Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Holland, Thomas (d.1612)

HOLLAND, THOMAS (d. 1612), regius professor of divinity at Oxford, born at Ludlow in Shropshire, was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. 9 Dec. 1570, M.A. 18 June 1575, B.D. 13 July 1582, and D.D. 30 May 1584. He was elected chaplain fellow of Balliol College 13 Jan. 1573, and in 1585 went as chaplain with the Earl of Leicester to the Netherlands. From 1589 he was regius professor of divinity, and on 19 June 1598 he was allowed to stop the public disputations because his time was so occupied by the great number of those responding ‘pro forma’ (Oxf. Univ. Reg. ii. i. 133). On 29 March 1592 he was admitted a full fellow of Exeter College, and was in the same year elected rector by the influence of Queen Elizabeth, who depended on him to bring the college, where there were many Romanists, into strict conformity with the established church. During the queen's visit to Oxford, 22–8 Sept. 1592, he was the respondent in a disputation on divinity, and is specially mentioned amongst the doctors ordered to provide themselves with scarlet gowns and hoods for the credit of the university. He was again respondent in a disputation held before James I in 1605. His friend and protégé, Dr. John Prideaux, who succeeded him in the rectorship, wrote at his instigation in 1607 ‘Tabulæ ad Grammatica Græca Introductoriæ,’ and dedicated it to his patron. Holland was well versed in the learned languages, and was ‘mighty in scriptures.’ He was one of those appointed by James I to prepare the authorised version of the Bible (1611). With six other scholars in Oxford he was responsible for the translation of the four greater prophets, the ‘Lamentations,’ and the twelve lesser prophets. His strong protestant feeling is illustrated by the benediction with which he took leave of his fellows when going on a journey, ‘Commendo vos dilectioni Dei et odio Papatus et superstitionis.’ He died 17 March 1611–12, and was buried on 26 March in St. Mary's chancel, when Dr. Richard Kilbye preached his funeral sermon. His will was proved 20 April 1612. Susanna, his wife, survived him, and sold his stables to Dr. Prideaux. His son William matriculated from Exeter College 22 Nov. 1611, aged 16, and became a captain in the service of Charles I. His daughter Anne married Dr. John Whetcombe, vicar of Maiden Newton, Dorsetshire.

Holland's printed works are: 1. ‘Oratio habita cum Henricus Episc. Sarisburiensis [i.e. Henry Cotton] Gradum Doctoris susceperit,’ Oxford, 1599, 4to. 2. ‘Πανηγυρίς D. Elizabethæ Reginæ. A Sermon preached at Pauls in London the 17 of November, 1599. Whereunto is adioyned an Apologeticall Discourse for observing the 17 of November yeerely in the form of an Holy-Day,’ Oxford (by Joseph Barnes), 1601, 4to. His portrait is in the Hope collection in the Bodleian Library, and a fine engraving in Holland's ‘Herωologia.’

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 111, iii. 831, and Fasti, pt. i. p. 228; Savage's Balliofergus, 1668, p. 113; Hook's Archbishops of Canterbury, xi. 9; Eadie's The English Bible, 1876, ii. 185, 187; Boase's Exeter College, 1879, pp. 50, 55, 210; Oxf. Univ. Reg. (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), vol. i. 281, vol. ii. pts. i. ii. iii. iv.; Blunt's Reformation of the Church of England, 1882, ii. 470; Kilbye's Sermon at the Funerall of Thomas Holland, 1613; Henry Holland's Herωologia Anglica, 1620, p. 237–40, with portrait.]

G. C. B.