Home - Holt Ancestry History Wills Annals Sources


The History of Lancashire taken from the Victoria County History Books


Summary of Wills


Pedigrees, Tales, Burials, Houses, Heraldry, Mottoes, Biographies, DNA


Books, References, Internet links, Contact, Sitemap

only search Holt Ancestry


Welcome to Holt Ancestry

The history of the Holts of Lancashire.
The topographic name of HOLT means dweller by a wood or copse, a small area of undergrowth and small trees grown for periodical cutting. This old English term Holt, a wood or a grove, was often preceded with de or del. The Holt name first appeared in 1185 in Kent in the Templars Records with the name of Hugo de Holte. There are many different spellings of the name Holte, Hoult, Holtzer, Holts, Hoults .. as church officials recorded and spelled the name as it sounded. The surname of Holt is one of the oldest Anglo Saxon surnames on record. The name Holt, seated in Lancashire, appears there from ancient times and possibly before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

The Holt name appears in manuscripts and ancient documents such as the Doomsday Book, the Ragman Rolls, the Curia Regis rolls, the Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals and tax records.

The Saxon gave rise to many English surnames not least of which was the Holt surname. The collaspe of Roman Britian drew migrants from across the channel and the arrival of Anglo Saxon settlers caused social and political unrest mainly in the south and east of Britian. The Saxons gradually relocated to the north and west, and during the next four hundred years forced the Ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall in the west and Cumberland to the north.

Under Saxon rule England prospered under a series of High Kings, the last of which was Harold. In 1066, the Norman invasion from France occurred and their victory at the battle of Hastings. Subsequently, many of the vanquished Saxon land owners forfeited their land to Duke William and his invading Norman rule, and many moved northward to the midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire away from the Norman oppression.

This notable English family name, Holt, emerged as an influential name in the country of Lancashire where the Holts were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. This ancient Lancastrian name was first recorded about 1190 in Lancashire when Hugo Holte was lord of the manor and estates. The Holt surname can be found in many places, but this site is mainly looking at the distribution of the name in Lancashire, England. By the 13th Century the Holts held many halls and lands, the principal families located at Castleton Hall; Stubley Hall; Bispham Hall; Shevington and Ince; and other branches at Ashworth Hall; Grizlehurst Hall; Bridge Hall; Stubbylee Hall; Little Mitton Hall and Balderstone Hall. The family history and genealogy is most intriguing. The Holt name in the parish of Rochdale has been associated with wealth and dignity.

During the middle ages the surname Holt flourished and played an important role in local affairs and in the political development of England between the 15th and 18th centuries. England was ravaged by plagues and religious conflict. Puritanism found political favour with Cromwellianism and the remnants of the Roman church rejected all non-believers. The conflicts between church groups, the crown and political groups all claimed their followers and their impositions, tithes, and demands on rich and poor alike broke the spirit of men and many turned away from religion. Many families were freely "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland, or to the "colonies". Some were rewarded with grants of land, others were banished.

There appears to have been two prominent families with the name of HOLT in England.

The Holtes of Aston , Warwickshire, whose estates were situated near Birmingham. Sir Charles Holte, a personal friend of King Charles I, who built the mansion known as Aston Hall, at which place he entertained the king after the disasterous battle of Edge Hill. I have been unable to link the Holtes of Aston and the Holts of Grizzlehurst as yet.

The Holts of Grizzlehurst family, of Lancaster. The most notable person was Sir John Holt, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench. Sir John Holt died at his seat at Redgrave (the former residence of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Seals to Queen Elizabeth) without issue, leaving a large estate to his heirs. On the 5th March, 1745, the will and codicils left unadministered by her late majesty's solicitor, administration was granted to Thomas Thurston, Esq., the lawful attorney of Rowland Holt, great-grand-nephew and heir-at-law of Sir John Holt. Mr. Thurston died in 1762, and the administration ceased and expired.

Translated from the inscription on the momument to Sir John Holt, Chief Justice of all England, born 1642 died 1710.
"The watchful upholder, the keen defender, the brave guardian of liberty and the law of England."
Back to Top

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Valid CSS!


Copyright © 2008. Victoria Holt. All rights reserved. Contact Us | Site Map | Accessability