name as John Barber.11,12
This was the introduction of pews into the church for the first time as prior to this most parishioners sat and knelt on a rush strewn floor with possibly some stone benches affixed to the walls for the weak, from which originates the saying “to send the weak to the wall”. The account also notes that the timber for the pews and setys came from Framfield, and that a person named Weston was paid 10d for its carriage. A second entry is made in the accounts book on 23 June 1532 where John is recorded as John Nynd (Catharine Pullein's book, and the Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol XLI, incorrectly transcribed his name as John Wynde). In this entry, the new churchwardens for the next year are named as John Hayward and William Hosmer and it states that they commenced their position as churchwardens on the feast of St Richard 1532. This day was obviously of significance to the parish and the reader may be interested to know that St Richard was a 13th Century Bishop of Chichester and is the patron saint of Sussex. His saint's day of 16 June is now celebrated as Sussex Day. In the 1530's his shrine at Chichester Cathedral had become almost as popular as that of Thomas Beckett at Canterbury Cathedral, and was ordered to be destroyed in 1538 by King Henry VIII. Rumours exist that his relics and bones were moved to the church of St Peter and St Paul, West Wittering where "The Lady Chapel not only contains the Saxon Cross but also an ancient broken marble slab engraved with a Bishop's pastoral staff and a Greek cross believed to have come from a reliquary containing the relics of St. Richard of Chichester". He is remembered for the following lines included in a prayer said to have been made by him on his deathbed: "May I know you more clearly; Love you more dearly; And follow you more nearly". These were incorporated into the popular song "Day by Day" in the 1970's musical Godspell.13,14,15
John Barber alias Nynne died in 1548 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.
John Barber alias Nynne was buried on 25 January 1548 at St Denys, Rotherfield, Sussex, England.16 His burial entry reads "25 Jan 1548 John Nynde, Sexton" indicating that John, as sexton, was responsible for the care and maintenance of the church property and possibly also the ringing of bells and digging graves. Given that he was a churchwarden when the pews were first installed in the church and sexton when he died, he probably had gained a lot of knowledge about the church buildings over his lifetime. The location of Bonnetts cottage on Rotherfield Hill (now Church Rd) also shows that he also lived close to the church.
At present it is not known where John and Joan were born or married, and if their families lived in Rotherfield or elsewhere. The burial of a Robert Nynder on 1 Nov 1548 in Rotherfield may therefore be significant. There is no information to place him in any family, but he could be a son of John and Joan or a brother of either. This is potentially significant because the Earls of Abergavenny (Neville family) were lords of Rotherfield manor for several hundred years, living at Eridge in Rotherfield parish. In 1542 Thomas Neville, brother of the then Earl, died at Mereworth castle, Kent, just NE of Hildenborough and his will leaves bequests to his servants among who is a Robert Nyn who also acted as executor (Medieval & Tudor Kent P.C.C. Wills Transcriptions by L. L. Duncan - Book 15 page 551). Robert Nynne also appears in the will of John Godden of nearby Ryarsh in 1546. It appears that Robert was a yeoman of Maidstone in 1537 and also appeared in the records in 1531. It is possible that John and Joan were linked to the family of this Robert Nynne.
John became churchwarden at a very interesting time in church history. In 1531 the Anglican Church was formed when the clergy of England recognized Henry VIII as the head of the church, replacing the Pope. Initially, the English church didn't really change. It was still for all practical purposes a Catholic Church; the only real difference that anybody would notice was the use of English Bibles introduced in 1539. However, it changed radically under Henry's successor, Edward VI (ruled 1547-1553) who was Henry's third child, born by his third wife, Jane Seymour. Edward was only a teenager when he became king, but he thoroughly sympathized with the Protestant cause. Edward and Thomas Cranmer set about turning the Church of England into a Protestant church. He allowed the clergy to marry, and, in 1549, imposed Thomas Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer on all church services. He also ordered all images and altars to be removed from churches. Edward, however, died only six years into his reign. As John Barber died in 1548 he would have missed these more significant reforms, but his wife Joan (buried in Rotherfield 1577) and their children would have experienced it all including the reign of “Bloody Queen Mary” which resulted in three people from Rotherfield being burnt at the stake for heresy.
Mary succeeded Edward VI in 1553 and reigned until 1558. She was Henry VIII's first child by Catherine of Aragon and had been raised a devout Catholic in France. When she assumed the throne of England, she declared England to be a Catholic country and assertively went about converting churches back to Catholic practices. Images and altars were returned, the Book of Common Prayer was removed, and clerical celibacy was re-imposed. She punished opposition severely and because of the sheer number of executions of Protestants the English people eventually called her "Bloody Mary". Had she lived longer, England would probably have reverted to Catholicism for another century or so.17
In 1992 a pageant was staged in Rotherfield to celebrate 1200 years of church and village history. There were many characters in the pageant that were based on real people and those chosen for the 1550s included "Widow Nynne". The writer of the pageant, Jean McConnell, obviously knew her local history as the other characters for the 1550s are Ann Ashdown who was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1557 and Joan Hosmer who was the mother of Alexander Hosmer who was also burnt at the stake with Ann. Widow Nynne was probably included because the family is mentioned a number of times in the church records (there is the Joan Nynne burial in 1577 and Widow Nynne burials in 1595 and 1638). The character Widow Nynne was played by actor Alison Organ who also designed the costumes.

Family

Joan (?) b. c 1500, d. 1577
Marriage*
John Barber alias Nynne married Joan (?) circa 1525 at England
Children

Citations

  1. [S447] Webpage "St Denys, Rotherfield" (http://www.stdenysrotherfield.org.uk/stdenyshistory.htm).
  2. [S119] Transcription of Morley/Nynne Surrender of Property, 11 May 1530. (ESRO: SAS AB 396).
  3. [S118] Transcription of A'Downe/Morley Surrender of Property, 27 Sep 1516. (ESRO SAS AB 395).
  4. [S433] Indexed translation of a court book of the manor of Rotherfield, 1444-1457, 1458 and 1546 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/1).
  5. [S121] Transcription of Thomas Nynne als Barber Admission, 11 Oct 1627. (ESRO: SAS AB 398).
  6. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928) "p 193."
  7. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928) "page 235."
  8. [S105] Survey (map) of land held of the Manor of Rotherfield, "described in the Year 1597 by Richard Allin of Roberstsbridge in Sussex, and new drawn on vellum and collored in the yeare 1664 by John Pattenden of Brenchley in Kent", of the manor of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1597 (ESRO: ACC 363/111r).
  9. [S107] CourtRolls of the manor of Rotherfield, 1631-1753 (ESRO: ABE 74O1) page 252.
  10. [S335] Catherine Pullein's notebook from the box file marked "Pullein" in the Working Papers Room at the Sussex Archaeological Society's Barbican Library in Lewes, East Sussex., c1925. (unknown document ref).
  11. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928) "p223."
  12. [S108] Churchwardens' account book for Rotherfield, 1510-1675. (ESRO: PAR 465/10/3/1).
  13. [S137] Website "Wikipedia" (http://en.wikipedia.org/) "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_of_Chichester."
  14. [S104] Catharine Pullein, "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors", Courier, First Edition (1928) "p245."
  15. [S139] Sussex Archaeological Society ed. "Sussex Archaeological Collections, Vol 41", Sussex Archaeological Society, First Edition (1898).
  16. [S103] Transcript of the Parish Register of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, (ESRO: PAR 465/1/1/1).
  17. [S137] Website "Wikipedia" (http://en.wikipedia.org/) "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Cranmer."

