Robert Cotton, antiquarian, book-collector, and politician, was born on 22 January 1571 into a prosperous and well-established family of minor nobility based in Huntingdonshire. He attended the Westminster School, where his schoolmaster was the antiquarian William Camden. Cotton graduated BA from Jesus College Cambridge in 1586, and spent a year at the Middle Temple in 1589. Around this time he joined the new Society of Antiquaries, along with Camden and others, and also began acquiring manuscripts. Indeed, Cotton quickly gained a reputation as a collector, for around the turn of the century Sir Thomas Bodley asked him to donate manuscripts to the new library then being built in Oxford.

Cotton's fortunes improved further under James I. He was held in favour by the king, was knighted in

780 words

Citation: Stokes, Peter Anthony. "Sir Robert Cotton". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 October 2006 [, accessed 17 April 2024.]

1034 Sir Robert Cotton 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.