Friday, May 10, 2013

When We Were English, Part LVIII

by Glenn N. Holliman

More on the Lees and Holymans of Buckinghamshire...the Story Continues....

The research on the Lee and Holyman family connections has been gathered by professional genealogist Anne Holmes of Buckinghamshire, England.  Her sources include William Betham's 1805 work 'The Baronetage of England', George Lipscombe's 1847 volume 'The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham' and the at , the Ashmolean Museum web page on brass rubbings in churches in Buckinghamshire and 'The Victoria County History of Buckinghamshire on line at Holmes also has a blog of Buckinghamshire history at .

The person I believe to be my 9th great grandfather, Christopher Holyman (d 1588) married Margaret Lee of Moreton, Buckinghamshire sometime between 1572 and 1578.  A son of Thomas Holyman (d 1558) of Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, Christopher could have been born anytime between 1538 and 1557.  Thus he died young possibly only in his 40s.

Margaret was the daughter of Thomas Lee who died in 1572.  Margaret's mother was Ursala Yates Lee.  This Thomas had a father named Francis Lee, whose father, John Lee, died in London in March 1503. John's father was one William Lee who died in October 9, 1486.  William's wife was named Anne.

The Lee's evidently originated  in High Legh and Lyme in Cheshire.  During the overthrow of King Richard II in the 1390s, the family supported the reigning Richard and later underwent 'persecution' for opposing the successful new king, Henry IV.  The family then settled in Moreton in the parish of Dinton, Buckinghamshire adjacent to Hartwell. 

One of the oldest monuments in the Dinton church is of William Lee, Esq. and Anne, his wife. For five generations the Lees resided at Moreton, where the ruins of the house surrounded by a moat are still visible.  Below, the church in Dinton where Lees worshipped and were buried prior to the early 1600s.  This pictured was made by Anne Holmes in May 2013.  Christopher Holyman (d 1588) and Margaret Lee may have married at this church.

Margaret Lee Holyman's brother, another Thomas Lee (d 1626) married an Eleanor Hampden (they had 24 children as described in a previous post). When Eleanor's brother died, the Lees acquired the manor house Hartwell and Thomas, the title of Knight. By the middle of the 1600s, the Lees had become barons.

Below the Hartwell House today is a National Trust hotel with a storied past.  For photos of the current house with beautiful interiors click on . Photo taken November 2012.

Below, the chapel at Hartwell House where Lees were entombed beginning in the early 1600s.

The monument below hangs in the parish cemetery at Cuddington, historic home of the Holyman families of America.  This 19th Century Lee is probably a distant cousin of the Holymans.  Eleanor and Thomas Lee of the late 1500s had so many children that Lee became a popular name in Buckinghamshire.  Some authorities speculate this is the origin of the Robert E. Lee family of Virginia but this has not been proven one way or another. Photos taken November 2012.

While the Lee family 'star' continued to rise in the 17th Century,  some Holyman descendants of the Lee line moved down the social and economic scale.  And that story will take us up to the momentous decision of another Christopher Holyman (1618-1691) to stake his fortune and future in Virginia in the year 1650.

Next posting on England examines of the children of Christopher and Margaret Lee Holyman....

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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