John Barber alias Nynne

b. 11 October 1584, d. before 13 October 1584
FatherRichard Barber alias Nynne b. c 1540, d. 1603
MotherJoan (?) d. 1620
     John Barber alias Nynne was baptized on 11 October 1584 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.1 He was the son of Richard Barber alias Nynne and Joan (?)
John Barber alias Nynne died before 13 October 1584 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.
John Barber alias Nynne was buried on 13 October 1584 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.2

Citations

  1. [S23] Index to Sussex Baptisms, 1538 onwards, compiled by Sussex Family History Group, http://www.sfhg.org.uk/, ongoing project,.
  2. [S25] Index to Sussex Burials, 1538 onwards, compiled by Sussex Family History Group, http://www.sfhg.org.uk/, ongoing project,.

John Barber alias Nynne

b. 14 November 1652
FatherThomas Barber alias Nynne b. 15 Apr 1610, d. 1663
MotherJoan Primer d. 1699
     John Barber alias Nynne was baptized on 14 November 1652 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.1 He was the son of Thomas Barber alias Nynne and Joan Primer.

Citations

  1. [S23] Index to Sussex Baptisms, 1538 onwards, compiled by Sussex Family History Group, http://www.sfhg.org.uk/, ongoing project,.

Manorial Records Barber alias Nynne

      Understanding Manorial Customs and Courts
© Geoffrey Barber 2015.

During the 16th and 17th Centuries the Barber alias Nynnes lived under the rules and customs of the manor of Rotherfield. As tenants of the manor they were required to attend and participate in the manorial courts and were collectively responsibility for maintaining law and order as there was no local police force. The manorial records show that they served in various roles such as headborough, constable and jury members. As part of a small village community they also served their parish church as churchwardens and in one case, a church sexton. This community service was in addition to the pursuit of their normal occupations. We know about this because of the survival of the manorial court records and church records.
Genealogists are usually well aware of the church records (parish registers, churchwarden's accounts books, overseers of the poor disbursements and accounts, etc) but fewer have an understanding of manorial records and how the manor operated. As much of the material for my research has come from manorial records, I feel that it is important to provide the reader with a basic understanding of the manor and manorial courts before proceeding further. This will greatly assist the reader to understand the information presented on this site.

Feudalism
The system of manorial land tenure, broadly termed feudalism, was conceived in Western Europe and exported to areas affected by Norman expansion during the Middle Ages and in particular to England after the Norman conquest where it was well established by the time of the Domesday Book (1086). It is important to realise that it had many local variations, and evolved considerably between 1100 and the 1500-1800 period considered in this book. In particular, the time of the Black Death (1348) caused severe labour shortages and resulted in many improvements in conditions for manorial tenants, which were quite severe in earlier times. The manorial system is considered to have peaked in the 13th century and entered a period of slow decline thereafter. It was not completely extinguished until 1922.
In England, the dukes, earls and barons who received their lands directly from the king were known as tenants-in-chief. They gave out portions of their lands to knights, esquires and gentlemen who were therefore lords of manors held indirectly of the king. The lord of the manor had legal authority and was supported economically from his own direct landholding in the manor and from the obligatory contributions of the people under his jurisdiction. These obligations could be met by providing labour, payment in kind or with money. As the manorial system declined these obligations became increasingly met by purely financial payments.
The rules and customs under which the manor operated were documented in a "Custumal of the Manor" and the custumal for the manor of Rotherfield survives and is translated in Catherine Pullein's book "Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors" (Chap. VI). It documents the customs under which the tenants held land from the lord of the manor, the services they owed him and the monies they had to pay if those services were not performed. It included a local code of laws regarding personal behaviour and a summary of oral sworn tradition and written legal arrangements between the landlord and his tenants. Custumals were compiled for a practical purpose: to guide and educate successive generations of officials tasked with keeping law and order within the manor. They were modified from time to time to meet the changing interests and needs of their communities.

What is a Manor?
A manor was an area of land held by feudal tenure, generally from the Crown, so that the lord of the manor was a tenant of the Crown with many obligations - financial, military, law and order, religious, etc. It was very much a social and economic unit, with some of the land held by the lord for his own use and the remainder tenanted by local people or used as common land or waste.
Manorial courts regulated the administration of the manor by enforcing local customs and agricultural practices, settling minor disputes and debts and transferring property rights. Much of the business of the court required fees to be paid and was an important source of revenue for the lord. All tenants of the manor were meant to attend the courts and could be fined for not doing so. From the sixteenth century onwards a property was only considered a manor if its owner held a court for the tenants.
In the early days of the manorial system there were two types of tenants of manorial land:
1. Villeins (unfree tenants) - who occupied their lands on condition of rendering services to the lord such as farming his land. Villeins were effectively chattels of the lord and subject to severe restrictions on their personal freedom. They needed permission to move away from the manor, to allow their daughters to marry, and to educate their sons. These personal restrictions eventually disappeared following the outbreak of the plague in the 14th century which created severe labour shortages and left all tenants in a much stronger bargaining position.
Villein land tenure eventually evolved into what was called copyhold tenure and by the 16th century the obligation for service had largely been commuted to monetary payments so that copyhold tenants functioned virtually as free tenants after having paid their rent. This commutation of labour services to monetary payments is a major theme in the evolution and decline of the manorial system. It is worth noting that these monetary payments were often fixed and their value to the lord diminished over time.
2. Freemen (free tenants) - who occupied their lands for a money rent paid to the lord in lieu of providing services and as a result had considerable independence. This type of tenure was called freehold.
Both types of tenants had an obligation to attend the manorial courts and to pay homage to the lord. The lord of the manor could hold separate courts for customary tenants (copyholders) and freeholders but it was usually more convenient to deal with both in a single court session. This was the case in the surviving Rotherfield manorial records as most freeholders held copyhold property as well.
Social division however came to be based more on wealth and through holding office in the community rather than these categories of freemen and villeins. There was not necessarily a correlation between a person's wealth and the type of land tenure - an unfree tenant might hold more land that his free neighbour and thus be wealthier.
In the administration of the manor the Steward was the chief official (often a lawyer who may serve more than one manor) who held the courts at which lower, appointed officials were bound to attend in person or by deputy.
Some of the other official positions were:
Bailiff - a salaried or professional position as the manorial lord's estate manager, subordinate to the Steward. His duties included collecting rents for the landlord and the general overseeing of agricultural and pastoral affairs, often on more than one Manor.
Reeve - A tenant (villein) elected to organise the daily business of the manor and often their spokesman in negotiations with the lord. Essentially a farm manager or foreman but servile in status and primarily concerned with the management of the land which was set aside for the exclusive use of the lord (called demesne). Although not salaried, he could receive compensation in the form of a remission of rent on his land holdings, release from service to the lord, a grant of property, food etc.
Hayward - an assistant to the reeve who had responsibility for sowing the corn, harrowing and organising the harvesting. He guarded the lord's property and supervised the repair of manor or parish fences. He was in charge of cattle and other animals grazing on common land, impounding stray cattle and could issue summons to the manorial court as well as collect fines. Sometimes known as a beadle although this may also be another official who, if working together with a hayward, might specialise in the collection of rents and fines.
Constable - the senior law and order official appointed by the manor or parish. He would also be responsible to the High Constable who was an officer of the Hundred, an administrative division in the county containing a number of parishes (also called a Rape in Sussex). He in turn reported to the Lieutenant of the County.
Headborough - the head of a frankpledge or tithing (a group of households collectively responsible for the behaviour of each member) - he was either a constable or his deputy. In 1559 John Nynne (alias Barber) was elected headborough of the area called Southborough and served for one year before another in his group was elected.
Other positions, generally drawn from the manorial tenants, included the warrener (gamekeeper), parker (caretaker of a park) and woodward or wood reeve (forest keeper).

