Thomas Holland (translator)

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Thomas Holland

Thomas Holland (1539, in Ludlow, Shropshire – 17 March 1612[1]) was an English Calvinist scholar and theologian, and one of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible.

He was a 1570 graduate of Exeter College, Oxford and Fellow of Balliol. In 1585 he served as personal chaplain to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, who was appointed governor of the Netherlands. Dudley, who was an ardent Protestant, utilized Holland in maintaining religious rigor among the troops during the two-year campaign which ended without great success and few battle engagements. For his service to Dudley, Holland was graciously rewarded by Queen Elizabeth.[1]

Returning to Oxford, Holland served as Rector of Exeter College and was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity in 1589. He was a member of the "First Oxford Company", responsible for the books of the Old Testament prophets, in the project to create an Authorised Version of the Bible for reading in the churches.

Holland was involved in a case of witchcraft brought by his sister in law, Anne Gunter, and her father, Brian Gunter, against local women who it was said had cursed Anne Gunter. The case went to the Star Chamber and Holland was called as an expert witness. Holland refused to believe that Anne was possessed by the devil and that she could it was claimed read with her eyes closed. It was eventually discovered to be the invention of Anne's father who had a vendetta against a local family.[1]

Holland is interred in the chancel of St Mary's church, Oxford.


  1. ^ a b c "Thomas Holland". King James Bible Translators. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  • McClure, Alexander. (1858) The Translators Revived: A Biographical Memoir of the Authors of the English Version of the Holy Bible. Mobile, Alabama: R. E. Publications (republished by the Marantha Bible Society, 1984 ASIN B0006YJPI8 )
  • Nicolson, Adam. (2003) God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible. New York: HarperCollins ISBN 0-06-095975-4
Academic offices
Preceded by
Lawrence Humphrey
Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford
Succeeded by
Robert Abbot
Preceded by
Thomas Glasier
Rector of Exeter College, Oxford
Succeeded by
John Prideaux