Peter Brown Family History

John Howes - Early Payne family of Sussex - Part Four


In the three previous articles in this series I have described how the Payne Family of Mid Sussex developed in the Twineham/Hickstead area then spread to adjacent parishes in Lindfield, Ardingly, West Hoathly, Horsted Keynes, Balcombe and East Grinstead. More than one branch of this family resided in East Grinstead during the 16th century. The connection to Twineham is less obvious initially but as I deal with the first group referred to initially as the Paynes of Pyckstone, their relationship to the earlier Paynes becomes evident in a marriage of distant Payne cousins in 1583.

In this article I will deal with the Paynes of Pyckstone and their probable relative the Paynes of Plawhatch. I have also taken this opportunity to mention the Payne family of Petworth even though I have been unable to fit them to the rest of the family.

Pyckstones (now called Pixton Hill)

The earliest record for this branch is a feet of fines record in 1488 (3 Henry VII) between Robert and John Payne the younger vs. Thomas and Margaret Alfrey. In part 1 of these articles I proposed that Robert could be a son of Richard of Twineham. Robert would have been born around 1440 or perhaps earlier, so would have been of the right age. In 1583 Robert’s great great grandson Edward married Anne Payne of Twineham who was referred to as a cousin. Anne was the 3x great granddaughter of Richard of Twineham making Edward and Anne 5th cousins.

Confusingly Robert had two sons named John who were both living at the same time. The reason he had two of the same name is unknown but may reflect sons of different mothers. By the start of the 16th century Robert was dead and his son John Payne the elder was occupying Pyckstones a farm located just north of Forest Row and southeast of Ashurst Wood. John Payne senior’s will was proved on 9 Oct 1508 and he first left Pyckstone to wife Elizabeth who was charged to hold it for the eldest surviving son who turned out to be John, born around 1495. This son John occupied lands in the manor of Shovelstrode called Brokelands and Birchfeld.  In the 1508 will John gave a farm called Shoberys to his brother John Payne the younger and to the son of John Payne the younger he gave a tenement called Beeches at Ashurstwood. Pyckstones remained in the Payne family until 1615 when a descendent, also named John Payne, sold it to the Goodwin family. This John may have remained as a tenant for at his burial in 1633 he was still referred to as John Payne of Pyckstones.

John Payne the younger was 50 in 1533 when he appeared as a witness at the Star Chamber as John Payne of Walehill. He continued to farm in the Forest Row area but none of his descendents became prominent. His lineage can be followed on Peter Brown’s website (

John Payne son of John Payne Senior (c1495-1558).In 1532 William Tomson granted the land at Lower Gibbs Farm to John Payne in East Grinstead, Sussex. The Felbridge History group has this as John of Brambletye but later documents indicate that it is more likely to be John of Pyckstones. On 20th May 1538, John Payne granted [Lower] Gibbes to Michael Egerton and the land then descended to his son Thomas Egerton. This property was part of the Manor of Walsted other parts of which as we have seen was also farmed by the Payne family in Lindfield (Felbridge and District History Group). In 1541 William Chalfroft, John Payne and John Myles are paid to enclose the land called Mylwoode (ESRO SAS/G43/87) Then in November 1542, John Payne who held Gybbes at fenne, sold six acres being part of Gybbes at fenne to John Jewell de Lymsfield. These six acres probably refer to the property formerly known as Honey’s alias Cuhling Croft (later known as Little Gibbshaven). Twenty years later in 1562, the Court Book for the manor of Hedgecourt records John Bysshe paying rent for Gibbs Att ffen, containing twenty acres at that date, but unfortunately it has not yet been possible to determine when John Bysshe succeeded John Payne at Gibbs Att fen. (Felbridge and District History Group).

George Payne (c1505-1538). George the son of John Payne senior died young and his will was proved on 7 Nov 1538. All his freehold lands went to his son John including his farm at Burstow Park in Surrey which he had probably inherited from his brother, John Payne who had been a witness and executor to the will of Robert Burstow in 1516. George also left bequests to his son Edward.

