Friday, February 1, 2013

When We Were English, Part LI

by Glenn N. Holliman

Continuing the 1533 Will of John Holyman of Cuddington....and a Surprise Relative Listed!

Below two family historians, yours truly left and professional genealogist, Anne Holmes, right, examine the 16th Century wills of the Holyman family of Cuddington, Buckinghamshire.  We are pictured in the Buckinghamshire archives in Aylesbury, England, November 2012.
 The 1533 Will of John Holyman continued....

As we continue to review John Holyman's will, one is struck by his meticulous descriptions and abundance of 16th Century wealth.
Line 56 - A cart geres hole according to Ms. Holmes is translated as 'cart gears whole', that is machinery connected with the carts, harnesses and such. 
Lines 58 to 62 - Here John leaves his wife his second best carts, including the dung cart (this is a farm).  The couples are probably pairs of oxen. The wife does receive the best mare or gelding.
Line 70 - An interesting term of which Ms. Holmes describes as follows: "The lords stock: this was probably animals that the tenant looked after for the lord of the manor at the tenant's own cost, perhaps part of the tenant's copyhold agreement.  It was common practice for tenants in the the medieval and early modern period to look after animals, at their own expenses for either the lord of the manor or the church.  In some areas in England this practice continued into the twentieth century."

Lines 73 - 84 - John continues to divide his abundance of worldly goods between his wife, son Thomas and God Children.  Notice he has lumber and timber to leave.  As John made a will and has much property to distribute, we know he was a relatively wealthy man of his time.  As Anne Holmes has written, the Holymans were a family on the rise in the 16th Century.
Lines 88 - 90 - Wife Elizabeth and son Thomas are appointed executors of the estate.
But look who is appointed overseer of the will!
Lines 93 - 95 - For those of us you have studied the relationship of The Rt. Rev. John Holyman, Bishop of Bristol, 1554-1558, and prominent opponent of Henry VIII's divorce of Anne Bolyen, to the our lineage, these are important sentences.  I quote again from genealogist Anne Holmes:
 "John Holyman priste almost certainly refers to the John HOLYMAN who was to become Bishop of Bristol.  John is requesting the priest to be the overseer of is will.  There is no financial bequest other than that to cover any expenses incurred in the task of overseer.  John calls him 'brother' .  It is unlikely they were siblings.  It is possible the were cousins or kinsmen.  The other possibility is the testator John HOLYMAN had married the sister of the priest.  It was not illegal to marry a first cousin or other cousin at that time."
And so, John signs his will, signature above, a comprehensive document. In the next post, we will examine son Thomas' will, the off spring whom evidence indicates is probably my generation's 10th great grandfather.
Have questions about your family history? You are invited to join the Hollyman Email List at and the Hollyman Family Facebook Page located on Facebook at "Hollyman Family". Post your questions and hopefully one of the dozens on the list will have an answer.

For more information contact Tina Peddie at, list and Facebook manager for Hollyman (and all our various spellings!)

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