Raphael Holinshed, was born in Sutton Downes, Cheshire, in 1525. It is believed that he was educated at Cambridge University. His biographer, Cyndia Susan Clegg, has pointed out that "when he was probably in his late twenties and early thirties, he found employment in the London printing house of Reyner Wolfe, a committed evangelical, rather than seeking a living in the church". Wolfe employed Holinshed to assist him in his "grand plan to create a vast historical and geographical description of the world, complete with maps". Clegg believes that Holinshed was a religious reformer. (1)
Wolfe had established his business with the help of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The authors of some of the books he published included John Leland and Edward Seymour. (2) It was during this period that Holinshed began working on his Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. It formed part of a deliberate movement to elevate the status of England. Reyner Wolfe died in 1573 and his business was passed to his son-in-law, John Hun. (3) Holinshed continued with the work and the first edition of his two-volume work, comprising 2835 small folio pages, first appeared in 1577. (4)
It is believed that Raphael Holinshed died in 1580.
On the nineteenth June, 1535...three monks were hanged, drawn and quartered... for denying the King to be Head of the Church.
Thomas Wolsey was a poor man's son, of Ipswich... he reigned a long season, ruling all things within the realm.
On the fourteenth of November, 1532... the king married Lady Anne Boleyn... the marriage was kept so secret that very few knew it till Easter when it was discovered that she was with child.
Raphael Holinshed, historian, was the son of Ralph Holinshed or Hollingshead of Cophurst in the township of Sutton Downes, Cheshire. His cousin Ottiwell was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 19 December 1546, and though a layman was a canon of Windsor from 24 September 1550 until Mary's accession. Cooper in the 1850s reported the belief that Raphael Holinshed had been educated at Cambridge, and cited Thomas Baker's opinion that he had attended Trinity Hall. But Anthony Wood gave credit to a report that Raphael Holinshed was "a minister of God's word", thereby associating Holinshed with the growth of protestantism in England, and this may explain why during Mary's reign, when he was probably in his late twenties and early thirties, he found employment in the London printing house of Reyner Wolfe, a committed evangelical, rather than seeking a living in the church. Wolfe employed Holinshed to assist him in his grand plan to create "a universal cosmographie", a vast historical and geographical description of the world, complete with maps. The first edition of Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland appeared in 1577.