William Holcott

People of Buckland

William Holcott

William Holcott was the last of the Holcotts who lived at Barcote Manor from c. 1292 until his death in 1575. He was born c. 1514 but little is known about his early life. In his will he bequeathed books to both Queen’s College, Oxford and University College, Oxford. He also gave a monetary bequest to each college to be used to pay for battels – provisions from the buttery – for a poor scholar. In return, the scholars were to give thanks to him after grace at each dinner and say one of the 22 divisions of the 119th Psalm. These bequests were probably made because Holcott had been a member of both colleges.

Holcott was imprisoned during Queen Mary I’s reign for his religious beliefs but renounced Protestantism in order to escape execution. After her death in 1558, he became a lay-preacher and is said to have mounted the pulpit dressed in a damask gown and velvet bonnet, sometimes adding a gold chain to the ensemble. He died without children and left Barcote manor to his nephew, Thomas Hutchinson. In his will he asked to be buried in the south aisle of Buckland church where his ancestors were buried or, if he should die at some distance from Barcote, his heart was to be buried in Buckland Church. It appears that he did die away from home as a triangular niche in the north wall of the chancel of Buckland St Mary the Virgin is said to contain his heart. A carved list of members of the Holcott family said to be buried in Buckland Church is mounted on the west wall of the South Transept.