Land Tenure     
The different ways in which land was held and inherited is the very essence of feudal society and an understanding of this is crucial to interpreting manorial records:
Demesne land was land held by the lord of the manor for his own benefit (demesne is pronounce de-main and is a variant of the word domaine but with a more specific meaning). Other landholders (originally the villeins or unfree tenants but later called copyholders) had significant obligations to farm and maintain this land for the lord's benefit, although this declined over time and was eventually replaced by a fixed rent (called a quit rent) and the lord's land came to be cultivated by paid labourers. Eventually many of the demesne lands were leased out either on a perpetual (i.e. hereditary) or a temporary renewable basis.
Copyhold or customary tenure - originally called villein tenure where the land was held in exchange for payment and services provided to the lord of the manor, although the land was still technically owned by the lord. Villein tenants came to be called customary holders/tenants because they held the land at the will of the lord of the manor according to the custom of the manor and all conveyances of this land, including descent to an heir, had to pass through the lord's manorial courts. A more secure form of tenure called copyhold developed from this and was fully established by the start of the 16th century. Unlike the earlier form of villein tenure, the obligations to the lord extended only to the payment of an annual cash rent (called a quit rent), suit (attendance) at the manorial court, an entry fine (a fee payable when a new person was admitted to the property), and a heriot (tax) on death of the tenant. The tenant received a written copy of the court roll entry recording their admission to the property hence the term copyhold tenure and although the land was still held "at the will of the lord according to the custom of the manor" it became largely independent of him. An example of a copyhold "title" is shown here.
One of the important tasks of the manorial courts was to record the death of copyhold tenants in the court books, the name of their heir and the name and description of their lands. The land was first "surrendered" back to the lord and the heir then "admitted" to the land. If no heirs existed, the property would revert to the lord's holdings. Copyhold properties could also be sold and would undergo the same procedure of surrender and admission. An example of a manorial court document recording this process is shown later in the chapter in Fig. 4 and concerns a property held by Thomas Nynne alias Barbour being transferred to Edmund Latter, presumably the result of a sale.
One of the customs of the manor was that when a customary/copyhold tenant died the lord shall have his best animal in the name of a heriot (a feudal due), and this was generally required to be paid before the heir was admitted to the property. We see an example of this when Thomas Nynne alias Barber was "admitted" to a property on 24 July 1627 after the burial of his father George on 11 April 1627 and that the heriot was "1 Ox color red branded".
The privilege of the widow to retain tenure of her late husband's copyhold land during her lifetime was called "free bench" and was in fact more generous than that which applied for freehold land where the widow was entitled to hold only a third of the property which was called her "dower". It was called free bench because she became a tenant of the manor and therefore one of the people who sat on the bench occupied by the peers of the manorial court.
The manorial court was generally quite protective of the rights of young children as heirs to a copyhold property when the father died. The widow could not marry without permission or be unchaste otherwise the lord could forfeit her property. Generally a second husband was only allowed to enter his wife's property on sufferance, for the term of her life, and often only during the minority of her children. While it was possible for a wife to surrender her right and seisin (meaning possession) of a property to a new husband, it could only be with the lord's permission and was quite rare.
On the death of a widow, a property usually went wholly to one of the children (the heir). Division of property was generally not a feature of the manorial system. In early times the identity of the heir was determined by the custom of the manor which for most of England was primogeniture (i.e. the eldest son) although the Statute of Wills enacted in 1540 allowed landholders to determine who would inherit by permitting bequest by will. Most wills, however, usually left the landholdings to the eldest son and gave financial compensation to the other children. Where significant property was involved, the heir would likely have had additional financial responsibilities to the wider family such as looking after unmarried sisters and older family members. Sometimes these additional responsibilities were made explicit in the will.
Copyhold tenure was abolished by the Law of Property Act of 1922 (enacted 1926), when all copyhold land became freehold, effectively ending the manorial court system. However, the process of converting copyhold to freehold (called enfranchisement) had begun much earlier and became common in the late 19th century.
Freehold land was owned absolutely by the owner who was free to sell it and pass it by will, and so its descent was not governed (or recorded) by the manor. No services were due to the lord except the payment of a fixed rent, liability to "suit" (attend) at the lord's court and to be subject to the lord's jurisdiction. The freeholder was also subject to paying an entry fee (called a relief which might be one year's rent) when the property was purchased or inherited. Because custom played a big part in determining these obligations they could be quite different between manors. For example we find in Kent that freehold tenure could also entail the payment of a heriot on death (as for copyhold).
Freehold tenure was anciently thought the only form of feudal land tenure worthy to be held by a free man. However, in the 16th century in Rotherfield the local people (at all levels) often held lands under both types of tenure. This was certainly the case for the Barbers when they lived in Rotherfield and also later in Hildenborough. The 22 acre property called Drapers at High Cross, Rotherfield was held freehold and as a result it is rarely mentioned in manorial records other than in the accounts where rents are recorded. On the other hand, their house (called Bonnetts) in the Rotherfield village was held copyhold and has an extensive history of surrenders and admissions in the manorial court records as it passed from one generation to another.
On the death of her husband, a widow was entitled to hold one third of her husband's freehold property and this right was called dower. However, it was common for a wife to make an arrangement before marriage whereby she exchanged her right of dower for jointure, which was a specified interest in her husband's property after his death - a particular share, a life interest or an annuity. If she brought property to the marriage then her share in jointure would be expected to be greater than that which she would get under the dower entitlement. Dower applied strictly to freehold property. Jointure however could apply to both freehold and copyhold as it was possible for a copyhold tenant to be given the power to appoint a jointure for his wife. Freehold land descended by Common Law to a man's heir (who was usually the eldest son) so in the case where there was a widow entitled to her dower, the heir would inherit the rest of the property provided that he had come of age. If he was underage, a third party was appointed to hold the land until he reached his majority.
We see an example of dower when Thomas Barber died intestate in 1756 in Tonbridge, Kent. His widow Elizabeth received her right of dower and twenty years later there is a legal agreement (an "Indenture" dated 29 January 1776) where she releases her dower to her 23 year old son Thomas. This agreement is not a manorial document as the transaction pertained to freehold land. It is simply an agreement drawn up by a lawyer and signed by the parties involved (in this case only Elizabeth's signature was required).
We see an example of jointure and the benefits it provides to a surviving spouse when Anne Theobold, the widow of Thomas Barber (who had subsequently married Samuel Theobold, her third husband), signs an agreement in 1661/62 with her son and heir Thomas Barber. Ann was left a widow in 1649 and under a jointure agreement with husband Thomas, made at the time of their marriage, she retained full possession of their copyhold and freehold properties in Rotherfield for the rest of her life after his death. The 1661/62 agreement between her and her son is for him to lease these properties in Rotherfield from her, paying her the sum of £11/5s per year for the term of her life and thus providing her with an income. On her death the properties would transfer to Thomas under the original jointure agreement which would have been made to protect Thomas's inheritance (against Anne marrying again after her husband's death - which she did) as much as to provide for Anne.
7 Jan 1661/62 Lease by Samuel Theobold of Tonbridge, Kent, clothier and Ann his wife, to Thomas Barber alias Nine, of Frant, Sussex, then servant to Thomas Weller, gent., of a messuage or tenement, outhouse, barn and stall and a small piece of land lying near the said barn, together with all gardens, closes, backside, etc. in Rotherfield Town. Also, 4 pieces of land and wood containing 22 acres, called Drapyers in Rotherfield; all which premises the said Samuel held by right of An his wife made to her by jointure and lease from Thomas Barber alias Nine, her former husband, father of the above named Thomas. Term, the life of the said Ann Theobold party to the deed and mother of the said Thomas: rent yearly £11/5s. Signature of Samuel Theobold, and mark of Ann Theobold & seals. Witnesses: William Jeffrey, Ann Barber (mk)
The yearly rent of £11/5s would have been close to a living wage in 1662 as by comparison the average yearly income for a labouring family of 3-4 people at the end of the 17th century was £15.
A final category of land holder was the leaseholder. Leasehold was first used for letting of demesne land which was usually held for a year at a time in the medieval period but later for longer terms. The terms of the lease were determined by the lord of the manor and were not restricted by custom and so could more readily reflect market rates. Leasehold first became popular after the Black Death (1348-1350) as many lords of the manor withdrew from direct cultivation of their demesne land due to labour shortages. This was a significant development as it meant that the decision making about land management was no longer with the aristocracy and gentry associated with the manor but to a new class of people called farmers who were previously villeins and freemen. It became an increasingly popular form of tenure.
This section has discussed in some detail the different types of land tenure and some of the issues regarding inheritance as they are often the main subject in many of the surviving manorial documents. At this point it would be instructive to look at the 1597 map of the survey of the manor of Rotherfield where these different types of land tenure are clearly marked. Freehold land is labelled "free" (for example, Georg Barbar's [sic] property), and the demesne land is labelled "demains". Anything not labelled free or demains would generally be held by copyhold tenure.

