Francis Cottington
Died: 19 Jun, 1652
Burial Date: 24 Jun, 1678
Field: Diplomat
Location in the Abbey: Chapel of st paul
Type of memorial: Statue; bust
Type of material: Marble

Francis, Baron Cottington of Hanworth, and his wife, have monuments in the chapel of St Paul in Westminster Abbey. He was born about 1579, a son of Philip Cottington of Godmanston in Somerset and his wife Jane (Biflete). He was twice ambassador to Spain.

Anne Cottington

In 1622 Francis married Anne, daughter of William Meredith and widow of Sir Robert Bertt. She died on 22 February 1634 (in modern dating) and Francis set up a black marble monument with a bronze bust of her in St Paul’s chapel where she is buried. The bust is by the sculptor Hubert Le Sueur and is surrounded by a wreath, both of which have been re-gilded. On an elaborate tablet below is the inscription:

“Dedicated to the memory of Anne the pious and beloved wife of Francis Lord Cottington Baron of Hanworth in the county of Middlesex. Daughter of Sir Will: Meredith of the county of Denbigh Knt. [Knight] and of Jane his wife, daughter of Sir Tho: Palmer of Wingham in Kent, Knt. and Baronet. Who having lived in longe & perfect coniugall [conjugal] affection dyed full of Christian comfort the 22th day of Febr.Anno.1633, aetatis [aged] 33 having had one sonne and fower daughters of which Frances, Elizabeth and Anne dyed before her, Charles and Anne now living anno 1635.”

Francis was secretary to Charles, Prince of Wales, a Member of Parliament and Chancellor and Under Treasurer of the Exchequer to Charles I 1629-42. He was made a Baron in 1631 and Lord High Treasurer 1643-46. For his adherence to the Royalist cause Francis was ruined and forced to flee abroad in exile. He never returned to England and later lived at Valladolid in Spain, having become a Roman Catholic. He died there on 19 June 1652.

Francis Cottington re-burial and monument

His remaining children had pre-deceased him and it was his nephew Charles who brought his remains to the Abbey for burial many years later and erected a monument to him below that of Anne. The marble effigy, possibly by Francesco Fanelli, reclines on a rush mattress wearing a lace collar, knee breeches and gown with large rosettes on his shoes. His staff of office lies on the mattress. This monument was originally free standing supported by six Ionic columns. But when a large statue of James Watt was put in this chapel in 1825 the effigy was moved up to its present position on a sarcophagus. The inscription reads:

“Here lyes Francis Ld.Cottington of Hanworth who in ye reign of K.Ch. [Charles] ye 1st was Chancellor of His Maties. [Majesty’s] Exchequer, Mr: [Master] of his Court of Wards, Constable of ye Tower, Ld.High Treasurer of England & one of His Maties. Privy Councell. He was twice Ambassador in Spaine once for ye said King & a second tyme for K.Ch: ye 2nd now reigning, to both wch. hee most signally shewd [showed] his alleagance & fidelity during ye unhappy civill broils of those times & for his faithfull adhaerance to ye Crowne (ye usurpers praevayling) was forc’t [forced] to fly his country & during his exile dyed at Vallidolid in Spaine on ye 19th day of June. An.Dni. 1652 aet. svae. [aged]74. Whence his body was brought & here interr’d by Charles Cottington Esqr. his nephew & heire, An.Dni.1679”.

However the Abbey burial register says the remains were buried on 24 June 1678. Above the inscription is an heraldic achievement showing a fess between three roses, with two falcon supporters and a crest of a buck’s head.

Photos of the monument, and copy of the engraving of its original form, can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.

Click on the images to enlarge

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