Ancestors of Mandy Willard

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Francis COMBER (?-1689)

and Mary (?-1703)


Francis Comber and Mary were my 8x Great Grandparents.  (Click here to see their place in my pedigree chart.)  They married before or about 1646 and possibly in Ardingly, Sussex or the surrounding area.  No possible marriage appears in the IGI.  The Sussex Family History Group's marriage index comes up with just one possible marriage on 7 January 1646 in Wadhurst, Sussex, between Francis Comber and Mary [blank], but this was a different Francis who was well documented in the Wadhurst area (see notes below).

I have a copy of the Sussex Records Society's transcript of the Ardingly registers, and no marriages were recorded as having taken place in Ardingly between 29 June 1643 and 23 February 1646/7. 

Francis Comber's date and place of birth/baptism are unknown.  He was buried on 16 May 1689 in Ardingly, and the burial register records that he was a servant.  He may have been baptised on 7 February 1611/12 in Lindfield, Sussex, the son of Francis Comber (1583-?).  However, neither John Comber, who researched and published the Pedigrees for the Combers of Lindfield and Ardingly, nor Geoffrey Barrow author of "The Comber Family", considered that "our" Francis was the one born in 1612.  Nor have they recorded what became of 1612 Francis - he is a dead end in their pedigree charts.  Geoffrey Barrow's pedigree chart suggests that "our" Francis was the son of one of two brothers:  Richard Comber born 1624 or John Comber born 1627, both sons of Richard Comber (1592-?) and Bridget Bursty (1585-?).  But that does not seem possible, as Francis's eldest known son was born in 1646, so he himself must have been born at least before 1628.  Unless Francis was the brother of Richard and John.  Another Francis Comber was baptised in 1606 in West Hoathly, but seems to have married Anne and/or Elizabeth and had 3 children baptised in Horsted Keynes:  Barbara 1638, Francis 1639 and John in 1642.  According to Geoffrey Barrow's pedigree chart, 1606 Francis had 3 sons and 2 daughters (unnamed on the chart).  Yet another Francis Comber was baptised in May 1614 in East Chiltington, but he also seems to be accounted for.  1614 Francis was said to have married Elizabeth Evans and they raised their family in London.

Mary’s date and place of birth are unknown - see notes below.  The IGI records that she may have been born in about 1619 - but where did they get this date from?  She was buried on 11 December 1703 in Ardingly.  The burial register only records her name as Mary Comber and no other helpful details.


Francis Comber and Mary had 9 known children:

  1. Francis Comber was baptised on 13 April 1646 in Ardingly.  He married Elizabeth Patcham (c1650-1685) and Elizabeth Waller (1658-1716).  (They have their own page.)

  2. Mary Comber was baptised on 3 October 1647 in Ardingly.

  3. Anne Comber was baptised on 17 June 1649 in Ardingly.  Before her marriage she had an illegitimate daughter:

    1. Anne Comber, who was mentioned in her Aunt Susanna’s Will of 1716.

    Anne married Alexander Illman on 6 June 1689 in Ardingly.

    Alexander was baptised on 20 January 1655/6 in Ardingly and was the son of William Illman (1609-1690) and Mary Linnell (?-1679). 

  4. Jane Comber was born about 1651.

    Jane married William Tuffens on 25 June 1676 in Lindfield.

    William was born about 1647 and was mentioned in his sister-in-law Susanna Comber's will.

  5. Elizabeth Comber was born about 1653.  She was mentioned in her sister Susanna's 1716 will, at which time Elizabeth was said to be living in Fletching, Sussex.

    Elizabeth married Thomas Gibb on 29 September 1670 in Ardingly.

    Thomas was buried on 3 December 1681 in Ardingly.

    Thomas and Elizabeth had 5 known children: 

    1. Thomas Gibb was baptised on 26 November 1671 in Ardingly.  He and his 3 children were mentioned in his Aunt Susanna Comber's will.

    2. John Gibb was baptised on 26 October 1673 in Ardingly.  He was of Blackstone and was also mentioned in his Aunt Susanna's will.  He was married with 5 children.

    3. Mary Gibb was baptised on 17 February 1675/6 in Ardingly and buried there on 16 April 1678.

    4. Francis Gibb was baptised on 9 December 1677 in Ardingly and buried there on 8 February 1678/9.

    5. Elizabeth Gibb was baptised on 4 July 1680 in Ardingly.

  6. Sarah Comber was born about 1655.  She was mentioned in her sister Susanna's will.

    Sarah married ? Nightingale, of Charlwood, Surrey.

  7. Mercey Cumber may have been born/baptised between 25 May and 14 August 1656 in Ardingly.  Her name was recorded in the baptism register, but not the date.

  8. Susanna Comber was baptised on 30 October 1657 in Ardingly, but her baptism was entered in the burial register on that date.  She was buried on 4 August 1716 in Ardingly.  She died unmarried and left a will dated 11 June 1716 and proved on 23 October 1716.

  9. 5 165 John Comber, my 7x Great Grandfather, was born on 16 March 1660 in Ardingly.  He married 5 165 Judith White (?-1726) in 1690.  (They have their own page.)




If Mary's youngest child was born in 1660, then I would think she was born after about 1615.  The Ardingly baptism registers have the following Mary's baptised between 1615-30:


17 June 1616, Marie daughter of William Infeild.


20 November 1620, Marie daughter of John Eliot.


4 December 1620, Marie daughter of William Nicholas - she was buried on 18 August 1622.


2 August 1622, Marie daughter of Robert Burt.  Robert may have married Joanna Kidder on 15 June 1606 in Maresfield, Sussex.


11 August 1622, Mary Archer daughter of [blank] - she died aged 13 and was buried on 15 March 1635/6.


11 July 1625, Mary daughter of Thomas Pilbeame and Mary Hover.  As Mary Pillbeame of Ardingly she most probably married Nicholas Wakefeilde of Newtimber on 6 November 1649 in Pyecombe, Sussex.


14 May 1626, Marie daughter of George Gatland and Anne (she may have been Agnes Saye who married George in 1620 in Lindfield).


13 August 1626, Mary daughter of Richard Michell and Mary.


12 November 1626, Mary daughter of Richard Payne and Mary Picknoll.


20 August 1627, Mary daughter of Richard Paine of Hoocke and Joane Geale.


22 May 1628, Mary daughter of Edward Wickham and Dorothy Bassett.


1 February 1628/9, Mary daughter of John Symons and Mary Millam (this couple were my 9x Great Grandparents).

Of the above, Mary Eliot looks possible, but of course, the Mary who married Francis Comber may not have been baptised in Ardingly!


Francis Comber of Wadhurst

At the East Sussex Record Office under the "Archives of the Portman Family of Buxted Place", there are several references to leases and mortgages of several properties in Wadhurst that were "in the occupation of Francis Comber and Richard Comber". These include a "messuage" called Combe with 120a, a "messuage and tenement called Austens and land called Riseden" of 80a in Wadhurst. The references are for 7 December 1650 and 1 April 1678.  It is unlikely, therefore, that this Francis is the same as the one raising children in Ardingly.  (Thanks to John Howes for this data.)



This page was reviewed on 9 April 2012