Manorial Courts
Manorial courts regulated the administration of the manor by enforcing local customs and agricultural practices, settling minor disputes and debts and transferring property rights, notably copyhold tenure. All tenants of the manor were meant to attend and could be fined for not doing so. The written records of the proceedings of these courts (court rolls) form the largest part of what we call manorial records.
In addition to manorial courts there was also the common law courts which were administered nationwide under the authority of the monarch. Over time, people were able to resort to the common law courts to resolve their differences over tenure rather than the manorial court. So when studying manorial court rolls we must realise that we are seeing only those matters which came under the jurisdiction of the manorial court and is therefore not a full picture of "life on the manor".
The two main types of manorial courts held are described below:
The Leet Court had certain rights of criminal jurisdiction and of appointing some local officials. A system called "Frankpledge" maintained law and order within the manor. It was a system of mutual responsibility within a group of originally about ten households - i.e. they were held corporately responsible for the behaviour of each member and for their appearance at court. The Leet Court was held to examine each group ("inspect" the working of frankpledge) and was also known by its older name, the "View of Frankpledge" . There were three such groups (also called tithings) on the manor of Rotherfield in the 16th century: Southborough, Northborough and Frant.
At this court the tenants of the manor (called the homage) assembled and swore fealty. A jury, either formed from the homage or synonymous with the homage, decided on the fines payable for offenses, appointed the officers of the manor such as constables and headboroughs, and heard the cases against miscreant tenants. Each group (or frankpledge or tithing) reported to the court via their elected headman or headborough. The court had the power to deal with offences such as common nuisances, affrays, the condition of highways and ditches, and the maintenance of the assize of bread and ale (from 1267 the price of bread and ale was fixed based on prevailing prices of corn and malt). We find in 1631, 1632 and 1634 that Thomas Barber was a member of a three person jury at such a court.
The Leet Court was the lowest level of criminal court in England and more serious offences would be dealt with by the Hundred Court. Reforms to the justice system in Tudor times meant that the role of this court effectively disappeared in the 17th century.
The Court Baron was concerned with the lord's "incidences", especially what was due to him from movement of tenants. This court enforced payment of all fines (fees) and services due to the lord. Surrender, admission, death, marriage - all entitled the lord to a monetary payment. These fines were recorded, along with details of the incident giving rise to them, in the court roll (book). This court also appointed some local officials including the reeve, bailiff and the hayward.
From the seventeenth century we often see instances of a private court baron being held. This was an ad hoc meeting of the court with only a few suitors present and was probably held to address an urgent piece of business.
An example of a page from a Court Baron roll from the manor of Rotherfield dated 6 December 1677 is shown here.
Note that the court rolls were recorded in Latin up until 1733 (with the exception of the period of the Commonwealth) even though the proceedings were conducted in English.
The document starts by identifying the lord of the manor and stating that the steward Thomas Hooper is holding the court. It then proceeds to list the essoins (those excused for non-appearance at court), the homage (the tenants attending the court) and then lists the business of the court.
The first item on this particular document records the surrender of the properties called Bonnetts and Bathelands by Thomas Nynne alias Barbour and the admittance of Edmund Latter to the same property. The reason for the transfer is not given (it was probably sold to Edmund Latter) as the manorial record is primarily concerned with recording the change of ownership and the fee of £3/13s/4d due to the lord of the manor. It reads:
Rotherfield. Court Baron of William Dyke, Esquire, and Ralph Snowden, held in the same place for the tenants of the aforesaid manor on the sixth day of December in the 29th year of the reign of our Lord Charles the Second, by the grace of God, now King of England etc, and in the year of our Lord 1677, by Thomas Hoop [or Hooper], gentleman, steward.
Essoins: None
Homage: Nicholas Hosmer, Abraham Alchorne, Thomas Hosmer (sworn)
To this Court came Thomas Nynne alias Barbour and surrendered into the hands of the Lords, by the acceptance of their aforesaid steward, one messuage or tenement, one garden and one barn, called Bonnetts, and a certain way leading from the messuage to the aforesaid barn, and also one other garden containing one rood of land called Bathelands lying near the aforesaid barn, and one piece of meadow containing half an acre, and one wooden building, in English a lodge or hovel, and one garden previously Adam Fermor's, situated and lying in Retherfeild, held by rent of [blank], heriot, relief and other services, to the use of Edmund Latter and his heirs, according to the custom of the aforesaid manor. And thereupon to this court came the aforesaid Edmund and sought that he be admitted to the messuage, tenement, barn, garden, lands and premises aforesaid, with the appurtenances, to whom the lords, through their aforesaid steward, granted seisin thereof by rod, to have and to hold to the same Edmund and his heirs, at the will of the lords, according to the custom of the aforesaid manor, by the rent and services formerly due in respect thereof and by right accustomed. And he gave to the lords, as fine and heriot, a composition, £3 13s 4d. And he is admitted as tenant thereof. And he has seisin by rod. And he makes fealty to the lords.
(Transcribed by Gillian Rickard for Geoffrey Barber 2011)
Proceedings of all the courts may be recorded on the same manorial court roll and often the proceedings of the Court Leet and the Court Baron were not kept distinct. It is important to note that not all matters considered by the manorial courts were recorded in the court roll which was concerned mainly with recording items affecting the lord's financial interests. For example, the agricultural routine of the manor was regulated by the court but rarely documented.
There were other courts convened from time to time such as a court of survey undertaken to compile a formal survey of the manor and a court of recognition undertaken when a new manorial lord had taken over and whose purpose was to record all the tenants and their holdings and to gain acknowledgement of the rents and services they owed (which could include the steward reciting the customs of the manor).
The manorial courts provided a process for local government and law and order within the community and it is the surviving court rolls for the manor of Rotherfield in Sussex and also the manor of Datchurst in Tonbridge, Kent that have provided significant information on the Barber family and their properties.

