Fourth English Generation




even Exeter



E16.  WILLIAM SYDNOR JR  (William Sydnor,1 probably ____ Sydnor,2 William Sydnor Sr3), born after 1466,[1] died in late 1514 or early 1515 probably in the City of London and probably buried in Blackfriars at Ludgate in London  in accordance with instructions given in his will dated 29 October [1514?] and probated on 26 February 1514/5.[2]  He willed three shillings* and four pence* "to the high altar of my parish church[3] of St Petrock  [Patryk] in Exeter in Devon."

          Married (1) probably[4] circa 1490? unknown.

          Married (2) circa 1500? Joan [Jane?, Joane[5]] ____) , born circa 1470?,[6] living 1514 when her husband's will was written and possibly died before February 1515.[7]  William willed her two houses: "the place that she dwelleth in" and the "house in North [Norgate] Street , the sign of the crown,[8] valued at twenty-six shillings* and eight pence* a year, for life, remainder to our children."  By 1522, Joan had died, remarried, or sold her home in St Petrock parish, for she did not appear in the tax rolls of that year.[9]  William Jr appeared to trust the judgment and sentiment of his wife Joan in that he trusted her as his executor, a position that not all husbands allowed to their spouses.  In his will, his wife Joan was given "the place that she dwelleth in" (other than the place in Exeter) which perhaps indicated that she was not with him in London.

                William received the principal messuage*, unnamed but possibly Elmhurst , in Egerton and Boughton Malherbe, from his father's estate.[10]  William also probably acquired other lands at Egerton and Boughton Malherbe[11] [Bowton and Bocton] in Kent during his lifetime.  His will showed him to be a person of some wealth beyond his inheritance.

            On 10 March 1511/2 at a hearing in the parish of Boughton Malherbe in Kent, the chancellor* for the diocese of Canterbury heard evidence from Thomas Humphrey  that one and a half pence* for property he and his father had once held in the parish of Boughton Malherbe was then due from William Sydnor [Sednor] of the diocese of Chichester  in Sussex.[12] 

            William purchased his freedom* in Exeter on 10 May 1512 at a fine of £2, the most money paid in the purchase of freedom*[13] in that city during that period.[14] 

            During his final months of life as he approached age fifty, William appeared to be settled in London.[15]

            In his will, William bequeathed the considerable sum of £10 sterling to "my brother Sir Thomas Sydnor  [Egerton], canon* of Leeds priory in Kent.

Children (by his probable first wife):[16]

              E39.        RICHARD , born circa 1490.[17]  Richard was bequeathed, after an annuity to his brother Thomas, the family lands in Egerton  and Boughton Malherbe.  No will of record for Richard has been found.[18]  It appeared that Richard's portion fell to Paul who traded the family interest in lands here for other properties in Kent and Suffolk.

              E40.        ELIZABETH , born circa 1495?; unmarried in 1514 when she was bequeathed £40 by her father.

              E41.        KATHERINE [KATHRYN] , born circa 1495?; unmarried in 1514 when she was bequeathed £40 by her father.

Children (by his second wife):

              E42.        THOMAS , born circa 1500?, living in 1515 when he was named in his father's will; probably unmarried.  Thomas was bequeathed an annuity of five marks* per year by his father from lands in Egerton  and Boughton Malherbe after his mother's death.

             E43.        PAUL , born January 1506/7, died 16 December 1551; married circa 1530 Alice Jenour .


E19.    MARGARET SYDNOR  (William Sydnor,1 probably ____ Sydnor,2 William Sydnor Sr3), born circa 1470?, living 20 March 1523/4.[19]  Margaret did not leave a will of record.

          Married circa 1500? Roger Swethrynden  [Surrenden, Swetherynden, Southernden,[20] yeoman*,[21] of Boughton Malherbe , will dated 20 March 1523/4 and probated 2 June 1524,[22] son of Henry  (1445?-1496[23]) and Florence  (1445?-1496[24]) Swethrynden of Boughton Malherbe .

          Roger, at the time of his marriage to Margaret Sydnor probably for jointure*, had promised to leave his wife £10 in moveables.  His will satisfied that pledge.  This promise he kept by giving her his "new house that standeth by the park of Boughton [Malherbe]," together with other lands.  At the time of drafting his will, he held lands in the parishes of Boughton Malherbe  and Headcorn.


              E44.        RICHARD , born 1515,[26]

              E45.        Katherine , born by 1515. living 1524.[27]

              E46.        Margaret , born by 1515, living 1524.[28]

              E47.        Child , born by 1515, died by 1524.[29]



E23.    WILLIAM SYDNOR SR  (William Sydnor,1 probably ____ Sydnor,2 John Sydnor Sr3), born circa 1475?,[30] living 1504 when his father's will was written; of Lynsted  in Kent.

