(8th great grandfather)
LONDON then DERBY, ENGLAND
Roland Cotton1,1, son of George Cotton & Margaret Whittacre. Born abt 1553 in London, Middlesex, England. Roland died in Derby, Derbyshire, England, on 21 Apr 1604; he was 51.2,2
Brief Bio: At the time of his father’s death, Roland was but a child of four or five and under British law,1 Roland, his younger brother, Thomas, and older sister, Tymothy, were in their minority.2 Having died a widower, George Cotton’s Will anticipated as much:3 I ordaine make and constitute my Saide two Sonnes Rowlande Cotton and Thomas Cotton myne executors of this my testament and laste will to whom I give all my goods … I will and ordaine that my trustie and well beloved friend John Cotton of the Inner Temple in London gentleman Raffe Hawle of London Scrivener and xrofer Robinson of London shall have the administracon and orderinge of all my goodes … untill such a tyme as one of my Saide Executors shalbe of lawfull age to take uppon hym the execucion of this my Testament.4
Soon after George Cotton’s Will was probated, a cleric named Robert Cotton challenged the Will in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.5 For the challenge to have had any chance of success, this Robert Cotton must have been a close relative- perhaps even a brother. As the only remaining record of the case is the verdict, details of Robert’s challenge are unknowable.6 The court, however, ruled against Robert in favor of the three administrators named in George Cotton’s Will: John Cotton, Ralph Hall, and Christopher Robinson.7 Though specifics of Roland Cotton’s lost inheritance remain a mystery, one or more of the administrators of his father’s Will had to have been involved.
George provided for his sons’ education in his Will saying, “kepe my sayde two Sonnes at learninge untill they be some thinge entred into theire grammer. And afterworde in suche place… conveniente to putt them to farther learninge… untill the time of their saide ages.”8 The goal of grammar school in sixteenth-century England was eventual entry to university or one of the Inns of Court.9 As Roland Cotton lived in the parish of St. Giles-without-Cripplegate, he likely completed grammar school at nearby St. Paul’s School. Students entered St. Paul’s School in the First Form at age six after having learned to read and write at home and graduated from grammar school at the age of fourteen after completing the Eighth Form.10
At age fourteen, with guidance from his mentors, Roland was encouraged to follow in his father’s footsteps and entered the Inner Temple to study law. At such a young age, it is likely he first enrolled in one of the Inns of Chancery under Inner Temple control.11 Though schooled in Latin, it was of little use to Roland as an aspiring barrister since legal French was the distinctive working language of the bar.12 The dialect was a remnant of Old Norman French that had been used in English courts from the time of William the Conqueror.13 Within the Inns of Court, the dialect survived and by the sixteenth century had morphed into the legalese by which barristers were required to recite their pleadings before the King’s Bench in the Royal Courts of Law.14 To master legal French, aspiring barristers participated in moots and many gained experience by obtaining placement with a practicing barrister to observe the law in action.15
Because no set criteria for admission to the bar existed in sixteenth-century England, the time it took to become a practicing barrister most often was left to those with power over the bar. As a result, admissions were influenced by favoritism and patronage. Once a member of the bar, barristers primarily argued cases in the Court of the King’s Bench and the elite nature of barristers stemmed from the fact that the King’s bench only heard cases of interest to the Crown. Most aspiring barristers did not expect to achieve the bar until midlife and earned their way representing clients in the Court of Chancery or the Court of Common Pleas. The Court of Chancery adjudicated matters of equity including trusts, land law, the administration of estates, and guardianship matters while the Court of Common Pleas heard civil cases.16
Ultimately, not all who aspired to the bar became barristers, and it was not uncommon that a would-be barrister settled as a common lawyer to represent clients in civil and estate matters. This seems to have been the case for Roland Cotton, who at age twenty-six abandoned redress of his lost inheritance and moved one hundred and thirty miles north of London to the East Midlands where he opened a law office in the town of Derby, married Mary Hulbert, and fathered four children, Mary, John, Roland, and Thomas.17
The Cotton family lived on Full Street in the heart of Derby within a ten-minute walk of St. Alkmund’s Church and five minutes of the Derby School.18 The Derby School was founded in the twelfth century but closed in 1536 following the Dissolution of the Monasteries to then reopen under Queen Mary in 1554. Roland Cotton valued education and prepared his firstborn son, John, for entry to the Derby School by teaching him how to read and write both English and Latin. In the late sixteenth century, only one in every four hundred English children were fortunate enough to attend grammar school.19 In 1593, at age eight, John Cotton entered the Derby School to study under its headmaster, Richard Johnson. Concurrent to serving as headmaster of the Derby School from 1590 to 1610,20 Richard Johnson attended Trinity College, Cambridge from 1591 to 1608.21 While at Trinity, Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in 1595, a master’s degree in 1598, a bachelor of divinity degree in 1608, and served as a Fellow from 1597 until his 1604 marriage to Katharine Smith.22
On 16 Aug 1582 when Roland was 29, he married Mary Hulbert in Derby, Derbyshire, England.3 Born in 1561 in Unknown. Mary died in Unknown abt 1610; she was 49.
