Home - Holt Ancestry History Wills Annals Sources



only search Holt Ancestry

Father William Holt the Jesuit

William Holt was born in Lancashire in 1545 and probably from the ancient Holt of Stubley family. He studied at Brasenose for his B.A. and Oriel College, Oxford for his M.A. He took a 3 year theology course and was ordained a priest in 1576 and sent to Rome to await the opening of the English College. He entered the Society of Jesus on 15 May 1578. The English College was placed under the government of the Jesuits in April 1579. He returned to England in July 1581 and spent a short while in staffordshire in missionary labour. He was then sent by Fr. Persons on a special mission to Scotland with letters from the unfortunate Queen of Scots, then a close prisoner in England. Fr. Holt was arrested in Leith in March 1583.

At a meeting in Paris it was proposed that the Duke of Guise should land with an army in the south of England, that James, with a Scottish force, should enter the northern counties , and that the English friends of the house of Stuart should be summoned to the aid of the injured Queen of Scots. This was communicated to Mary through the French ambassador and to James through Fr. Holt still a prisoner in the castle of Edinburgh.

When Queen Elizabeth heard of Fr. Holts arrest she sent orders to her agents at Edinburgh to insist that he should "be put to the bootes" to extort from him the secret correspondence and plans of the Catholics in England.

Though placed on the rack, Cardinal Allen says "he admirably preserved both faith, courage and taciturnity" and no important disclosure was drawn from him. The King refused his release from the castle till August 1584 when he was order to leave the country.

He ws appointed rector of the English College on 24 October 1586 and in 1588 he was sent to Brussels where he resided for 10 years as agent of the King of Spain and the administrator of the funds devoted by that monarch to the support of English exiles. The English Catholics at this time were divided into the Scottish and Spanish factions. Fr. Holt, Canon Tierney says "He was a man of character and talent, but the austerity of his manners was embittered by the violence of his politics..."

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Valid CSS!


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