Holliday, Leonard

Person Key: 
Family Name: 
First Name(s): 
Person Title: 
Death Year: 

Leonard Holliday, Mercer and Alderman of London, was born ca. 1550 in Rodborough in Gloucestershire, the son of clothmaker William Halliday and his wife Sarah Brydges. Moving to London in the 1560s, he served an apprenticeship in the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors. In 1592 he became a member of the Levant Company. Two years later he entered local politics by becoming an alderman, and also one of the city's sheriffs for 1595-1596. In September 1599, he and 124 other merchants formed the East India Company, which was chartered on 31 December 1600. In May 1578, he married an heiress: Anne, daughter of William Wincoll (or Wincott or Winhold) of Suffolk. They had three children. Holliday was knighted 26 July 1603 at Whitehall, and was Lord Mayor of London from October 1605 to October 1606, during the time of the Gunpowder Plot. He presented sixteen works of Continental Protestant theology to St John's College, Oxford in 1600. This and a similar gift by his fellow Mercer, Robert Lee, was an attempt to balance the Roman Catholic bias given to the library by its earlier donors, Henry Cole, Gabriel Dunne, and Thomas Paynell, about a third of whose books were discarded as duplicates in 1612. The arms Sable three close helmets within a bordure engrailed or were confirmed to him by William Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms 21 September 1605. The border round the stamp is virtually identical with borders on stamps of Sir Edward Coke, Sir Thomas Ducket, and Sir John Malet. Holliday died on 9 January 1612. In November 1613, his widow married Sir Henry Montagu (later 1st Earl of Manchester). She died in 1619.

Biographical Sources: 
St John's College Benefactors Book columns 30 31
Sears Jayne. Library catalogues of the English renaissance. London, 1983
Paul Morgan. Oxford libraries outside the Bodleian. 2nd edition. Oxford, 1980. A.C. Wood. "The Holles family". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 4th series, v. 19,