Cosin, Richard (DNB00)

COSIN, RICHARD (1549?–1597), civil lawyer, born at Hartlepool about 1549, was the son of John Cosin of Newhall, lieutenant to Thomas Dudley at the battle of Musselburgh (1547), who was either killed by the Scots soon after that battle, or was drowned on his way home. Richard's mother remarried one Medhope, by whom Richard was brought up. He was educated at Skipton school, and evinced so much precocity that he became a pensioner of Trinity College, Cambridge, 12 Nov. 1561, before he was twelve years old, and was soon afterwards elected a scholar, and subsequently fellow. Whitgift was his tutor, and was much impressed with his abilities. He proceeded B.A. in 1565–6, M.A. in 1569, and LL.D. in 1580. He subscribed against the new university statutes in May 1572; became chancellor of Worcester diocese and visitor of Lichfield Cathedral (20 Jan. 1582–3), and was appointed dean of arches and vicar-general of the province of Canterbury by Archbishop Whitgift 10 Dec. 1583. Cosin was an ecclesiastical commissioner of the diocese of Winchester in 1583–4, a visitor for the diocese of Gloucester in 1584, a member of the Society of Advocates 14 Oct. 1585, M.P. for Hindon, Wiltshire, 29 Oct. 1586 and again for Downton 4 Feb. 1588–9, and master in chancery 9 Oct. 1588. He was also a member of the ecclesiastical commission court. He died at his lodgings in Doctors' Commons 30 Nov. 1597, and his body was removed for burial at Lambeth on 9 Dec. Lancelot Andrewes preached the funeral sermon, and William Barlow, afterwards bishop of Lincoln [q. v.], for whose education Cosin had paid, wrote a biography in Latin, published in 1598. Barlow describes Cosin as learned and witty, and of powerful physique. With Barlow's biography was issued a collection of ‘Carmina Funebria’ in Greek, Latin, English, and Italian from the pens of Cosin's Cambridge friends. Cosin left 40l. to Trinity College Library, and 10l. to two poor scholars.

Cosin was the author of the following works on ecclesiastical law, all of which were treated as high authorities:

  1. ‘An Apologie of and for sundrie proceedings by Jurisdiction Ecclesiasticall,’ London, 1591, 1593, a defence of the ex-officio oath, in reply to ‘A Brief Treatise of Oaths,’ by James Morice, attorney of the court of wards. Morice's reply to Cosin was not published, and is in MS. Cott. Cleop. F. i.
  2. ‘An Answer to the two first and principall treatises of a certeine factious libell put foorth latelie … under the title of An Abstract of certeine Acts of Parliament,’ 1584. The ‘Abstract’ was a collection of canons and statutes claimed to support the presbyterian system of church government.
  3. ‘Conspiracie for Pretended Reformation, viz. Presbyteriall discipline,’ with a life of Hacket, executed as a presbyterian in 1591, and accounts of the opinions of Edmund Coppinger [q. v.] and H. Arthington.
  4. ‘Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ Politeia in Tabulas digesta,’ 1604, 1634.

[Strype's Whitgift; Strype's Aylmer, 91; Strype's Annals, III. i. 338, iv. 196; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. ii. 230–2, 551; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. xi. 300; Coote's Civilians, 55–8; Brit. Mus. Cat. ]

S. L. L.