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and but a part, of that just commendation which might be from thence enlarged, and shall then leave the indifferent reader to judge whether my error be an excess or defect of commendations
Sir Robert Wotton of Bocton Malherbe, Knight, was born about the year of Christ 1460 : He, living in the reign of King Edward IV. was by him trusted to be Lieutenant of Guisnes, to be Knight Porter, and Comptroller of Calais, where he died, and lies honourably buried.
Sir Edward Wotton of Bocton Malherbe, Knight (fon and heir of the said Sir Robert) was born in the year of Christ, 1489, in the reign of King Henry VII.; he was made Treasurer of Calais, and of the Privy Council to King Henry VIII. who offered him to be Lord Chancellor of England; « But," faith Hollinshed, in his Chronicle, « out of a virtuous modesty he “ refused it."
Thomas Wotton of Bocton Malherbe, Esquire, son and heir of the said Sir Edward, and the father of our Sir Henry that occasions this relation, was born in the year of Christ, 1521: He was a gentleman excellently educated, and studious in all the liberal arts; in the knowledge whereof he attained unto a great perfection; who, though he had (besides those abilities, a very noble and plentiful estate and the ancient interest of his prede'cessors) many invitations from Queen Elizabeth to change his country recreations and retirement for a court, offering him a knighthood (she was then with him at Bocton-hall), and that to be but as an earnest of some more honourable and more profitable employment under her ; yet he humbly refused both, being a man of great modesty, of a most plain and single heart, of an ancient freedom and integrity of mind. A commendation which Sir Henry Wotton took occasion often to remember with great gladness, and thankfully to boast himself the son of such a father; from whom indeed he derived that noble ingenuity : that was always practised by himself, and which he ever both commended and cherished in others. This Thomas was also remarkable for hospitality, a great lover and much beloved of his country; to which may justly be added, that he was a cherisher of learning, as appears by that excellent antiquary, Mr. William Lambert", in his Perambulation of Kent.
c Hollingshed informs us that the family of the Wottons was very ancient, and that “ Some persons of that fúrname for their fingularities “ of wit and learning, for their honour and government in and of the " realm, about the prince and elfewhere, at home and abroad, deserve “fuch coinmendations, that they merit niveo signari lapillo." (Chron. Vol. I. p. 1402.)
dWiLLIAM'LAMBARD of Lincoln's Inn, gent. a pupil of Lawrence Nowell the learned Antiquary, and known to the country magistrate as the author of " Eirenarcha, or of the Office of the Juliices of Peace, “ 1599," and of the “ Duties of Contables, Borsholders, Tithing-Men, “ and such other Lowe and Lay Minifiers of the Peace, 1601.” His
This Thomas had four sons', Sir Edward, Sir James, Sir John, and Sir Henry.
Sir Edward was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and made Comptroller of her Majesty's Household. “ He was," faith Camden, “a man remarkable for many and great employe “ments in the state during her reign, and several times Ambala “sador into foreign nations. After her death, he was by King " James made Comptroller of his Household, and called to be " of his Privy Council, and by him advanced to be Lord Wot“ton, Baron of Merley in Kent, and made Lord Lieutenant of " that county."
Sir James, the second son, may be numbered among the martial men of his age, who was in the thirty-eight of Queen Elizabeth's reign (with Robert Earl of Sussex, Count Lodowick of Nassau, Don Christophoro, son of Antonio King of Portugal, and divers other gentlemen of nobleness and valour) knighted in the field near Cadiz in Spain, after they had gotten great honour and riches, besides a notable retaliation of injuries by taking that towns.
“ Perambulation of Kent,” much applauded by Camden, encouraged many more men of learning to endeavour the like services for their country. His chief work is " The Archaionomia five de priscis Anglo. rum Legibus, 1568," being a translation of the Anglo-Saxon Laws.
e Sir HENRY Wotton, in a letter to Lord Zouch, dated Florence, Aug. 14, 1592, mentions his brother Edward, as having lost his wife, a gentlewoman, in his opinion, of most rare virtue ; his brother James as gone to serve in the Low Countries; and his brother John as retired to a solitary life, and at some difference with his lady.
