Friday, April 26, 2013

When We Were English, Part LVII

by Glenn N. Holliman

The Family of Margaret Lee Holyman....

This post continues our exploration of the life and extended family of Christopher Holyman, d. 1588, of Sherington, Buckinghamshire, England.  Evidence indicates he is a son of John Holyman, d. 1558, of Cuddington, Buckinghamshire and that his grandfather was Christopher Clark of the same shire.  This appears to be the origin of the first name Christopher which still appears to this generation in the Holyman families (and various spellings) in the United States.

Thanks be to the research of professional genealogist Anne Holmes of Buckinghamshire, England, we have information on the wife of Christopher Holyman, d. 1588.  This person, whom I believe is a direct great grandmother of mine, was Margaret Lee of Moreton in the parish of Dinton, Buckinghamshire.

Margerate Lee must have come into the marriage with a sizeable dowry from her father, Thomas Lee.  Margaret must have come with such a benevolence as we find the couple in the 1580s living in Sherington, Buckinghamshire.  Research by genealogist Anne Holmes reveals the names of the children of Christopher and Margaret.  

The Lees were a family of landed gentry, who settled in the area sometime in the 15th Century.  Margaret's father was Thomas Lee who died in 1572.  In his will, he does not describe himself as either gentleman or knight.  However, his son, Thomas, Margaret's brother, who died in 1626 does describe himself as a knight in is Will, a person of high social status in Stuart England. 

This brother-in-law of Christopher Holyman married Eleanor Hampden, the sister of Sir Alexander Hampden.  After the death of Alexander Hampden in 1618, a major estate passed into the Lee family through Eleanor (his sister), that being the Hartwell House of Dinton.

Below in 2012, Anne Holmes and yours truly shared a pub meal in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and reviewed family history.  Upon rising from the table, we discovered the print behind us was ironically of the Lee family Hartwell House.  Photo by Barbara Holliman.

Anne Holmes speculates  Thomas Lee, d 1626, acquired his knighthood possibly through the Hartwell Estate.  "By the end of the 17th Century, the Lees had become Baronets.  In contrast, the Holyman family star in Buckinghamshire was at its brightest in the mid 16th Century when Thomas Holyman (d 1558) had the manor of Cuddington and his kinsman, The Rt. Rev. John Holyman, was Bishop of Bristol. 

In the mid 16th century, the Holyman and Lee families would probably have been seen as contemporary equals in social status hence the marriage of Christopher Holyman to Margaret Lee" write Mrs. Holmes.

Eleanor Lee (nee Hampden) would then be a sister-in-law to Christopher Holyman (d 1588). According to The Victoria County History of Buckinghamshire, Eleanor and Thomas had twenty-four children!  This great aunt died in 1633, one would imagine of exhaustion, and is buried in Dinton, Buckinghamshire.  The following plaque in the parish church records her 'achievement' and also her kindness to the poor. (Click on copy twice to enlarge.)

References for this article are found at;strquery=Lee  and William Betham's late 19th Century publication The Baronetage of England

Next Post, more on the fascinating Lee family of Buckinghamshire....

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. Write  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.

Announcing also a "Seminar and Site" gathering October 18 and 19, 2013 in Fayette, Alabama for Hollimans and associated families whose ancestors are from that area. Space at the Rose House Inn is limited for the occasion due to a football weekend. For information, contact me at the above email. Hope to see some of you there. - GNH














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