John Payne (c1532- 1579/80). John was born around 1532 and married Margaret Mabbe from Hamsey. John left a 'Will' dated 12th December 1579 and he died on 19th January 1579/80. He was buried on 20th January 1580 in East Grinstead, Sussex ('of ye Towne'). John Payne was a burgess of the town at that time, and his properties included the tenement at "Smythes fforge (or Smythes Fourth) which his father George had acquired on 28 Jan 1535 in a grant from Roger Aven of Worth(SAS/G43/30)  The property was occupied by Joseph Duffield and John Larke and situated  in East Grinstead. In this grant he also acquired the lands called Honneys in Worth.  An inquisition was held in East Grinstead on 21 March 1580 in which it was stated that his heir, was brother Edward Payne, aged 40 actually he had to be at least 41 since his father died in 1538). George’s lands called" Gaynesfords,"" Connyclappers,"" Lanefeld," were settled on Mary his wife for life," Tannershyll,"" Palmers,"" Stonefield," etc., all in East Grinstead and came to Edward following her death.

Edward Payne (c 1537-1599). Edward, the younger son of George Payne, was buried at East Grinstead in 1599 as "Edward Paine the Elder." He was a burgess of East Grinstead and married Katherine Losco, a wealthy widow from Nottinghamshire.

In a survey of the Manor of Imberhorne, recorded in The Buckhurst Terrier (1598), Edward Payne the elder was recorded as a copyholder in the parishes of East Grinstead & Hoathleigh and held by copy dated 18 Sep 26 Eliz, (i.e 1576) part of the tenement (5 acres) "Bealings", the tenement (19 acres) at "Leane", a barn and 30 acres called "Butlers & Tilkherst". The Buckhurst Terrier also recorded that Edward Paine was a juror with Stephen Dungate, Edward Paine, Walter Humphrey, Thomas Treape, Thomas Velvick (Feldwick) & others, on a survey of the Manor of Imberhorne. Edward was also recorded as a freeholder in the parish of East Grinstead and that he held a meadow (7 acres) called “Cooks". Edward left a will in which his house was left to son George but ignored Edward yet it is Edward who became the most prominent Payne in East Grinstead.

Edward Payne (1560-1643) Edward Payne was baptised on 1st December 1560 in East Grinstead, Sussex. He married Anne Payne on 23rd October 1583 in Twineham, Sussex. Anna was the daughter and heir of William Payne, of Hicksted in Twineham, and brought to Edward properties that included the Little Hickstead farm discussed in Part 1. Edward & Anne had six children. Edward left a 'Will' dated 29th September 1639 and was buried on 27th April 1643 in East Grinstead, Sussex aged 83. Anne left a 'Will' dated 13th March 1642, (proved in 1648), and was buried on 10th November 1647 in East Grinstead, Sussex.

In  the 1598 survey of the Manor of Imberhorne, Edward Payne the younger was recorded as a copyholder in the parishes of East Grinstead & Hoathleigh and he held by copy dated 15 Sep 22 Eliz, (i.e 1580) land (30 acres) called "Fellands" Also in the 1598 survey of the Manor of Imberhorne, Edward Payne junior was recorded as a freeholder in the parish of East Grinstead and that he holds lands (14 acres) called "Hillfield" & "Brodefield".(Both citations from Buckhurst Terrier).

It is worth mentioning Edward’s son Edward (1593-1660) who purchased properties including Chiddingly in West Hoathly in 1622 and Gravetye from Henry Faulconer in 1651 Edward was a successful ironmaster and had forges in both West Hoathly and East Grinstead. This Edward had a daughter, Anne who married John Michelborne a descendent of Margaret Payne.

When Edward Payne died in 1660 Gravetye passed to his second son Richard, and in turn to his son and grandson, also named Richard. In 1732 the property went to the last Richard's brother named Thomas. Thomas Payne died in 1763 and his son Thomas Holles Payne sold the manor in 1791 to William Clifford, timber merchant; a Mr. Reynolds, a minor, was holding it in 1835, and in 1870 it was in the possession of F. Cayley, who died in 1874. Before the end of the 19th century it was purchased by William Robinson the horticulturist, who died in 1935 and left the estate to the nation to be used for the study of forestry under the Board of Agriculture. Gravetye is currently a hotel.

