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date: 18 April 2021

Cotton, Johnlocked

(04 December 1584–23 December 1652)
  • Sargent Bush


Cotton, John (04 December 1584–23 December 1652), clergyman, was born in Derby, Derbyshire, England, the son of Roland Cotton, a lawyer, and Mary Hurlbert. A serious and talented student, he matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, at the age of thirteen. He received his B.A. in 1603 and his M.A. in 1606, the year he became a fellow at Emmanuel College. He remained there until 1612, serving as lecturer, catechist, dean, and tutor while acquiring a reputation as both an able disputant and a remarkable preacher. At first his preaching was in the learned and ornate style, but after being spiritually affected in 1609 by the preaching of Richard Sibbes, he adopted the plain Puritan style. Although this change was received with dismay by many of his admirers in Cambridge, it was responsible for the conversion of John Preston, later master of Emmanuel and an eminent Puritan divine. Cotton was ordained in 1610, and in 1613 he received the B.D. His first call was as vicar of St. Botolph’s Church in Boston, Lincolnshire, where he served from 1612 until shortly before his departure for New England in 1633. In 1613 Cotton married Elizabeth Horrocks, sister of a Lancashire minister. During his Lincolnshire ministry, Cotton ran an informal seminary for recent Cambridge graduates. Young Dutch and German exiles from the war on the Continent also lived with the Cottons, so that, as his contemporary ...

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