          Married circa 1500? unknown.

            William shared in his father's messuage* and lands at Lynsted  in Kent, together with his brother Richard.


              E48.        possibly[32] WILLIAM JR , born circa 1510?, will dated 8 June 1562 and probated 26 June 1562;[33] possibly unmarried.[34]  He was of Otham  in Kent. He was a yeoman*.[35]

                                  No Sydnor heirs were shown in his will.  He used Richard Cally  as his executor.[36]  Thomas Hendley  was a witness to William’s will, as well as appearing in a position of trust in will of Walter.[37]

                                  In his will, William left modest bequests to Henry Woden , John Stock , Thomas Green , Thomas Rodes , Thomas Shell , William Gilbert , William Webb , and the children of William Elliott .  He left 6£ to Alice Savage alias* Dyer  for her marriage.[38]  He left his messuage* and orchard  to Thomas Boycott , with forty shillings* owing to William Boycott  of Chart parish .[39]

+            E49.        possibly[40] WALTER , born circa 1510?, will dated 24 September 1562 and probated 19 February 1562/3; married circa 1535? Clemence ____ .



[1]                  This birth year was estimated because William Jr was a minor, probably less than eighteen, when his father's will was written in 1483.

[2]                  The will of William Sydnor Jr was found at Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Holder f.4.  See Appendix.

[3]                  This reference to “my parish church . . . in Exeter” was interesting, because William was living in London and expected to be buried there.  Perhaps a business or real estate venture provided by his son Richard who was an archdeacon there, perhaps an advantageous marriage arranged by that Richard had brought William to reside in Devon so far from Kent and London, and his presence in London at the time of his death was just a visit.

[4]                  In his will, William bequeathed the house in Exeter "afterward to my children, the which be lawfully begotten between the said Joan my wife and me."  Thus he and Joan had more than one child by their marriage.  Although it was not uncommon to refer to children as "lawfully begotten," the fact that he carefully noted Joan as his present wife in the bequest suggested that some of his other children were from a previous marriage or even marriages.

               Later in the same document, William referred to Thomas as "my son by Joan my wife."  Since William thus appeared to deliberately separate Thomas from his older siblings, it was probable that the older children were by a previous marriage.  Paul was younger than Thomas because he was the only one for whom provisions of wardship were made.  Also Paul was listed last in the order of the will.

               Unless Joan, his then-present wife, was from Exeter, it was curious that William would have bequeathed her the residence in Exeter, a place so far from Kent.

[5]                  Joanna and Johanna were the Latin forms of Jean, Jane, and Joan.  In this case, both William Sydnor's will and Joan's father's will gave the name as Joane.

[6]                  Joan’s age was estimated as slightly less than William.

[7]                  Joan was not shown in the probate of William's will for which she had been named executor along with William Jr's brother Richard.  It was possible that she shortly followed her husband in death. 

               No will for Joan was found, and that was surprising since she appeared to hold interests in property in several dioceses and since her husband  appeared to be trained in law.  Perhaps she remarried, perhaps she did not survive her husband long enough, or perhaps she disposed of her interests and relied on the goodwill of her children for her care.

[8]                  The modern street name has been simplified to North Street.  The expression, "sign of the crown," probably reflected the practice by owners of houses in towns and cities to use signs with pictures to distinguish their houses, since houses were unnumbered. 

[9]                  There were two widows with other surnames with given name Johane (thus Jean, Joan, or Jane) found in the rolls for St Petrock parish.  See Tudor Exeter Tax Assessments, 1489-1595, (Devon and Cornwall Record Society), v.22, pp.9-10.

[10]                 These lands inherited from his father have helped identify the descent of the family.  It was possible that William derived this Sydnor property from another branch of Sydnors.

[11]                 This was almost certainly Boughton Malherbe where he had inherited property from his father.

[12]                 See Kentish Visitations of Archbishop William Warham and his Deputies, 1511-1512, (Kent Archaeological Society, ed. K. L. Wood-Legh), v.24 (1984), pp.211-212. 

Because another diocese was involved, the chancellor* was obliged to refer the matter to the archbishop of Canterbury.

This was the strongest evidence that any Sydnor may have resided in Sussex.

[13]                 Freedom was the right to participate in the privileges attached to membership in (1) a company or trade or (2) citizenship in a town or city.  The word citizen [cives] which occurred in the charters of English cities became synonymous with freemen.  Admission of new citizens to the freedom occurred through apprenticeship in the guilds, by purchase, or by inheritance.  Beyond the general exemption from tolls throughout the country conferred by the city charters, freemen enjoyed an absolute monopoly of trade in certain articles and of retail trade in others.  They had a complete monopoly of retail selling, with little exception.  Guild members were freemen.  Only the freemen could vote. 