Other properties, including Chiddingley in West Hoathly passed from Edward to his son Charles and eventually to Edward’s great granddaughter Ann Payne the wife of Gibbs Crawfurd of Saint Hill.

The detailed history of this branch of the family can be read in “The History of East Grinstead by Wallace Henry Hills (1906)”; available in its entirety on at

Payne House

Cromwell House in East Grinstead High Street, built by Edward Payne (1560-1643) in 1599. (Photo by Author)


This branch of the family occupied small farms in the southern part of East Grinstead parish and bordering Ashdown Forest including  Plawhatch, Legsheath, Monks-hill, Mawles, Walesbeech and, later, Charlwoods. A study of the map of East Grinstead and its environs shows these farms to be essentially contiguous. 

John Payne was born in about 1520 probably in East Grinstead but possibly in Waldron  he was a Yeoman described as of Plawhatch in 1562 and also owned freehold lands called Malls He was buried at East Grinstead as John Payne, senr., of Monkhill, in 1597.

John Paynes son was also known as John Payne, of Maulesand he  owned 7 acres at Buncegrove, called Baches, Legsheath and Dockets He was born around 1550 and was buried on the 29 Oct 1623 as John of Maules.

John Payne’s son William Payne, of Walesbeech (1583-1657) succeeded him in 1623 according to the records of the manor of Duddleswell (Colin J Hobbs 2002/4).  William owned Legsheath, Maules and Dockets. He surrendered Legsheath to son Edward in 1639. Edward may have died as in 1647 William surrendered Legsheath to his other son William. William senior was buried at East Grinstead as William Paine, of Walesbeech, on 7 Oct 1657. In the parliamentary survey of 1656 Legsheath was estimated to be 10 acres.

William’s son William Payne (1620-1658), of Maules, owned Legsheath and Monkshill. He was buried 18 Sep 1658 in East Grinstead.  William gave Monkshill to Robert, his younger son, who also occupied Stone and Standen Farms.

William’s son William Payne (1647-1727), was admitted to Legsheath on the death of his father. His age was given as 12, a fine of 12d was paid and his guardians during his minority were Thomas Peckham and John Browne. William also owned Velvicks and his brothers, Edward and Robert, lived at Maules and Monkshill respectively. William was buried at East Grinstead in 1727.

Legsheath and Monkshill stayed in the Payne family until the 19th century. At this point I will leave the Paynes of East Grinstead.

Paynes in the Western Part of Sussex.

I have been unable to connect the Payne families living in Chichester and Angmering from early times. There was also a Payne Family in Petworth. This family was recorded in the Sussex Visitations but only went back to the early 16th century with no indication how they were related to other Paynes. The will of Alexander Payne of Ardingly (1611) did mention a bequest to Joan Payne of Petworth but there was no indication of the relationship. They were aristocratic and were ancestors of the wealthy Paine family of Maryland as well as related to branches of the Payne family living in London, Middlesex and Yorkshire.

The earliest record of Paynes at Petworth is a record concerning deeds held at the National Archives in Kew concerning deeds to property in Petworth dated 1515-1518 (C 1/436/22). The plaintiff was Thomas, son of John Payne and the defendant his brother Robert.

The 1524 Lay tax a Robard Payne paying £6.00 for the Hundred of Petworth. He is potentially the father of John described below. Thus we have a tentative early tree here – John (from mid 15th cent) to Robert (late 15th century to early 16th) to John who died in 1552 (see below)

The first John Payne of Petworth mentioned in the Sussex visitations died in 1552 leaving a will and his property named Patonswike to his son William who died with no issue. The property fell to his brother Thomas who married Elizabeth Walker, daughter of Anthony Walker, clerk of the Wardrobe on 3 Jun 1577 at St Andrews by Robe. From here forward their history mainly takes place in London although the family did maintain property in Petworth until well into the 17th century.

It is tempting to relate these early Paynes of Petworth to the family in Twineham with the earliest John Payne in Petworth being related to Richard of Twineham, (perhaps a nephew) but there is not a shred of evidence to suggest this.

In the fifth and final part of this series I will return to the very earliest Paynes and follow their progress in the Eastbourne area.