A Description of the Manor of Rotherfield in 1400
The following description of the manor of Rotherfield in the year 1400 brings together many of the concepts and terminology introduced in this chapter.
The lord of the manor, Thomas Lord Le Despenser, died on 13 January 1400. An inquisition post mortem was held to record the death, identify the heir and document the estate and its value in order to determine what payment was due to the King. Revenue from the deaths of his tenants-in-chief were a significant part of royal revenues. The practice of conducting inquisitions post mortem ceased in 1640.
THOMAS LORD LE DESPENSER
Writ 26 Feb. 1400.
SUSSEX. Inquisition. Rotherfield 15 April
He held the manor of Rotherfield of the king in chief by knight service. There are the site, annual value nil; 64 acres arable at 3d., 16s; 80 acres pasture at 2d.[per acre], [which equals] 13s.4d; 56 acres nil because marsh and scrub (buschaill); 20 acres meadow of rushes in various places at 8d., 13s.4d; 1 chase, number of acres unknown, nil because maintaining the enclosure costs annually £6 beyond the profits; 1 watermill 66s.8d; site of fulling mill, nil because totally destroyed; assize rents [fixed rents for landholdings] of free tenants and villeins £32 payable at the four principal terms by equal parts; various customary works £6 2s.2d., comprising at Candlemas 45s., at Lady Day 7s.6d., at Easter 22s.6d., at Midsummer 15s., and at Michaelmas 32s.2d., from which by the ancient custom of the manor the reeve has 5s. yearly, the beadle 4s; the custom called 'swonswyne', the tenants rendering £6.13s. at Martinmas; another custom called 'Andrewesreve' at the feast of St. Andrew 50s; the profits of the fair at the feast of St. Dennis 5s; view of frankpledge held after Easter and Michaelmas £6; pleas and perquisites of the court nil beyond expenses; a place called Eridge in the aforesaid enclosed chase nil because imparked and occupied by game, which park is called 'Newepark'; another park in the same chase called Hamsell nil because occupied by game. There is a master forester but how much he takes daily is unknown; 1 ranger takes 2d. daily, 60s.8d; 1 chamberlain, 3 foresters, 2 parkers, 1d. each, £9; 1 forester in the chase in the park on Waterdown 1 1/2d., 45s. [sic. Total annual value from E 357/14, m.2: £58 19s.6d.]. William Brenchesle, knight, and his parceners [joint heirs] hold a quarter of a knight's fee in Frant by suit of court there. Thomas le Despenser died on 13 Jan. last. Richard his son and next heir was aged 3 years on 30 Nov. last. [Cf. CIM VII, no. 487 (1414)].

Further Reading

1.     Mary Ellis, "Using Manorial Records", PRO Readers' Guide no. 6, PRO Publications in association with the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, revised edition, London, 1997.
2.     P.D.A. Harvey, "Manorial Records", British Records Association, revised edition, Loughborough, 1999.
3.     John Richardson, "The Local Historian's Encyclopedia", Third Edition. Historical Publications Ltd., 2003.
4.     N. J. Hone, "The Manor and Manorial Records", Methuen, London, 1906.
5.     H. S. Bennett, "Life on the English Manor 1150-1400", Cambridge University Press, 1937.
6.     Denis Stuart, "Manorial Records: an introduction to their transcription and translation", Phillimore, 1992.
7.     Mark Bailey, "The English Manor c.1200-c.1500: selected sources", Manchester University Press, 2002.


© Geoffrey Barber 2015.

Margaret Barber alias Nynne

b. circa 1532, d. 1595
FatherJohn Barber alias Nynne b. c 1500, d. 1548
MotherJoan (?) b. c 1500, d. 1577
     Margaret Barber alias Nynne was born circa 1532 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England. She was the daughter of John Barber alias Nynne and Joan (?)
Margaret Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of John Barber alias Nynne dated 10 April 1589 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.1
Margaret Barber alias Nynne died in 1595 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.
Margaret Barber alias Nynne was buried on 26 March 1595 at St Denys, Rotherfield, Sussex, England.2

Citations

  1. [S112] Will of John Barber als Nynne of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 10 Apr 1589, proved in the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 25 May 1591. (ESRO: PBT 1/1/8/423D).
  2. [S443] Rotherfield St Denys, Burials and MIs, undated, Rotherfield, Sussex (http://www.stdenysrotherfield.org.uk/familyhistory.htm).

Mary Barber alias Nynne

b. 5 June 1562
FatherJohn Barber alias Nynne b. c 1530, d. 1591
MotherAlice Farmer b. c 1530, d. 1595
     Mary Barber alias Nynne was baptized on 5 June 1562 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England. She was the daughter of John Barber alias Nynne and Alice Farmer.
Mary Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of John Barber alias Nynne dated 10 April 1589 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.1

Citations

  1. [S112] Will of John Barber als Nynne of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 10 Apr 1589, proved in the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 25 May 1591. (ESRO: PBT 1/1/8/423D).

Mary Barber alias Nynne

b. 16 March 1588/89, d. circa 1590
FatherGeorge Barber alias Nynne b. c 1558, d. 1627
MotherElizabeth Godsell b. 21 Dec 1561, d. 1638
     Mary Barber alias Nynne was baptized on 16 March 1588/89 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.1 She was the daughter of George Barber alias Nynne and Elizabeth Godsell.
Mary Barber alias Nynne died circa 1590 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.

Citations

  1. [S103] Transcript of the Parish Register of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, (ESRO: PAR 465/1/1/1).

Mary Barber alias Nynne

b. 18 April 1591, d. 1594
FatherGeorge Barber alias Nynne b. c 1558, d. 1627
MotherElizabeth Godsell b. 21 Dec 1561, d. 1638
     Mary Barber alias Nynne was baptized on 18 April 1591 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.1 She was the daughter of George Barber alias Nynne and Elizabeth Godsell.
Mary Barber alias Nynne died in 1594 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.
Mary Barber alias Nynne was buried on 1 September 1594 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England, "Mary Nynne, d. of George."2

Citations

  1. [S103] Transcript of the Parish Register of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, (ESRO: PAR 465/1/1/1).
  2. [S443] Rotherfield St Denys, Burials and MIs, undated, Rotherfield, Sussex (http://www.stdenysrotherfield.org.uk/familyhistory.htm).

Mary Barber alias Nynne

b. 29 March 1598, d. 1633
FatherGeorge Barber alias Nynne b. c 1558, d. 1627
MotherElizabeth Godsell b. 21 Dec 1561, d. 1638
     Mary Barber alias Nynne was baptized on 29 March 1598 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England, surname recorded as Ninne.1 She was the daughter of George Barber alias Nynne and Elizabeth Godsell.
Mary Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of Henry Aderoll alias Skinner dated 6 July 1612 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.2
Mary Barber alias Nynne witnessed the will of George Barber alias Nynne dated 18 January 1617 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.3
Mary Barber alias Nynne died in 1633 at Rotherfield, Sussex, England.
Mary Barber alias Nynne was buried on 14 December 1633 at St Denys, Rotherfield, Sussex, England, recorded as Barber alias Nunne.4
Admon: 1635: Appeared personally Mr. William Aweret, notary public and procurator for John Barber als Nyn natural and legitimate brother of Mary Barber als Nyn late of Retherfield deceased and renounced administration of the goods and chattels of the said deceased .5

Citations

  1. [S103] Transcript of the Parish Register of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, (ESRO: PAR 465/1/1/1).
  2. [S361] Will of Henry Aderoll alias Skynner of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 6 Jul 1612, proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 2 Nov 1613. (TNA: PROB 11/122/389).
  3. [S113] Will of George Nynne als Barber of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, made 18 Jan 1617, proved in the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 26 May 1627. (ESRO: PBT/1/1/20/40A).
  4. [S443] Rotherfield St Denys, Burials and MIs, undated, Rotherfield, Sussex (http://www.stdenysrotherfield.org.uk/familyhistory.htm).
  5. [S362] Letters of administration of the estate of Mary Barber of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, granted by the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 1635 (ESRO: W/B6/219).