[14]                 See Exeter Freemen, 1266-1967, ed. Margery M. Rowe and Andrew M. Jackson, (Devon and Cornwall Record Society, Extra Series I, 1973), p.66. 

               It seems unusual that he chose to become a freeman* in Exeter at the age of forty-five.  From that purchase of freedom, one might surmise William had a particular financial reason or interest in the area which required that membership, perhaps as a result of an estate or financial opportunity derived from his brother's service with the diocese of Exeter.

[15]                 The reason for residence in London is not clear from the records; perhaps with a final illness, perhaps involved in law, or perhaps involved in some business venture.

[16]                 All these children were shown in his will.

[17]                 Richard was named the eldest son in his father's will and no provision was made for his minority.  This indicated that he was probably twenty-one years of age or more when the will was drafted in 1514.

[18]                 This lack of a will or testament for an eldest son would have been unusual, unless it were that Richard did not survive the probate of his father's will or that he had no immediate family and disposed of property before his death.

[19]                 Margaret was a beneficiary in the will of her brother William Sydnor Jr [E16].

[20]                 Roger was mentioned in the will of his wife's brother William Sydnor Jr [E16].  Roger also gave his wife's name as Margaret in his own will.  Roger was also mentioned in the wills of his mother and father. 

               The name of the nearby village called Southerden evolved from Swethrynden, with many spelling variants along the way. 

[21]                 A yeoman was a free tenant, usually a prominent farmer, a holder of a small landed estate, who worked with his hands and thereby who could not be termed a gentleman.  He was a freeholder under the rank of gentleman, hence a commoner or countryman of respectable standing, especially one who cultivated one's own land.

[22]                 The will of Roger Swethrynden was found at Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury, Probate Record 17, v.15, f.253v.  See Appendix. 

               The years of the date of the will and of probate in the copy were given as 1523.  The date when the will was made has been assumed to be in error, perhaps because of the proximity of the new year.  There were no further wills or genealogies to show clearly the further descent of this line.

               The family name was likely taken from the nearby parish of Surrenden in this section of Kent.

[23]                 The will of Henry Swethrynden was found at Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury, Probate Record 17, v.6, f.206.  See Appendix. 

[24]                 The will of Florence Swethrynden was found at Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury, Probate Record 17, v.6, f.205.  See Appendix.

[25]                 Three children were named in the wills.  Margaret's brother William Sydnor Jr [E16] noted in his will of 1515 that his sister had four children and in his will gave ten shillings* to each.  More Swetherynden information?

[26]                 Richard was shown as eight years old when his father's will was written.

[27]                 Katherine was mentioned in her father's will.

[28]                 Margaret was mentioned in her father's will.

[29]                 This child was not mentioned in its father's will, but William Sydnor Jr [E16] mentioned four children for his sister Margaret in his will..

[30]                 This date was estimated from his age at the time his father's will was written.

[31]             These possible children were both of Otham, which suggested probably a common father.  In addition both not only used the same priest but   William Sr could have used his share of inheritance to start his adult endeavors in the Leeds and Otham parishes. 

               Another possibility for placing these children was Stephen Sydnor [E5] who was from Leeds may have had an undiscovered son who was responsible for these children.  Otham is next to Leeds and close to Egerton, sites of other Sydnors.

[32]                 The common first name with his possible father was a factor in his listing here.  It was possible that William Jr was a son of another Sydnor, but it was very probable that he was the brother of Walter [E49].

[33]             The will of William Sydnor Jr was found at Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury, Probate Records 17, v.36, f.15.  See Appendix.

[34]                 If this William Sydnor Jr had a wife or children, they probably had predeceased him.  None were mentioned in his will.

[35]                 Yeoman was a free tenant, usually a prominent farmer who worked with his hands and thereby who could not be termed a gentleman*; a freeholder under the rank of gentleman*, hence a commoner or countryman of respectable standing, especially one who cultivated one's own land.

[36]                 The relationship of William and his brother Walter with Richard Cally was not found.  Check Cally information.

[37]                 The Hendley surname appeared again when a Elizabeth Hendley married George Fane who was the executor of the will for Paul Sydnor [E43].  Check Hendley information.

[38]                 The £6 given to Alice in his will was a significant sum in its day, however the relationship was not found.  Check Alice Savage alias Dyer information.

[39]                 The obligation by William to the Boycotts was not found.  Check Boycott information.

[40]                 Walter was only linked with this possible father because it was very probable that he was the brother of William Jr [E48] who in turn had some claim to this paternity.