Monday, June 28, 2010

When We Were English, Part IV

The Turbulent Life of The Rt. Rev. John Holyman, First Installment
by Glenn N. Holliman

The small village of Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, England is approximately 12 miles from Tring, Hertfordshire, the believed homesite of John Holyman (1572 - 1650). Another John Holyman, The Rt. Rev. John Holyman, lived earlier during the eventful times of the Tudor kings and queens. This earlier John played a role in attempting to forestall the Protestant Reformation in England. While we do not know his lineage, time, place and name suggest we American Hollimans carry some of his DNA. A ancestral cousin or uncle? I would say the odds favor such, and perhaps some day we can connect all the dots.

It was while researching Holymans in the Tring Library, I came upon the incredible news that a Holyman farm existed in nearby Cuddington, and that Bishop John Holyman had been born there. Cousin Maxine Wright of Arkansas had emailed a blurb on this John Holyman several months earlier alerting me to the existence of this particular Holliman. Within the hour, my wife and I drove to the village and indeed visited the Holyman farm, met the present owner, and the next day interviewed one of the village historians, Miss Peggy Cattell. We spent several hours with Miss Cattell and her sister, Nancy, collecting information and papers.

What follows is the first portion of a paper presented in 2005 to the local historical by Miss Peggy Cattell (photo below right) which we reproduce with her permission.

"They Lived In Cuddington"

" It was in 1495 that John Holyman was born. Records don't give any further information about his life in Cuddington, other than that he was born here but the family home was probably a manor house in the field near to the present Holyman's Farmhouse."

On the site of this grassy knole on the west side of Cuddington stood the manor house of the Holyman family in the 15, 16 and 17th centuries. Today this field stands fallow on still existing farm land.

"Another and more accurate assumption can be made that he must have been baptised in Cuddington Church, in the font which we still use. The font goes back well before his day. We know that the font was moved into its present position in the south aisle from the north aisle in the later part of the nineteenth century."

The photo above right is the exterior of the Cuddington parish. The above left photo is of the baptismal font which is over 500 years old. Miss Nancy Cattell is on the left, and the author on the right taking notes. Photos by Barbara Holliman.

"We can say for certain that his parents brought him through the present north doorway, and from the list of vicars we can assume that the incumbent of that time - William Burtone, priest from 1494 to 1511 - must have performed the baptism."

In the next post, we continue our study of the turbulent life of Bishop John Holyman....

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