Madingley is a village near Coton on the western outskirts of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The village is home to Madingley Hall that was built by Sir John Hynde in 1543. Two generations of his descendants lived in Madingley Hall before his great-granddaughter Jane Hynde inherited the property in 1634 when she was two years old. At the age seventeen in 1647, she married Sir John Cotton, 1st Baronet of Landwade and from 1647 until the 1860s, Madingley Hall was home to six generations of the Cotton family.

In 1860, Queen Victoria rented the Hall for her son Edward (the future King Edward VII) as a residence while he was an undergraduate at Cambridge University. The Cotton family eventually sold the Hall in 1871. Today the Hall, its surrounding park and farmland are owned by the University of Cambridge, which purchased the property in1948 just after World War II.

The Cotton Baronetcy of Landwade was created 14 July 1641 naming John Cotton the 1st Baronet.

The Crown established Baronets soon after James 6th of Scotland became James I of England. As Scotland had no Parliament, James butted heads with the English Parliament over revenues. To help raise money, James established the Order of Baronets by granting the first Letters of Patent to two hundred gentlemen of good birth with an income of at least £1,000 per annum and required them to pay £1,095 annually in support of the army.

Charles I carried on establishing Baronets beginning in 1625 and established the Cotton Baronetcy in 1641. Under Charles I, baronets were required to contribute 2,000 marks to the Crown. In Scotland, the “merk Scots” was a silver coin valued at 160 pence (13 shillings and 4 pence) or two-thirds of a Pound Sterling.

John Cotton, 1st Baronet of Landwade and the Rev. John Cotton were contemporaries and as both lived during the Stuart Reign. If the traditional Cotton Lineage holds true, the two were 5th cousins though it seems likely that neither was aware of the other’s existence.

It is ironic that while the Landwade Cottons ingratiated and indebted themselves to the Crown to become baronets, Rev. John Cotton was a reformer and part of the Cambridge “revolution” that evolved into the British Civil War that cost Charles his head. Given Rev. John Cotton’s puritan leanings and the fact that a warrant was issued for his arrest and appearance before the Star Chamber, it can be assumed that he found the selling of titles abhorrent in a manner similar to Martin Luther having found the selling of dispensations abhorrent.



© Barry A. Cotton