William COTTON

(Bishop of Exeter)

Died: 26 Aug 1621, Silverton

Buried: 31 Aug 1621, Exeter Cathedral

Married: Mary ? (bur. 29 Dec 1629)



A native of London, but descended of an ancient family in Staffordshire: educated at Queen's College, Cambridge, and whilst Prebendary of St. Paul's, London, and Archdeacon of Lewes, was nominated by Queen Elizabeth, on 18 Aug 1598, to supply the vacant See of Exeter. The ceremony of his consecration took place on 12 Nov that year, but did not reach this city until 16 May 1599.

He soon made himself conspicuous by his hostility to the Puritans, and by his rigid exaction of the most unequivocal conformity to the State religion from all. But with earnest zeal for the Church, his 'Act Book' shows, that he was very neglectful of the 32nd of the Canons of 1603, forbidding making of persons "deacons and ministers, both together upon one day?' That he was deficient in temper and domineering in his manner, is manifest from his conference at Silverton - his usual place of abode - on 5 Apr 1616, with the Rev. Joseph Hassarde, who had been warmly recommended by the mayor and chamber of Exeter, and duly licensed by George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, to deliver Dr. Bodley's lectures here. No parent could be less unmindful of providing for his family in the Church: his Act Book shows that he derived very considerable profit from dispensations to eat flesh meat on fasting days, and licenses for marriage at prohibited times. Dying of the stone at Silverton on Sunday, 26th Aug, 1621, his remains were deposited on the 31st in the south aisle of the choir of this cathedral. His widow, Mary Cotton, was buried near him on 29 Dec 1629.

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