Henry Holden was born in either 1596 or 1597 at Mitton in Lancashire. He died in Paris in either March 1661 or March 1662. He was the son of Richard Holden of Chaigley Manor, Mitton, Lancashire and Eleanor, daughter of Miles Gerard of Ince, Wigan, Lancashire. He entered the seminary at Douai in September 1618, where one of his teachers was Thomas White, and he was ordained at Cambrai in March 1622. He moved to the writers' foundation set up by the English secular clergy in Paris, known as the College d'Arras (founded in 1611). He became a doctor of the Sorbonne. His career was spent almost entirely in Paris, and he eventually became vicar-general of the Paris diocese. In 1625, dissatisfied with the squabbling among the seculars at the writers' college, he joined the house-hold of Michel de Marillac, the finance minister of Cardinal Richelieu, who in 1626 became chancellor of France and in whose circle Holden would meet influential French churchmen including leading Gallicans such as François de Harlay de Champvallon, Archbishop of Rouen (with whom Holden would later be closely associated). He was from the start a member of the politically active faction among the English secular clergy (based in part at the Paris writers' college which had housed Gallican thinkers like Anthony Champney, whose confidence he enjoyed when the latter was elected Dean of the English secular clergy Chapter in 1637). With letters of commendation from Champney, Holden went to Rome in 1638 to replace Peter Fitton as the secular clergy's agent there. The purpose of the visit was to persuade Rome to appoint a successor or coadjutor to Richard Smith (who had withdrawn from England as a result of disputes with the religious) and to get the secular clergy's Chapter, which had been set up in arguably irregular circumstances in the 1620s, recognized by Rome.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.