Tuesday, September 7, 2010

When We Were English, Part XVII

by Glenn N. Holliman

Continuing the Search for John Holyman (1572 - 1650)

Tring, Hertfordshire traces it roots to Anglo-Saxon times, and was located just west of the Danelaw in the 900s. The hamlet is listed in William of Normandy's Doomsday Book. The above is the town logo. (Photo by Barbara Holliman)

I am still looking for that elusive John Holyman who, according to one prominent Holliman genealogical website and the LDS records, was born in Tring, Hertfordshire in 1572. John is the widely reported father of Christopher Holliman, Sr., who is our ancestor of solid record.

We do know a John Holyman did die in Southampton, Virginia in 1650 and left a will which devolved property to a friend, not family. For the past few months, I have been posting information found during an excursion to England seeking Holyman roots and our reported very great grandfather. I continue.

As readers of this web log know, there was a Bishop John Holyman (1495-1558) and an Ezekiel Holyman (1586 - 1659), both religious leaders. One was Roman Catholic and the other a Baptist Protestant. The evidence supports that they are related.

Cousin Jennette Stewart shared by email information that in the English Origins of New England Families, Vol. III, pages 193 - 195, one will find an article by G. Andrews Moriarty entitled 'The Holymans'. In this article Moriarty quotes The Register, an English genealogical publication, that the Holymans were a family of 'substantial yeomen' with branches in Cuddington, Cholesbury and Chesham. The Rt. Rev. John Holyman, Bishop of Bristol from 1554 to 1558 was a member of this family as was one Jayne Holyman (1552 - 1632) and her nephew, Ezekiel Holyman.

From the Latter Day Saints genealogical website, we have the following:

One Leonard Holyman (1520 - 1573) was born in Cholesbury and died in Tring. From the above source we know that Leonard is related to the Cuddington Holymans. I refer all to my post of August 23, 2010, 'When We Were England, Part XV'. Leonard is a contemporary of Bishop John Holyman. Were they brothers or cousins? Cuddington, as the earlier map notes, is an hour or two by horse from Tring and Cholesbury.

Leonard married a Joan (b 1525) also of Cholesbury. They had at least seven children. One was the Jane (Jayne), referred to above, b 1552 in Tring, Cholesbury, died 1636 and is buried in Chesham (near Cholesbury). She married Richard Weedon, as noted in the last posting. One of their sons, James, immigrated to Rhode Island, as did Jayne's nephew, Ezekiel.

Jayne's brother John Holyman (1548 - 1597) was a weaver and had a wife named Ales (Alice). There were a number of children of this marriage, one being Ezekiel Holyman, who would immigrate to New England and help found the Baptist Church in America. Another child, Elsabeth, married into the Weedon family herself.

Two of Leonard's sons, Edward and William, left wills of which I found and made copies while in the Hertfordshire Archives. I will be publishing these wills later and transcribing what I can. There was a third son, John, whose will is below and lifted from the English Origins of New England Families.

The Will of John Holyman (1548 - 1597)

Now John Holyman (d 1597) left a will (abstract above) which does not list a son named John Holyman (remembering we are looking for a John Holyman, b. 1572 in Tring). John (d 1597) does list a godchild, whom he terms John Child. To this godchild, Holyman left his 'looms and all that belongs to them'. His own children received much less, Ezekiel only getting a ewe. Why did he favor the godchild over his natural children? Perhaps John Child had an aptitude for weaving while the others did not? But this John also left John Child his land after his wife's death.

Why favor John Child over one's own children?

Could John Child have taken the last name Holyman from his godfather, John Holyman? Could this John Child be the elusive John Holyman (d 1650 in Virginia)? The dates work. Could this godchild be a natural offspring of John Holyman (d 1597), given perhaps a last name (Child) to obscure a birth out of wedlock? This is only speculation on my part, but the bequests are odd.

So John Holyman (d 1650) is still hidden in history as far as primary sources are concerned, if he be from the Tring area. As cousins Maxine Wright and Joe Parker have revealed, there is evidence John Holyman (d 1650) may have been from twenty-five to thirty miles north in Bedford. If so, why are so many web sites placing him in Tring?

So are the Bedford and Tring area relatives very closely related, perhaps a branch just recently relocated to Bedford from Tring in the late 1500s? Perhaps, somewhere, someplace, some Holyman stated to an authority, "Yes, my family is originally from Tring, before recently moving to Bedford."

I will look further. Thank you for your patience as I attempt to place all this research by several persons and sources in narrative format and on the record. As ever, I am grateful to my distant cousins for their sharing of knowledge and evidence. Opinions expressed and conclusions drawn, as well as errors, are mine alone.

Next posting....looking at the will of William Holyman, a son of John Holyman (d 1597).

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