They had the following children:
2 i. Mary (1583-)
3 ii. Rev. John (1584-1652)
4 iii. Roland (1588-)
5 iv. Thomas (1594-1646)
2. Mary Cotton. Born in 1583 in Derby, Derbyshire, England.4,4 Mary died in Unknown.
3. Rev. John Cotton5,6,7,8,6,7. Born early Dec 1584 in Derby, Derbyshire, England.9,9 John died in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, on 23 Dec 1652; he was 68.10,6,7,10,6,7 Buried on 28 Dec 1652 in King’s Chapel Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts.10,10
Brief Bio: Rev. John Cotton, son of Roland Cotton, Esq., was born in Derby, England, 4 Dec., 1585; grad. Emanual College, Cambridge, and was Vicar of Boston, England, 1626-1633. He came to America in the Griffin, arriving 4 Sept., 1633. Installed teacher of the church of Boston, Mass., 17 Oct., 1633. His second wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Story, widow, survived him at his death in 1652, and, four years later, married Mr. Richard Mather of Dorchester. His will, dated 30 Nov., proved 27 Jan. (11 mo.), 1652, mentions his brother Coney, his sister Mary Coney and their son John [p.16] Coney.Savage, I, 462; Pope, 119-120.* His first wife’s name was Elizabeth Horrocks, as we learn from the following entry of his marriage: “1613, Johannes Cotton de Boston cler’ in Theolog’ Baca-laurius et Elizabetha Harcocks de Cantab singel’ nupti Julij 30. From Parish Registers of Balsham, Cambridgeshire. In Pope and other authorities she is called Horrocks.*”
On 3 Jul 1613 when John was 28, he first married Elizabeth Horrocks11, daughter of Christopher Horrocks, Balsham, Cambridgeshire, England.12 Born in 1585 in Bolton le Moors, Lancashire, England. Elizabeth died in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, in Apr 1631; she was 46.
On 25 Apr 1632 when John was 47, he second married Sarah Hawkred5,8, daughter of Anthony Hawkred & Isabel Bonner, Boston, Lincholnshire, England.13,14 Born in 1601 in Boston, Lincolnshire, England.15 Sarah died in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on 27 May 1676; she was 75.6,6
They had the following children:
- Seaborn16 (1633-1686)
- Sarah (1635-1650)
- Elizabeth (1637-1656)
- Rev. John Jr.17,6,18,17,6,18 (1639-1699)
- Maria19,6,19,6 (1641-1714
- Rowland (1644-1650)
- 1 One’s minority ended at age eighteen in 16th century England.
- 2 Kirkpatrick, Kenneth W, and John A Brayton. 1999. “Cottoniana or That Cotton-Pickin’ Somerby!.” The New Hampshire Genealogical Record 16 (4). Dover: 145–70.
- 3 See Appendices for a full transcription of George Cotton’s Will.
- 4 Cotton, George. 1560. Will of George Cotton, Gentleman of Saint Giles Without Cripplegate, City of London. Edited by Mellershe (Register). Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC).
- 5 Haddon, Walter, LLD. 1559. Verdict on Challenge to Will of George Cotton 1559. Translated by Katherine M Longley. Canterbury.
- 6 See Appendix for a full transcription of the verdict.
- 7 This John Cotton may have been a relative of George Cotton but certainly not a sibling, or he would have been referred to as ‘brother’ in George’s Will.
- 8 Cotton, George. 1560. Will of George Cotton, Gentleman of Saint Giles Without Cripplegate, City of London. Edited by Mellershe (Register). Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC).
- 9 The Inns of Court functioned as a ‘3rd university’ (after Oxford and Cambridge) to provide legal education to aspiring barristers. According to Wilfred Prest in The Rise of the Barristers. roughly twenty percent of barristers followed in the footsteps of their fathers in the 17th century. The Inns of Court had a monopoly on legal training up until the 19th century as until then the only law taught in English universities was ecclesiastical cannon law. The four institutions comprising the Inns of Court are: Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Lincoln’s Inn and Grey’s Inn.
- 10 Mead, Hugh. 2006. “A Brief History of the St. Paul’s School.” London. http://www.oldpaulinelodge.org.uk/School.htm.
- 11 The Inns of Chancery or “lesser inns” offered training in the writing and employment of writs and other procedures in use in the common laws court. The three inns under control of the Inner Temple were Lyon’s Inn, Clifford’s Inn and Clement’s Inn.
- 12 Prest, Wilfrid R. 1986. The Rise of the Barristers. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- 13 Kelham, Robert. A Dictionary, of the Norman or Old French Language, London, 1779.
