The Cotton Library.55

The Cotton Library.

Jewels, precious Stones, Pearls, and Rings, more than any Jeweller could judge the Price, (for so saith mine Author) was, with all this Apparel, Ornaments, and Chapel itself, burnt: But since again re-edified by Anthony Earl Rivers, Lord Scales, and of the Isle of Wight, Uncle and Governour to the Prince of Wales, that should have been King Edward the Fifth, &c.

There is a Warrant from Richard the Third, to this Tenor: Sir John Cave, Priest, Keeper of our Lady of Pew: An Annuity of ten Marks, until the Time he be better promoted.

Keeper of our Lady of Pew.

K. R. 3. Journal.

In this Passage out of Westminster Hall into the old Palace Yard, a little beyond the Stairs going up to St. Stephen's Chapel, (now the Parliament House) on the left Hand, is the House belonging to the ancient and noble Family of the Cottons: Wherein is kept a most inestimable Library of Manuscript Volumes, famed both at Home and Abroad.

J. S.

Cotton House.

This choice Library in Cotton House, had for its first Founder Sir Robert Cotton of Connington in the County of Huntingdon, Baronet: Who, at his own great Charge and Expence, and by the Assistance of most learned Antiquaries of the Time, collected and purchased (as it runs in the Act for the Settlement of this Library) the most useful Manuscripts, written Books, Papers, Parchments, Records, and other Memorials in most Languages; of great Use and Service for the Knowledge and Preservation of our Constitution both in Church and State. Which Manuscripts, and other Writings, were procured as well from the Parts beyond the Seas, as from several private Collectors of such Antiquities within the Realm; and are generally esteemed the best Collection of its Kind now any where extant.

The Cotton Library, founded by Sir Rob. Cotton.

There was therefore, for the Preservation of it for after-Times, an Act of Parliament, made 12. & 13. Will. 3. for the settling and preserving the said Library in the House at Westminster, called Cotton House, in the Name and Family of the Cottons, for the Benefit of the Publick. This Library hath been preserved with the utmost Care and Diligence, by the late Sir Tho. Cotton, Son of Sir Robert; and Sir John Cotton of Westminster, his Grandson; and very much augmented and enlarged by them. The said Sir John, in pursuance of the Desire and Intention of his Father and Grandfather, was content and willing that the said Mansion House and Library should continue in the Family and Name, and not be sold, or otherwise disposed and imbezzilled; and should be kept and preserved, by the Name of the Cottonian Library, for publick Use and Advantage.

Settled in Cotton House by Act of Parliament.

And so, by the said Act, immediately, upon the Death of Sir John Cotton, it was, together with the Mansion-house, Garden &c. settled and vested in Trustees; who were to take Care of the said Library, and appoint Orders and Rules for the Reading and using the same, and for the better Preservation of Books: And to nominate and appoint a good and sufficient Person, well read in Antiquities and Records, to have the immediate Care and Custody of it. And he to give Security to the Value of 500l. by Recognizance with certain Sureties, that none of the Manuscripts, written Books, &c. should be lost or embezilled: And likewise to take an Oath before the Lord Chancellor, or Lord Keeper, to use his utmost Care and Endeavour for preserving of the same. That the said House with the Apurtenances and Library, be never subject or liable to any Judgments, Statutes, Recognizances, or any other Incumberances. The Trustees to be the Lord Chancellor or Lord Keeper for the Time being, the Speaker of the House of Commons for the Time being, Sir Robert Cotton of Hatley St. George in the County of Cambridge, Knight, Philip Cotton of Connington in the same County, Esquire, Robert Cotton of Giddin in Huntingdonshire, and William Hanbury of the Inner Temple, London, Esquires. And in Case of the Decease of the last four Persons, the said John Cotton, or other Heir Males of the said Family, who shall be in Possession of the Mansion-House, shall nominate or appoint one or more fit Persons to succeed him or them. And that all Bargains, Sales, Gifts, Grants, Devises, or other Alienations whatsoever, of any of the Manuscripts, Parchments, &c. or other Memorials, in the Schedule now remaining in the said Library; and also all Coins, Medals, and other Rarities there contained, are hereby declared to be absolutely Void, and of none Effect. That within six Months after the Library-Keeper shall undertake the said Office, he shall cause another Schedule to be made in Parchment; which shall contain the Names and Titles of all the said Manuscripts, &c. and all the Number of Pages and Folio's thereunto belonging, and cause the same to be enrolled in the High Court of Chancery.


A Library Keeper.

There was a new Catalogue of this Library printed at the Oxford Theatre Anno 1696, from a careful and serious Review thereof, taken by Tho. Smith, D.D. prefixing the Life of Sir Robert Cotton, the learned Founder, and an History and Survey of the said Library.]

A Catalogue of this Library.

The said Palace, before the Entry thereunto, hath a large Court, and in the same a Tower of Stone, containing a Clock, which striketh every Hour on a great Bell, to be heard into the Hall in Sitting Time of the Courts, or otherwise. For the same Clock, in a Calm, will be heard into the City of London. King Henry the Sixth gave the Keeping of this Clock, with the Tower, called the The Clock House, and the Appurtenances, unto William Walsby, Dean of St. Stephens, with the Wages of six Pence the Day., out of his Exchequer.

Clock-House at Westminster.

It was first built and furnished with a Clock, out of a Fine which one Justice Ingham was fain to pay, being 800 Mark, for erazing a Roll. For that a poor Man being fined in an Act of Debt at 13s. 4d. the said Justice, moved with Pity, caused the Roll to be erazed, and made it 6s. 8d. This Case Justice Southcote remembered, when Catlyn Chief Justice of the King's Bench in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, would have ordered a Razure of a Roll; Southcote being one of the Judges of that Court, utterly denyed to assent to it, and said openly, That he meant not build a Clock House.]

Built out of a Fine. Coke's Instit. B. 3. p. 72.

J. S.

By this Tower standeth a Fountain, which, at Coronations and great Triumphs, is made to run with Wine out of divers Spouts.

Fountain in the Palace Court.

On the East Side of this Court, is an arched Gate to the River of Thames, with a fair Bridge and Landing Place for all Men that have Occasion.

Westminster-Bridge, or common Landing Place.

On the North Side is the South End of St. Stephens's Alley, or Chanon Row, and also a Way into the old Wool Staple: And on the West Side is a very fair Gate, began by Richard the Third in the Year 1484, and was by him builded a great Height, and many fair Lodgings in it; but left unfinished, and is called the High Tower at Westminster.

High Tower at Westminster.

In the Palace Yard were anciently Pales; within which were two Messes, the one called Paradise, and the other called the Constabulary: Both which were granted to John Duke of Bedford, 13. Hen. 6.

Paradise. The Constabulary.

Rec. Tur.

J. S.

The Keeper of the Palace of Westminster, was also customarily the Keeper of the Prison of the

Keeper of the Palace.