Sunday, March 31, 2013

When We Were English, Part LV

by Glenn N. Holliman

Holymans in the First Elizabethan Age....

In the last post, we closed the Will of Thomas Holyman who died in 1558, the year that Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne of England.  The eldest son, Richard Holyman, inherited the lion's share of the large family estate.  It is my thesis that this Richard, who died in 1603, was a great uncle (many times over) of the Holymans who migrated to Virginia in 1650.

English historian A. H. Dodd in his 1961 work captured the status of country families such as the emerging Holyman family of Cuddington, Buckinghamshire.  Thomas Holyman proclaimed himself a yeoman, unlike his father and grandfather (John who died in 1533 and John who died in 1522) who described themselves as husbandmen, a lower social status.

Yeomanry was the rural middle class, and often those in this social class were in a state of economic flux.  Yeomanry was a half-way house to gentility.  As a member of the gentry, a male was no longer addressed as 'goodman' but rather 'master'.  From what we know of our Richard Holyman, Christopher's oldest brother, he moved to the 'gentry' class.

Evidence of this?  He had a home in London as well as his 'manor' house in Cuddington, and lands in other parts of Buckinghamshire. The web site 'The Parishes of Stone Hundred - Cuddington, A History of the County of Buckinghamshire'  reveals that parts of 'the manor of Cuddington' came into his possession.  Later in a lawsuit, he and another Richard Holyman, possibly his son, defended their manorial rights in court.

Richard Holyman also had the rights to the local watermill and leased it for 21 years to Thomas Tyringham in 1582.    Even after the sale of the mill along the Great Thames, a tributary to the the Thames River, the Holymans retained their right to a free fishery.  Below the entrance to the site of the old water mill in England. Photograph taken April 2012.


The Tyringhams were themselves a prominent Cuddington family who also had interests in other parts of Buckinghamshire.  The Tyringham Hall still stands in Cuddington, only a long stone's throw from the present Holyman farm.  Below, in a November afternoon sun in 2012, the house remains a lovely piece of Stuart era architecture. 

Further evidence of the rise of this branch of the Holyman family was the marriage of Richard's brother, the landless Christopher Holyman who would die in December 1588.  This Christopher would marry into a family that was on the rise socially and economically, the Lees of Buckinghamshire.  

And Christopher will leave Cuddington for Sherington, and live not far from a Tyringham property in northern Buckinghamshire.  Did Christopher, one of the many sons of Thomas Holyman, establish some type of economic relationship with his Cuddington neighbors whose family had relations in Sherington?  We do not know but it is an intriguing thought that might explain why Christopher removed himself to a community, 35 miles or so from Cuddington and close to another shire - Bedford.

And from Bedford, Bedfordshire would come Christopher and Judith Holyman who emigrated to Virginia in 1650!

Below, located five or so miles from Sherington is the Tyringham House as it appeared in 2011.  This current hall reflects the wealth of the Tyringham family in previous centuries.  Today, the house and land are in the possession of another 21st Century family.

In the next post, we return our attention to Christopher, the person whom I believe is my generation's 9th great grandfather.

Have questions about Holliman 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 perhaps one of the dozens Holyman cousins on the list will have an answer. For more information contact Tina Peddie at, the list and Facebook manager for Hollyman (and all our various spellings!).

Since early 2010, I have been publishing research and stories on the broad spectrum of Holliman (Holyman) family history at . For stories on my more immediate family since the early 20th Century, I have been posting articles since early 2011 at .

Let's save the past for the future! If you have photographs, letters, memorabilia or research you wish to share, please contact me directly at Several of us have an on-going program of scanning and preserving Holyman and related family records. Don't just let family's genealogical work or photographs languish unread and deteriorating in an attic. Write us please and tell us of your items. Thanks to the Internet, we are able to scan, upload to the web (with your permission) and return the materials to you. - GNH


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