- 14 By the end of the 17th Century, Legal French was more and more neglected as Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth removed much of the relics of archaic ritual from legal and government processes. However, terms from Legal French are still in use today. Bailiff, defendant, force majeure, jury, larceny, mortgage, parole and voir dire are a few of the more common examples.
- 15 Baker, J H. 2015. “Inner Temple History.” Inner Temple Admissions Database. London. Accessed April 24.www.innertemplearchives.org.uk/index.asp.
- 16 Prest, Wilfrid R. 1986. The Rise of the Barristers. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 8-9
- 17 The St. Alkmund’s Church Register: 1550-1650 in the Diocese of Lichfield records the August 16, 1582, Roland Cotton’s marriage to Maria Hulbert. A little over a year later on September 1, 1583 the baptism of Marya fil Rolandi Cotton was recorded and about three weeks later on September 23, 1583 another baptism of Maria fil Rolandi Cotton” was recorded. One or both of these entries document the birth of Roland Cotton’s daughter, Mary. Alternately, it is possible that either before or after daughter Mary’s birth, Roland’s wife, Mary, was also baptized. The next Cotton entry in the St. Alkmund’s registry recorded the baptism of Roland’s firstborn son, Johannes fil Rolandi Cotton, on December 15, 1584, followed by the baptism of his namesake, Rolandi fil Rolandi Cotton on March 17, 1587, and Thomas fil Rolandi Cotton on May 19, 1594.
- 18 Tacchella, B, ed. 1902. Derby School Register. London: Bemrose & Sons, Ltd.
- 19 Brown, J. Howard. 1972. Elizabethan Schooldays. New York: Benjamin Bloom Inc.
- 20 Tacchella, B, ed. 1902. Derby School Register. London: Bemrose & Sons, Ltd.
- 21 Trinity College was formed in 1546 when King’s Hall, Michael House, and seven other hostels were merged under the influence of Catherine Parr, 6th wife of Henry VIII.
- 22 Venn, John. 2015. “Alumni Cantabrigienses.” Cambridge University Library. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, page 10.
- “St. Alkmund’s Church Register,” 1550 -1650, Derby, Derbyshire, England, Parish Record Book, Derby, England, page for 1604.
- “St. Alkmund’s Church Register,” 1550 -1650, Derby, Derbyshire, England, Parish Record Book, Derby, England, page for 1582.
- “St. Alkmund’s Church Register,” 1550 -1650, Derby, Derbyshire, England, Parish Record Book, Derby, England, page for 1583.
- La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I.
- John Wingate Thornton, Esq., LL.B., “Genealogies: The Cotton Family,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume I; Issue No. 2, April 1847, page 164.
- Meredith B. Colket, Founders of Early American Families: Emigrants from Europe 1607 – 1657, The Order of Founders and Patriots of America, (Revised Edition), page 82.
- Savage, James, Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Genealogical Publising Co. Inc., Baltimore 1965, Vol. III of IV, page 49.
- “St. Alkmund’s Church Register,” 1550 -1650, Derby, Derbyshire, England, Parish Record Book, Derby, England, page for 1584.
- La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, page 19.
- Adams, Oscar Fay, “Our English Parent Towns: Malden,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 62, 1908.
- “Balsham Church Records,” 1550-1650, Balsham, Cambridgeshire, England, Parish Record Book, Balsham, Cambridgeshire, England.
- La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, page 14.
- “St. Botolph’s Church Records,” 1500-1600, Boston, Lincolnshire, England, Parish Record Book, Boston, Lincolnshire, England, page showing; Jan., Feb., March and April 1632.
- The Geneologist, “Additions to the Ancestry of Sarah (Hawkredd) (Story)(Cotton) Mather of Boston, Lincolnshire,” John Anderson Brayton, Volume 21, No. 2, Fall 2007.
- John Wingate Thornton, Esq., LL.B., “Genealogies: The Cotton Family,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume I; Issue No. 2, April 1847.
- La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, page 24.
- Savage, James, Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Genealogical Publising Co. Inc., Baltimore 1965, Vol. III of IV, page 49, page 462.
- La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, pages 24 & 25.
- “St. Alkmund’s Church Register,” 1550 -1650, Derby, Derbyshire, England, Parish Record Book, Derby, England, page for 1587.
- “St. Alkmund’s Church Register,” 1550 -1650, Derby, Derbyshire, England, Parish Record Book, Derby, England, page for 1595.
- Isabel parent of spouse of 3
- Elizabeth child of 3
- George parent of 1
- Rev. John 3
- Rev. John Jr. child of 3
- Maria child of 3
- Mary 2
- Roland 1
- Roland 4
- Rowland child of 3
- Sarah child of 3
- Seaborn child of 3
- Thomas 5
- Anthony parent of spouse of 3
- Sarah spouse of 3
- Christopher parent of spouse of 3
- Elizabeth spouse of 3
- Mary spouse of 1
- Margaret parent of 1
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