P" My brother Edward hath, either against his will, as some fav, or " with it, as I say, been knighted.” (Letter to Lord Zouch, dated Sienna, Dec. 13, 1592.) -Sir Edward Wotton was, in 1585, lent Ambassador into Scotland, for the purpose of contracting a league oifentive and defensive with the King, to counteract the holy league, which the Pope, the Spanish King, the Guises, and others had made to extirpate the reformed religion. (Spotswood's Hist. p. 339.) His character, while he was engaged in that embassy, is thus drawn by Dr. Robertsoa. “This man was gay, well-bred, and entertaining; he excelled in all the “exercises for which James had a passion, aud amuled the young King " by relating the adventures which he had met with, and the obierva~ tions he had made during a long residence in foreign countries; but " under the veil of these superficial qualities, he concealed a dangerous " and intriguing fpirit. He soon grew into high favour with James, and " while he was seemingly attentive only to pleasure and diverfions, he " acquired influence over the public councils, to a degree which was “ indecent for a firanger to poisess.” (History of Scotland, B. VII.).
& The Earl of Essex made knights to the number of sixty. Some of them were persons of little fortunes, nor was Queen Elizabeth pleased with him for making knighthood fo common.
A knight of Cales, a gentleman of Wales, and a laird of the north countrie, A yeoman of Kent with his yearly rent will buy them out all three,
Sir John being a gentleman excellently accomplished, both by learning and travel, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and by her looked upon with more than ordinary fayour, and with intentions of preferment; but death in his younger years put a period to his growing hopes.
Of Sir Henry, my following discourse shall give an account.
The descent of these fore-named Wottons were all in a direct line, and most of them in their actions in the memory of those with whom we have conversed: But if I had looked fo far back as to Sir Nicholas Wotton (who lived, in the reign of King Richard II.) or before him, upon divers others of great note in their several ages, I might by some be thought tedious; and yet others may more justly think me negligent, if I omit to mention Nicholas Wotton, the fourth son of Sir Robert, whom I first named.
This Nicholas Wotton was Doctor of Law, and sometime Dean both of York and Canterburyh; a man whom God did not only bless with a long life, but with great abilities of mind, and an inclination to employ them in the service of his country, as is teftified by his several employments', having been sent nine times Ambassador* unto foreign princes; and by his being a Privy Councellor to King Henry VIII. to Edward VI. to Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth ; who also, after he had been, during the wars between England, and Scotland and France, three several times (and not unsuccessfully) employed in committees for fettling of peace betwixt this and those kingdoms,“ died,” faith learned Camden, “ full of commendations for wifdom and piety." He was also by the will of King Henry
h He was in fialled Dean of York, Dec. 4, 1544, as in 1542 he was confiituted the firti Dean of Canterbury by the Charter of Incorporation. Je held both these preferments to the tiine of his death, Jan, 26, 1566-7. What Sir Henry Wotton laid of Sir Philip Sidney, has been applied to Nicholas Woiton. “That he was the very measure of congruity." Henry VII. thus addretsed him on his appointinent to a foreign embassy ; “I i have sent a head by Cromwell, a purle by Wolsey, a sword by Bran. “ don, and muti now fend the law by you." (Lloyd's State Worthies, p. 107.)- He was confidered as possessing the qualifications of a fiatesinan in a very eminent degree. “Every younker speaks as politic as “ Bishop Gardner or Dr. Wotton.” (Spenser's Letters to his friend Immerito.)
i Camden, in his Britannica.
☆ It appears, from the inscription on his monument, that he was sent Ambassador twice to the Emperor Charles V. once to Philip King of Spain, once to Francis I. the French King, thrice to Henry II. his son, once to Mary Queen of Hungary, governor of the Low Countries, and twice to William Duke of Cleves: That he was also a Coinmissioner at the renewal of peace between the English, and French and Scats, at a place between Guisnes and Ardes, in 1546, and also at the castle, of Cambray, in 1559, and lastly at Edinburgh, în 1560.-See his life in a very valuable work lately published, entitled, “ Some account of the « Deans of Canterbury, from the new Foundation of that Church by “ Henry VIII, to the present Time. By Henry John Todd, M, A.”
Hollingshead. m Sir Edward Bilh Clarentieux, King of Arms, Mr. Charles Cotton, and Mr. Nick Oudert, fomerime Sir Henry Wotton's fervant, and one of the wilnesses to his lafi will.