Origins of Nynne Barber alias Nynne

      The Origins of the Surname NYNNE (in southern England at least)

The use of "Nynne" in the surname (and its many variant spellings) was first encountered in a marriage licence dated 1672 between Thomas "Barber alias Nin" and Mary Rootes, both of Tonbridge. As the focus of my research turned to Rotherfield in Sussex I discovered a number of generations of families with the "Barber alias Nynne" surname.
Although Barber, Nynne and Barber alias Nynne have been used interchangeably throughout the records, the trend has been for Nynne to predominate in the early 1500's, then Nynne alias Barber going into the 1600s and then just Barber after the move to Kent. Interestingly, my 12xg grandfather was recorded as "John Nynd" when he was appointed a churchwarden at the end of 1531 and then "John Barber" in the first entry for the churchwarden's accounts for 1532, and then John Nynde in the same accounts later that year. If I was to speculate I would say that it seems like he knew his real surname was Barber but everyone else referred to him as Nynne, at least in their early years in Rotherfield. Perhaps that is why Barber won out in the end. Unfortunately I have not been able to discover why two surnames were used, although it was not an uncommon practice for those times. One possibility is that he (or someone in an earlier generation) had a wife whose maiden name was Nynne and because her family had higher status he was called by that name. A possible connection based on this line of thought is discussed at the end of this section. It could also have been because he was a child from a previous marriage and was known by his mother's previous married name (his true patrilineal surname) as well as her subsequent married name. Or he may have been illegitimate in which case there is a chance that neither Barber nor Nynne is the true patrilineal name.

Origin of Surnames in England

Although this is a complex subject the following points provide some useful background:

1. Kennett (2012) explains that surnames started to develop in Western Europe from the 11th century onwards. It began with the nobility and then spread to the rest of society so that by the 15th century fixed hereditary names (i.e. surnames) were common although they did emerge in different areas at different times, some much later.
2. Redmonds et al (2011) states that before the Norman Conquest no one in England possessed surnames and that it began with the Baron's wanting to identify with their estates in Normandy or their new lands in England. By the year 1200 most knights in southern England had surnames but it took much longer in the north. By 1250 the fashion for surnames spread among the ordinary folk, especially in southern England and East Anglia. The period 1300-1350 was a particularly formative time and by the early 15th century few English families were without a (hereditary) surname, although some continued to evolve. Most surnames today go back no earlier that the 14th century.
3. The adoption of surnames was driven by the increasing use of written records during the 12th - 14th centuries and the need for a more precise means of identification for such purposes as to prove ownership of land and property for inheritance and to identify debtors and creditors of various feudal dues and taxes. According to Reaney (1997) it was a process that was, in general, driven more by officials than the individual, although the actual choice of a surname appears to have been made more by neighbours (as would a nickname) than by clerks. Eventually everyone came to accept that a surname was a normal requirement of society.
4. Of relevance to the Nynne surname is the work by Redmonds et al which show that uncommon surnames often have just one origin, suggesting a common ancestor.
The approach to the study of surnames has changed fundamentally in recent years due to the computerisation of historic surname data (e.g. census returns, hearth tax, subsidy rolls, church records, registrations of births, marriages and deaths), better analytical tools (geographical information systems) and cheaper DNA analysis. In the early 20th century the approach was based on finding the earliest occurrence of a particular surname and then looking for the meaning of the name through an understanding of old languages and place names. The availability of better tools now enables this work to be conducted in greater detail by identifying the geographical concentrations of a particular surname and then studying how it evolved by using individual family histories (genealogy) and DNA.1,2,3

The Use of an Alias

The use of an alias was very common and was used to connect the different names of a person in order to be more precise about their identity, especially in the written records. A person may acquire different names due to remarriage in the family, illegitimacy or for simply being given a name by others (e.g. a nickname). There are a number of situations which can give rise to the use of an alias. Some examples are:
1. A man marrying an heiress or socially superior woman and adopting her family's surname to gain advantage;
2. An illegitimate child might be known by two surnames - his mother's maiden name (under which he was born) and her married name (i.e. his step-father's name);
3. A person may want to clarify entitlement to property recorded in the manorial rolls under another name. His current surname may be different due to family re-marriage.
4. Two or more people with the same name in the village and other villagers giving them a nickname based on where they lived or even their appearance.
In all the above cases the use of an alias served to better identify that person. Its use diminished over time and became obsolete by the mid 19th century. By the 20th century it became associated with fraudulent activity (i.e. by people wanting to disguise their real identity) and had negative connotations. This was certainly not the case in earlier times.
It is not known when the Barber alias Nynne surname was first used but it was at least from 1530 in Rotherfield in Sussex. John was recorded as both John Nynne and John Barber between 1530-32 and as John Nynde when he was buried in 1548. His widow was buried as Joan Nynne alias Barber in 1577. His son John's children were baptised as Nynne but their children were baptised Nynne alias Barber and by 1640 the children are baptised just Barber. We can therefore make the following observations: firstly, that the use of the alias persisted for four generations while the family lived in Rotherfield suggesting it was important; secondly, that it was usually written "Nynne alias Barber" (i.e. Nynne first) in the 16th century; and thirdly, that Barber won out in the end. Could this suggest that his legal name was Barber but that he grew up in a Nynne household? This would occur if he was born illegitimate where the mother's maiden name was Barber and she subsequently married a Nynne, or if he was born as a result of his mother's first marriage to a Barber and who, upon being widowed, later married a Nynne. Another scenario would be that the mother's maiden name was Nynne and she married a Barber but they used both surnames because Nynne was better known or had higher status.
In 1672 the family had moved to Tonbridge, but it was still important for Thomas Barber to state his name as "Barber alias Nin" [sic] on his marriage licence, probably because he had inherited property in Rotherfield which was held under that name in the manorial records. The sale of his parent's cottage in Rotherfield village in 1677 is the last known instance of its use. Living in Tonbridge, Thomas used only the surname Barber on his children's baptisms and the surname Nynne never appears again.

