BYNG, Robert (by 1530-95), of Wrotham, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1530, 1st s. of John Byng of Wrotham by Agnes, da. of Robert Spencer of Essex. educ. ?G. Inn 1540. m. (1) Frances, da. of Richard Hill of Hartley Wintney, Hants, 3s. inc. George; (2) Mary, da. of William Maynard, 3s. 1da.

Offices Held

?Yeoman of the chamber 1545, prothonotary and clerk of the Crown Card., Carm. and Pemb. 3 May 1551; j.p.q. Kent from 1561, sheriff 1592-3.


Byng was a Kent country gentleman who must have owed his Abingdon seat to his first wife’s stepfather Sir John Mason. Byng was later steward of the manor of Sutton Courtenay for his mother-in-law, Dame Elizabeth Mason. His manor of Wrotham involved him in disputes with Thomas Willoughby, lord of the neighbouring manor of Ightham, over the rights of their respective courts, and in a case concerning tithes, which he brought against the rector of Ightham.1

For 30 years Byng was an active county official, and a number of his business letters survive, concerning money received for weapons to be used at the Aylesford musters, receipts and expenses during his term as sheriff, and other accounts. He subscribed £100 to the Armada fund of 1589-90. In May 1591 he wrote to Roger Twysden, captain of light horse in the lathe of Aylesford, about the building of a shelter at Heavy Hatch for the watchmen:

no costly house, but only to save them from stormy weather, without any seats or place of ease, lest they should fall asleep; only to stand upright in with a hole to look out towards the beacon.

Two years later he suggested to Twysden that the justices from the west part of the lathe should be urged to come to the next quarter sessions, when taxes were to be assessed, ‘lest they of the east end should seek to overlade us and ease themselves’. But his own record in this connexion was poor: during Archbishop Parker’s visitation of 1573 Byng was cited for refusing to pay his poor rate in the parish of St. Mary Breddyn, Kent.

Byng died 2 Sept. 1595. From his will, proved in December the same year, it appears that he was in debt. His eldest son George, the executor, was asked to see that the younger children were brought up ‘in continual learning, accordingly as I have hitherto done’. Another of Byng’s relatives mentioned in the will was his brother Thomas, DCL, sometime master of Clare Hall and vice-chancellor of Cambridge. The will was disputed, but the prerogative court of Canterbury confirmed it by sentence. An inquisition post mortem was taken at Deptford 31 Oct. 1595.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. R. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 160; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 27; (lxxiv), 36; PCC 76 Scott; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 20; CPR, 1555-7, p. 335; Preston mss, at Abingdon; Arch. Cant. xlviii. 179 seq.; xlix. 83 seq.; C142/244/126; T. Philipott, Villare Cantianum (1776), 138; E. Hasted, Kent, v. 3, 290.
  • 2. G. Scott Thomson, Twysden Lieutenancy Pprs. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. x), 74 et passim; T. C. Noble, Names of Those who Subscribed, 132; Arch. Cant. xxix. 277; PCC 76 Scott; Al. Cant. i(1), p. 153; C142/244/126.