HOLLAND, Thomas II (1577-c.1643), of Plas Berw, Llanidan and Tai Cochion, Trefarthen, Anglesey.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1577, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Owen Holland of Berw by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Richard Bulkeley. educ. St. Edmund Hall, Oxf. 1593; Furnival’s Inn; L. Inn 1595. unm. suc. fa. 1601. Kntd. 1622.1

Offices Held

J.p.q. Anglesey from c.1601, sheriff 1608-9, 1621-2, 1640-1; capt. of trainbands, Tindaethwy hundred, Anglesey 1614; dep. lt. by 1637.2


His father’s consolidation of the family estate, and his connexion with the Bulkeley family, enabled Holland to emerge a considerable figure in early Stuart Anglesey. He rebuilt the family residence at Berw, and purchased a town house and other properties in Beaumaris as well as a number of leases of land in south-western Anglesey. He completed his control of the coal resources of Ysceifiog township by leasing the remaining moiety from the Bagnalls of Plas Newydd, having first secured a confirmation of the validity of his father’s acquisition of the other half by a special royal pardon. In 1607 he settled all his estates on his mother and brothers. Inevitably all this provoked litigation. Mill rights, water rights, fishing rights, common rights, and rights of way, were among the matters Holland disputed with his neighbours before the great sessions, council in the marches, Exchequer, and Star Chamber. One dealt with the alleged diversion by the Bulkeleys of the course of the rivers bounding his estate. Good relations were later restored, when Holland supported the Bulkeleys in their twenty-year feud with the Cheadles. Another—which resulted in disorder—was with his own vicar and the Bagnall family over his building of a private chapel adjoining the church at Llanfihangel Ysceifiog. His armorial devices were also called in question, but were finally confirmed by the College of Arms in 1636. At the close of his life, Holland was again at loggerheads with the Bagnalls: in an action in the court of wards, it was alleged on behalf of the infant heir of Plats Plas Newydd that in the bargain over Ysceifiog mines, Holland’s father had taken advantage of the absence in Ireland of the ward’s grandfather, Sir Henry Bagnall, to drive a fraudulent bargains.3

Holland was above all a business man. He worked his corn mills as a commercial proposition, and built a warehouse near the water’s edge below his house at Tai Cochion for storing the agricultural wares he imported and exported. His town house in the then flourishing port of Beaumaris, and the fact that his military duties were performed in that hundred rather than his own hundred of Menai, suggest that his business activities ranged further afield than the Berw estate. In 1641 he obtained from the Bulkeleys a licence to fish for oysters in the Menai Straits, but he did not live to exploit his privilege.4

Holland is not known to have sought re-election to the Commons after 1601, although he was associated with the other gentry of the island in choosing candidates. He is not named in the parliamentary journals, but as knight for Anglesey he may have attended committees concerning the order of business (3 Nov.)and monopolies (23 Nov.). He joined in 1639 in resisting the attempt of Thomas Cheadle, as deputy governor of Beaumaris castle, to control the military forces of the island, and two years later he declined, when appealed to by Cheadle as the only resident deputy lieutenant (old and ‘unwieldly’ as he was), to take action against an alleged popish plot to seize the castle by a coup from the mainland.5

The exact date of Holland’s death is not known: nothing is heard of him after April 1643, and by the beginning of 1644 his nephew and heir, Owen Holland (to whom, as a childless bachelor, he bequeathed the estate) was taking his place in county affairs.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A.H.D.


  • 1. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, ed. Meyrick, ii. 210; DWB, 361; J. Williams, Hist. of Berw: Trans. Anglesey Antiq. Soc. Supp. 1915, ch. iii.
  • 2. Harl. 1974, f. 23v; HMC 5th Rep. 417; HL, EL7443; CSP Dom. 1639, p. 27; 1641-3, p. 170.
  • 3. Williams, 28, 33-6, 41-5; NLW, Carreglwyd mss; Exchequer, ed. T. I. J. Jones (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xv), 8, 16, 23; Star Chamber, ed. Edwards (same ser. i), 148; Trans. Anglesey Antiq. Soc. 1948 pp. 4-7; CSP Dom. 1639-40, pp. 165, 369, 612; HMC 5th Rep. 418-20; NLW, ms 1546E, 3, f. 92.
  • 4. Williams, 41; Trans. Anglesey Antiq. Soc. 1948, 112-13; Carreglwyd mss, i./701.
  • 5. Cal. Wynn Pprs. pp. 188, 258-60; D’Ewes, 624, 649; CSP Dom. 1641-3, p. 170.
  • 6. Carreglwyd mss, i./1487; NLW, ms 1546E, 3, f. 99.