The Surname Nynne

The surname Nynne is quite rare, particularly in Sussex, although it does appear to become more common in Kent as one goes back into early manorial records (13th-15th centuries) where the surnames "atte Nynne", "de la Nynne" and "Nynne" appear in various documents. It is even rarer in the combination "Nynne alias Barber" (or vice versa) as this is found in only two parishes in Sussex: Rotherfield (primarily) and nearby Ticehurst. I would suggest that anyone with this surname in Sussex is on the same family tree.
A starting point in determining the origin of a surname is to look at its distribution across Britain. This information is available for the 1881 census and the distribution map for the 32 occurrences of Nynne, Nynn, Ninn and Nin is shown here.
The map clearly shows the name to be rare, possibly even close to extinction, and probably a single origin surname. The highest concentration was in Ashford, Kent where there were 14 occurrences (all spelt Ninn). The next highest was 5 occurrences in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire (all spelt Nynne) and 3 in Newcastle Upon Tyne (all spelt Nynn).
The author conducted a survey of the occurrence of the surname Nynne (and variants) in the on-line catalogue of documents held by The National Archives in England between c1250 and 1500 and found the name occurred mostly in the in the Kent parishes of Egerton and, in particular, Great Chart suggesting that this could be where the surname originated. Both of these parishes are within the Ashford area mentioned above.
The subsidy rolls (lists of taxpayers) provide valuable data for surname distribution studies although they do not include everyone, only the taxpayers. The Kent Lay Subsidy Roll of 1334/5 has only one occurrence of the Nynne surname and that is William atte Nynne in the Hundred of [Great] Chart who paid 4s/0¾d. This was a tax based on the value of moveable goods (one fifteenth for rural areas and one tenth for urban areas) with the poorest inhabitants exempt.4
One of the earliest occurrences of the name is in April 1259, also at Great Chart in Kent, where a Simon atte Nynne is one of a number of witnesses on a document concerning an annual payment made at the manorial court. The names of some of the other witnesses are interesting in the context of surname study: Thomas the smith, William of Upton, Henry son of Matthew, Benjamin the bedel. Some of these names may have evolved into hereditary surnames and others not. For example Thomas "the smith" may not have been a hereditary name at this stage and may simply be a descriptor reflecting his occupation, in which case the name "smith" would be termed a byname. It is only called a surname when it is shown to have become hereditary and passed from father to son. We can be sure though that "atte Nynne" was indeed a surname in 1259 as the name occurs thereafter in Great Chart and so had become hereditary. This would mean that Nynne became a surname fairly early and is therefore older than most which, according to Redmonds et al, only date back to the 14th century.5
Further investigation of the area around Great Chart reveals the likely connection to a local place name, Ninne House manor. The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Volume 7, by Edward Hasted published in 1798 mentions this manor in Great Chart:
NINNEHOUSE is a manor, situated on the northern side of the quarry-hill, not far from the river Stour, which was antiently [anciently] the residence of John at Nin, whose figure, in armour, was with those of other eminent men formerly in the north window of the north chancel of this church; in whose descendants it continued till the reign of Henry VI. when it was alienated to Sharpe; one of whom, William Sharpe, of this place, died possessed of it in 1499, and lies buried in the middle isle of this church, with his five wives, as does his descendant William Sharpe the elder, who died in 1583.
The location of Ninn(e) House is shown here.
A Ninn farm and Ninn Lane survive there today but unfortunately the lead light windows in the church are long gone, possibly removed during the time of Oliver Cromwell in the mid 1600's.
Following the publication of an article I wrote for the Sussex Family Historian a member of the Sussex Family History Group gave this explanation for the surname Nynne.6
The online A2A section of the National Archives holds all the clues you need to unlock the story of the name. You've already quoted one significant clue in your article - the name 'de la Nynne'. Nynne clearly falls into the group of surnames which derive from a place or specific location. If you search further in the above records you'll find that the name in Great Chart also appears as 'de la hinne', 'de la Inne' and 'atten Inne' in the mid to late 1200's. A reputable Middle English dictionary (or similar online info) will reveal that hinne, hin, ynne, ine and inne all meant the same thing in medieval times - a lodging house or rooms for guests (i.e. an inn). The word 'inn' also existed in Saxon times and has never changed. When 'atten' is placed in front of a locative name beginning with a vowel such as 'inne', you'll find that when spoken out loud the last letter of 'atten' transfers across. Try this yourself and see! Any words which were not in Latin were written down phonetically at this time, so the clerks wrote down exactly what they heard - which was ninne. This also happened to other locative words which became surnames, such as ash and oak. 'Atten' gradually became atte, resulting in the name 'atte Nynne' or 'atte Ninne', masking its original form entirely. The records in A2A chart every step of this interesting process. Only once the surname had become fixed and hereditary (this happened at different times in different areas) would 'de la' and 'atte' have been dropped, leaving just Nynne, Ninne, Nin, Nenne etc. Ninnehouse simply meant the inn house at Great Chart manor. You may know that Great Chart (owned by Christchurch Priory, Canterbury) was just one of numerous manors the priory held in Kent. There were others elsewhere. Inns became increasingly common in 12th and 13th century England and because manors were more important than villages, these would have been the location for the earliest inns. Ninnehouse would have been one of several farms on Great Chart manor and the one which specifically provided food and overnight accommodation for visitors, travellers and pilgrims and stabling for their horses. A John atte Nynne does appear in the archives, as a witness to a grant. You will find him in 1349 in the A2A records. Hasted's record (copied from elsewhere) saying that John was depicted in armour should be taken with a pinch of salt I think. There are no records of any knight with the name of Nynne or Ninne.
The surname Nynne would therefore be categorised as a locative surname being derived from a place-name. It is likely to be a single origin name (at least in southern England) meaning it would go back to just one ancestor who was the first to start using Nynne as a surname. Given its early occurrence as a surname (at least c1250) we could also speculate that the person of origin is more likely to be someone with a hereditary connection to the manor/farm rather than someone who just worked there, as otherwise the name would probably have been used just as a byname.
The surname Barber, on the other hand, is clearly an occupational, multi-origin surname and the Oxford "A Dictionary of English Surnames" (1997) states that the barber was formerly a regular practitioner in surgery and dentistry. This would have included bone setting, bloodletting and leeching, fire cupping, enemas, and the extraction of teeth; earning them the name "barber surgeons".
The surname Nynne has been spelt various ways (i.e. has many variants) - Nynne, Nyne, Ninne, Nynde, Nynder, Nynd, Nin, Ninn and Nyn with the most common spelling being Nynne prior to c1600. From 1700 onwards, the name is spelt Ninn in Kent. A list of Ninn births in England between 1950 and 2006 contains just nine names, eight in Kent and one in Sussex, highlighting the rarity of the name today. Interestingly, five of these are in Ashford, Kent which is adjacent to Great Chart, the likely ancestral home of the name.
The surname would have almost certainly been pronounced "Ninn". In Kent, the surname was most commonly spelt "Nynne" up to about c1600 and then "Ninn". This is just a peculiarity of spelling of those times, where "i" was usually replaced by "y" and often an "e" put on the end to confirm the pronunciation as "ninn" and not "nine" or "ninny".
At present it is not known where John and Joan, the first Barber alias Nynnes in Rotherfield, were born or married. They appear in the manorial records in 1530 and there is no mention of either Barber or Nynne before then. The burial of a Robert Nynder [sic] on 1 Nov 1548 in Rotherfield is of interest as although there is no information to place him in any family, he could be a son of John and Joan, or a brother of either, or even an uncle or father. This is potentially significant because of a relationship between a Robert Nynne and the Nevill(e) family in Kent. The Neville family became lords of Rotherfield manor as a consequence of a marriage in 1450 and it remains with them to this day. In 1542 Thomas Neville, brother of the then Lord Bergavenny (lord of Rotherfield manor) and a lawyer and Speaker of the House of Commons, died at Mereworth castle, Kent and his will leaves bequests to his servants among who is a Robert Nynne who also acted as an executor of the will. Robert Nynne also appears as a witness in the will of John Godden of nearby Ryarsh in 1546 and was described as a yeoman of Maidstone in 1537. It is possible that John and Joan were linked to the family of this Robert Nynne who obviously had significant status in the Neville family. This could explain why the surname Nynne was favoured in the 16th century in Rotherfield if, for example, a daughter of the Nynne family married a Barber.7,8,9

© Geoffrey Barber 2015.

