Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When We Were English, Part VIII

by Glenn N. Holliman

The Turbulent Life of The Rt. Rev. John Holyman, Installment 5

The life of John Holyman reached a climax during the reign of Queen Mary Tudor, or 'Bloody Mary' as she was termed by Protestants. Nancy Cattell of Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, England concludes her story of this distant ancestor.

The west entrance to the Bristol Cathedral with a quintessential Royal Post Box in foreground. From 1554 to 1558 The Rt. Rev. John Holyman occupied this Episcopate. Photo by Glenn Holliman

"Upon the accession of the Catholic Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon, John Holyman was appointed Bishop of Bristol, obviously as a reward for his support of her mother. Once again Holyman was into the limelight for now the Protestants who had supported Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI were to be tried. Bishop Holyman was included in the commission that tried Latimer, Bishop of Worchester and Ridley, Bishop of London. They were found guilty of heresy. In 1554, Holyman also participated in the disputation of Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer."

All three Protestant bishops were burned at the stake at Canditch in Oxford for their 'heresy'. The above woodcut is of Cranmer's death from the famous Fox's Book of Martyrs. In Bristol from 1554 - 1558, five more Protestants found martyrdom as 'candles' for Protestantism. In fairness to The Rt. Rev. John Holyman, he is reported to have opposed such actions, but they did occur during his episcopate.

"In 1558, Mary died and was succeeded by the Protestant Elizabeth. So once again the tables were turned and the Catholics were now put on trial. Bishop John Holyman avoided a violent death, as he died
of natural causes a month after the accession of Queen Elizabeth I. His burial took place at Hanborough Church."

"I am so amazed that anyone born in the 16th century in what must have been at that time the most obscure of little villages should have produced a man who was at the centre of all the important happenings of that tumultuous time." - Nancy Cattell, Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, UK 2005

Paul Bushe, the first Bishop of Bristol received an ornate tomb with effigy (photo below of Cathedral sanctuary).

But the second bishop, much more controversial and in disrepute at his death, lies buried in Long Handborough in his former parish church. John Holyman's remains lie under or near this 16th century memorial (photo below) in the small village parish near Oxford. Photos by Barbara Holliman

Next post, a visit to the Holyman farm in Cuddington, Buckinghamshire....

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