Gervase Holles 1606-1675

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Gervase HOLLES 1606-1675

Armorial stamp of Gervase Holles (British Armorial Bindings)

Biographical Note

Born at Grimsby, son of Freschville Holles. He was educated in the household of his relative John Holles, 1st Earl of Clare, before entering the Middle Temple in 1628. He spent much of the 1630s back in Grimsby, where he was mayor 1636-38, and MP in 1640. He was much involved in m ilitary action as a royalist soldier during the 1640s and spent the Interregnum in exile in The Netherlands. He returned to England in 1660 and became MP for Grimsby again, and Master of Requests.


Holles was keenly interested in antiquarian studies and during the 1630s began collecting materials relating to the history of Lincolnshire; some of these manuscripts are now in the British Library, but others were destroyed during the Civil War. His Memorials of the Holles family (edited by A. C. Wood, 1937) are valued as a historical record. A couple of printed books with his armorial stamp are recorded, but the extent of his library is not known. One of his own verses, in one of the manuscripts of his family history, captures his love of his books:"Here in a quiet calm and silence I/Can sit amidst my books, delightfully/Conversing with the souls of all those great/Heroes in arts and action, who are met/To entertain my fancy".


  • British Armorial Bindings.
  • Goulding, R. W., Gervase Holles, "a great lover of antiquities", Transactions of the Thoroton Society 26 (1922), 36-70.
  • Holles, G., ed. A. C. Wood, Memorials of the Holles family, Camden Society 3rd series vol. 55, London, 1937.
  • Seddon, P. R. "Holles, Gervase (1607–1675), antiquary." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.