Citations

  1. [S561] T. King & D. Hey G. Redmonds, "Surnames, DNA & Family History", Oxford University Press, First Edition (2011) unknown isbn "pp. 2,3, 56,57."
  2. [S562] P.H. Reaney (Revised R.M. Wilson), "A Dictionary of English Surnames", Oxford University Press, unknown edition (1997) "pp. xiv-xlvi."
  3. [S563] Debbie Kennett, "The Surnames Handbook", The History Press, First Edition (2012) unknown isbn.
  4. [S564] Ed. H.A. Hanley and C.W. Chalklin ed. "Kent Lay Subsidy Roll of 1334/35", Kent Archaeological Society, unknown edition (2008).
  5. [S565] Court books of the manor of Great Chart in Kent, England, April 1259 (CCA-DCc-ChAnt/C/322).
  6. [S566] S. Paskins ed. "Sussex Family Historian", Sussex Family History Group, Vol 20 No 3 (September 2012) "Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 101-106."
  7. [S567] L.L. Duncan ed. "Medieval & Tudor Kent P.C.C. Wills", n.pub., unknown edition (unknown publish date) "Book 15, p. 551."
  8. [S568] Will of Sir Thomas Neville of Kent, England, made 23 May 1542, proved in the Prerogrative Court of Canterbury, 23 Oct 1542. (TNA: PROB 11/29, ff. 82-3).
  9. [S569] Will of John Godden of Ryarsh, Kent, England, made 26 Jul 1546, proved in the Consistory court of Rochester, 5 Oct 1546. (unknown document ref).

Publications Barber alias Nynne

     
History of the Old House, (Originally Marden’s Farm), in Hildenborough, Kent. (2014.)

Barber alias Nynne - Five Hundred Years of Family History in Rotherfield, Tonbridge and Brighton. (2015).
See main page on how to purchase this book.

George Meek's Grandfather. (2016.)

Great-Grandmother’s Secrets Revealed! (2015.)

Richard Barber alias Nynne

b. circa 1540, d. 1603
FatherJohn Barber alias Nynne b. c 1500, d. 1548
MotherJoan (?) b. c 1500, d. 1577
     Richard Barber alias Nynne was born circa 1540 at England. He was the son of John Barber alias Nynne and Joan (?)
A baptism for Richard Nynne alias Barber has not been found. He first appears in Ticehurst on 25 Aug 1577 when his son Thomas is baptised. The connection to the Nynne alias Barber family in Rotherfield is highly likely, although it is pure speculation to identify his parents as John and Joan Nynne alias Barber. However, the name is so unique that there has to be a connection, and he has been placed here for convenience for now (GGB). The fact that he does not appear in the will of John Nynne alias Barber (c1530-1591) at Rotherfield would indicate that he is not his son but more likely to be his brother or cousin.
Richard Barber alias Nynne married Joan (?) circa 1575 at England.
Richard was obviously a respected member of the community in Ticehurst as he appears as a juror in a coroners' inquest on 3 Oct 1584 at Etchingham where the case concerned John Sovage of Ticehurst, who had hanged himself.1
Richard Barber alias Nynne died in 1603 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.
Richard Barber alias Nynne was buried on 20 April 1603 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.2
His estate was probated on 5 May 1603 at Archdeaconry of Lewes, Sussex, England.3
5 May 1603 – admon of the goods of Richard Nyn late of Tiseherst, deceased, granted to Johanne, his relict, in the person of Robert Oteingham, notary public and procurator. Bonds William Nyn of Tiseherst, ‘paylemaker’, and Christopher Fowle of the same parish, husbandman, in £30. Inventory examined, value £15 15s 2d.
(East Sussex Record Office, XA 26/4.)
There are baptisms for two of Richard’s sons in the Ticehurst registers: Thomas (25 August 1577) and John (11 Oct 1584). Both were buried in 1584. The above grant of administration suggests that there is at least one surviving son, William, whose baptism has not been found. The burial entry for Richard's wife Joan on 24 May 1620 supports this by stating that she is "mother of William". There are also burials in Ticehurst of Silvester Barber alias Nynn on 20 November 1608 and Richard Barber alias Nynn on 19 March 1610 who could also be children of Richard and Joan.
Their son William married Elizabeth Fuller at Ticehurst on 21 August 1609 and the Ticehurst parish registers record the following baptisms of William's children: Susan (bap. 1611, bur. 1611), Ann (bap. 1615), Richard (bap. 1622, bur. 1631). The entry in the burial register for Richard in 1631 states that he is the son of William Barber alias Nynn and this is the last reference to the Nynn surname in Ticehurst. There is also a marriage in Ticehurst on 4 February 1638/39 of a Thomas Barber and Joan Primer and this Thomas is another son of William and Elizabeth (baptised at Burwash on 15 April 1610, "son of William Barber of Tishurst"). William was buried in Ticehurst on 13 January 1625 and the Barber surname does carry through the Ticehurst parish registers into the 1700’s.
Prior to the earliest Richard, the only Barber in Ticehurst is a Jhon (John) Barber, gent, and his wife Elizabeth who first get mentioned with the baptism of their son Wyllm (William) on 30 Aug 1562. Wyllm and Elizabeth are both buried in 1562. There are some Sussex Archaeological Society deeds relating to this family, and a brief inspection indicated that no males survived, that the name Nynne was never mentioned, that there were a number of daughters, and that a daughter Frances Barber was the main beneficiary.

Family

Joan (?) d. 1620
Marriage*
Richard Barber alias Nynne married Joan (?) circa 1575 at England
Children

Citations

  1. [S280] R F Hunnisett, "Sussex Coroners' Inquests 1558-1603", PRO Publications, First Edition (1996) "Inquest No 311, p70."
  2. [S25] Index to Sussex Burials, 1538 onwards, compiled by Sussex Family History Group, http://www.sfhg.org.uk/, ongoing project,.
  3. [S130] Letters of administration of the estate of Richard Nyn of Ticehurst, Sussex, England, granted by the Archdeaconry court of Lewes, 5 May 1603 (ESRO: PBT 1/3/3/17F).

Richard Barber alias Nynne

b. circa 1581, d. 1610
FatherRichard Barber alias Nynne b. c 1540, d. 1603
MotherJoan (?) d. 1620
     Richard Barber alias Nynne was baptized circa 1581 at England. He was the son of Richard Barber alias Nynne and Joan (?)
Richard Barber alias Nynne died in 1610 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.
Richard Barber alias Nynne was buried on 9 March 1610 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.1

Citations

  1. [S25] Index to Sussex Burials, 1538 onwards, compiled by Sussex Family History Group, http://www.sfhg.org.uk/, ongoing project,.

Richard Barber alias Nynne

b. 8 September 1622, d. 1631
FatherWilliam Barber alias Nynne b. c 1580, d. 1625
MotherElizabeth Fuller d. 1624
     Richard Barber alias Nynne was baptized on 8 September 1622 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.1 He was the son of William Barber alias Nynne and Elizabeth Fuller.
Richard Barber alias Nynne died in 1631 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England.
Richard Barber alias Nynne was buried on 8 February 1630/31 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England, "son of William als Nynn."2,3

Citations

  1. [S23] Index to Sussex Baptisms, 1538 onwards, compiled by Sussex Family History Group, http://www.sfhg.org.uk/, ongoing project,.
  2. [S25] Index to Sussex Burials, 1538 onwards, compiled by Sussex Family History Group, http://www.sfhg.org.uk/, ongoing project,.
  3. [S388] Website "FamilySearch" (http://www.familysearch.org/) "GS Film number: 001894292, Digital Folder Number: 004427686."