HOLMAN, Thomas, of Barnstaple, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Jan. 1397

Family and Education

m. by 1393, Margery, 1s. 1da.

Offices Held

Receiver, Barnstaple Mich. 1393-4; mayor 1400-2, 1405-7, 1411-12, 1414-15, ?1419-20.1


Holman, one of the more prominent burgesses of Barnstaple, imported wine, fish, iron and rosin and exported the town’s principal manufacture, namely, cloth. He himself was engaged in the production of this commodity, in the two years from Michaelmas 1395 being assessed for alnage on as many as 103 ‘dozens’. He was a trustee of certain premises in Barnstaple allocated to finance repairs to the long bridge; and also an active member of the local guild of St. George. He served as mayor for no fewer than six terms, probably more.2 His own property was quite substantial: it included a plot of land near the Strand and a large house on High Street extending to the river; he paid a rent of 3s.4d. a year for a plot off the High Street from 1393 to 1415 (after which date he held it rent free), and he also owned houses in the hamlet of Litchdon outside the town walls. In June 1411 a commission was set up by Bishop Stafford to investigate the alleged pollution of the cemetery of Barnstaple parish church by bloodshed in a quarrel between Holman’s wife and John Jacob, only for it to be reported that there had been neither bloodshed nor violence, so that it was unnecessary to reconsecrate the cemetery after all.3

The date of Holman’s death is not known. In 1459 his son, John, who had been rector of Heanton Punchardon since 1436 and was to become vicar of Barnstaple in 1461, granted all the family property (including that inherited by his sister, Joan, wife of a sometime mayor, Walter Hayne), along with that of the Hunts, to trustees who, after his death, were to found a chantry dedicated to God, St. Mary and St. Anne in St. Anne’s chapel in the churchyard of Barnstaple church.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. North Devon Athenaeum, Barnstaple, deeds 461, 465, 471, 473, 474, 3972 f. 2, 4142 f. 65; E368/184, 185, 187, 192, 193 (where he is called ‘bailiff’).
  • 2. E101/338/11; E122/40/14, 23, 30; Barnstaple deeds 440, 639.
  • 3. Deeds 439, 460, 476, 929; CIMisc. vii. 585; Reprint of Barnstaple Recs. ed. Chanter and Wainwright, i. 208; Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 14.
  • 4. Reprint of Barnstaple Recs. i. 181-4.