Monday, June 21, 2010

When We Were English, Part II

by Glenn N. Holliman

With the exception of the historical painting of Elizabeth I below, the other photos in this blog are of memorials to Hollimans and others in St. Paul's parish, Chipperfield, Hertfordshire, approximately 25 miles northwest of Central London.

August 31, 1997, my wife, Barb, and I assembled for the baptism for our godson, Joseph Jeffries, at St. Paul's Anglican parish in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire, England. What should have been a day of joy, instead was a sad morning. Princess Dianna, formerly Princess of Wales, and her boyfriend, Dody Fahad, had died in the early hours in a Paris car crash.

The priest, a lady of whose gender there were only a few at that time in all the England Church, prayed for the repose of the departed souls as she attempted to turn the congregation’s attention to the welcoming of Joseph into the Christian family. Ironically, Diana’s car had smashed itself to a compressed block of metal, plastic and human flesh in a tunnel just a block from where Barb worked the year before at the capital campaign for the American Cathedral in France.

With these conflicting thoughts tumbling through our heads, we ventured to gaze around the lovely neo-gothic nave. Good grief! The walls were covered with war memorial plaques in memory of Hollimans and other villagers! Had we stumbled on to the ancestral home of the Holliman clan? Much evidence indicates that yes, the English Hollimans (or Holleman, Hollyman, Hollomon, etc.) did establish themselves or at least some of the family in Hertfordshire, England around the villages of Chipperfield and Tring, located 30 or so miles northwest of London proper. Other villages with Hollymans were Berkhamsted, Aldbury, Cholesbury and Cuddington.




Most of our American genealogical trees begin with one John Holyman, born 1572 in Tring, Hertfordshire. This was during the reign (and rule) of that magnificent Tudor queen, Elizabeth I. Anglicanism had replaced the Roman Catholic faith in the land, helped along by several burnings at stakes of recalcitrant Catholics and not a few Spanish Jesuits who sought to return England to the Old Faith. The friction between Spain and England, exacerbated by privateers Drake and Raleigh, eventually led to the sailing of the Spanish Armada of 1588.

This is Robert Peale's painting of Queen Elizabeth being carried by her devoted courtiers.

Elizabeth called out the able bodied men of England to repel the invader if the embryonic English fleet was not able to do so. One wonders if John Holyman and our kinsmen did not muster on a village green with pike in hand?


It is obvious from these memorials that in the last two World Wars, numerous Holliman kinsmen mustered with their English regiments, and sadly all did not return.

More on the English Holliman's in the next posting!

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