HOLMAN, William (by 1524-59/69), of Dorchester and Berwick, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1524, ?s. of John Holman of Dorchester. m. Joan.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Dorchester 1551-2, 1555-6, constable ?1552-3, 1556-7.2


In 1545 and 1552 William Holman was assessed for subsidy in Dorchester at £10 in goods, as John Holman had been in 1523. In 1549, when disputing possession of the free chapel of Dorchester with John Churchill, Holman described himself as ‘a very poor man, having few friends or alliance’ within Dorset. He was none the less of sufficient importance in Dorchester to secure his election there as junior Member in Mary’s first Parliament when Churchill was one of the town’s bailiffs and shortly after he had served his own first term in that office: he may also have sat in the previous Parliament for which the Dorchester Members are unknown. Apart from his colleague Christopher Hole, doubtless already recorder, Holman is the first townsman known to have been returned in the period. The precedent was followed throughout Mary’s reign save that during Holman’s own second bailiffship at least one of the men elected to the Parliament of 1555 was an outsider: in the previous year Holman was present at the choosing of the knights of the shire for the Parliament of November 1554 and signed the election indenture. Not long after his bailiffship he evidently migrated to Berwick where he leased land from Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, whose agent he had perhaps been in the election of 1555 and the support of whose father he could himself have enjoyed two years before. The date of Holman’s death is unknown but on 12 Aug. 1569 letters of administration were granted to his widow.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. E179/103/125; PCC Admins. ed. Glencross, i. 99.
  • 2. C. H. Mayo, Recs. Dorchester, 364, 450; C219/24/58.
  • 3. E179/103/125; 104/156, 200; Req.2/15/64; Mayo, 328-450 passim; C219/21/53, 23/47; Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 783.