William Cotton d.1621
William COTTON d.1621
Born in London, son of John Cotton. BA Queens’ College, Cambridge 1572, MA 1575. Prebendary of St Paul’s, and chaplain to Bishop Aylmer of London, 1577; archdeacon of Lewes 1578, and holder of several benefices in and around London thereafter. Bishop of Exeter, 1598. He regarded this as a poor and remote diocese, but never succeeded in his ambition to be translated somewhere better; he held a commission in the diocese to effect reforms, but is not reputed to have made a great difference, and attracted criticism for appointing his sons to Cathedral positions.
Cotton bequeathed all his books and apparel (“scarlette and robes excepted”) to be divided between his sons William and Edward; the size of the library is unknown. He gave 19 manuscripts to the Bodleian Library in 1605, mostly theological, written in England between the 12th and 15th centuries.
None of Cotton’s books have been identified.
- Will of William Cotton, The National Archives PROB 11/138/263.
- Pearson, D., The libraries of English bishops, 1600-1640, The Library 6th ser 14 (1992), 221-257.
- Wolffe, Mary. '"Cotton, William (d. 1621), bishop of Exeter."' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.