by Glenn N. Holliman
Historian Nancy Cattell continues her paper on Cuddington, Buckingshire resident John Holyman.
"While in London Brother John embroiled himself in not just Reformation issues but also the marriage crisis of King Henry VIII (1581 - 1547). Henry had decided that must ask the Pope to grant him a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. He claimed that because she had been his brother's widow he should not have been given the dispensation to marry her. This 'sin' was smoting him."
This likeness of King Henry VIII is in the Cathedral at Bristol, England, the Cathedral from which Bishop John Holyman presided 1554 to 1558. Photo by Barbara Holliman.
"This after 20 years of marriage, but of course the real reasons for his desire for a divorce were (a) that Catherine had not provided him the son he wanted and (b) much more important - he had fallen desperately in love with Ann Boleyn and wanted to marry her."
"The Pope refused Henry's request and good Catholic that he was Brother Holyman started preaching in favour of the validity of the marriage to Catherine (photo right). This was a very courageous act or if you like, a very foolhardy one for Henry did not approve of criticism."
Catherine is the mother of Queen Mary Tudor.
"Holyman must have made a discreet move from London otherwise he would surely have lost his head - one book I read told me that his abbot did and certainly the Abbey was dissolved during Thomas Cromwell's 'displacement'. "
Anne Boyleyn, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, photo left.
"As we know when the Pope refused to grant the divorce, Henry cut the Church in England off from the Roman Catholic Church and thus the Church of England came into being. Henry declared himself the head of the Church and so obtained his divorce from his new Archbishop Thomas Cranmer."
"Brother John Holyman left London and sought refuge in Long Handborough, near Woodstock where he became the rector (and kept his head and kept it down)."
The parish church in Long Handbourgh stands today between Oxford and the historic town of Woodstock, the home of Blenin Palace and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
Next posting, more on the career of Bishop John Holyman....