COTTON, William (c.1608-73), of Botreaux Castle, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



3 Aug. 1660

Family and Education

b. c.1608, 1st s. of William Cotton, precentor of Exeter Cathedral 1606-46; bro. of John Cotton II. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1629, BA 1632, MA 1635. m. (1) c.1639, Catherine (d.1649), wid. of John Rawlinson, DD, principal of St. Edmund Hall, Oxf., s.p.; (2) 27 May 1657, Eleanor Larder of Saltash, Cornw., s.p. suc. fa. 1656.1

Offices Held

Fellow of Exeter 1629-39; mayor, Tintagel 1646-?50; j.p. Cornw. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-9.2


Cotton’s grandfather, a notorious nepotist who claimed descent from the Cheshire family, became bishop of Exeter in 1598 and established his sons in the diocese. His father was deprived of all his possessions during the Civil War, both spiritual and temporal, and was reduced to living in a small rented house near Silverton. Although Cotton was fellow of his college for ten years, he was never ordained. Presumably he resigned in order to marry, a change of status he could well afford since through his mother he was heir to a moiety of the Hender estate. Although he had taken no known part in the Civil War, he did not stand at the general election of 1660. But after the Restoration he was involved in a double return at Camelford, which was resolved in his favour. He was appointed to no committees and made no recorded speeches in the Convention, but doubtless supported the Court. He did not stand again. He died on 25 Dec. 1673, leaving an estate of £800 p.a., and was buried at Minster.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: M. W. Helms


  • 1. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 652-3; PCC 74 St. John; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 240-1.
  • 2. Maclean, iii. 210.
  • 3. Maclean, i. 643-6; iii. 216, 262; Add. 18448, f. 30.