HOLT, James (1647-1713), of Castleton Hall, Rochdale, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. Oct. 1647, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Robert Holt (d.1675) of Stubley Hall, Rochdale by 2nd w. Catherine, da. of John Bullock of Darley, Derbys. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. 1664, BA 1668, MA 1670. m. 24 Feb. 1679, Dorothy (d. 5 Mar. 1719), da. of Thomas Grantham of Goltho, Lincs. and Meaux, Yorks., and coh. to her bro. Vincent, 7da. suc. bro. 1676.1

Offices Held

Fellow of Brasenose 1668-77; commr. for assessment, Lancs. 1677-80, 1689-90, j.p. 1677-Apr. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., dep. lt. 1685-7, 1689-d.2


Holt’s ancestors can be traced back in Rochdale parish to the 14th century, and they acquired Castleton at the dissolution of the monasteries. His father, a ship-money sheriff, was induced by the Earl of Derby to assist the King’s forces in the Civil War, and was fined £1,150 at one-sixth for his delinquency in 1646. He served on the commission for regulating corporations and in the militia after the Restoration, and died ‘very rich’. Holt himself was educated for the Church, but succeeded to ‘a vast estate’ on his brother’s death. He stood unsuccessfully for the county as a court candidate in September 1679, but was elected in 1685. The only member of his family to sit, he took no known part in James II’s Parliament. He was removed from the lieutenancy as an opponent of the King’s ecclesiastical policy, and in October 1688 he refused to serve under the Papist Lord Molyneux. In December he helped to call out the militia in defence of the Protestant cause, and stood for re-election in the following month with Lord Derby’s support. His defeat by the Whig Lord Brandon (Hon. Charles Gerard) apparently ended his political career, but he took the oaths to the new regime as a militia officer, and ordered the Wigan corporation to act against Jacobites and recusants in 1690. He died at York on 7 Jan. 1713, the last of the family, leaving bequests to Rochdale grammar school and to Brasenose, with which his family had been connected for several generations. He was buried in Rochdale parish church, where his epitaph describes him as well-instructed in sacred and secular learning, a faithful subject of the King [sic], an energetic upholder of the Church, and a despiser of the ignorant mob of fanatics.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. H. Fishwick, Rochdale, 154; Rochdale Par. Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. lviii), 33, 477, 483; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxv), 151; Brasenose Coll. Reg. (Oxf. Hist. Soc. lv), 212; Nonconformist Reg. ed. Turner, 43; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 423.
  • 2. Lancs. RO, QSC 80-130; Cavendish mss 9/9.
  • 3. VCH Lancs. v. 203-4, 222-4; H. Fishwick, Rochdale, 154, 271, 307-9; Royalist Comp. Pprs. (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. xxix), 257-61; SP29/61/157; Nonconformist Reg. 55; O. Heywood, Diaries, ii. 137; HMC Le Fleming, 162; HMC 11th Rep. VII, 28; HMC Kenyon, 235, 289.