Cotterell, Charles (DNB00)

COTTERELL, Sir CHARLES (1612?–1702), master of the ceremonies and translator, born in 1612, was son of Sir Clement Cotterell of Wylsford, Lincolnshire, groom-porter to James I for twenty years, who was appointed muster-master of Buckinghamshire by the influence of Villiers in December 1616 (Egerton Papers, Camd. Soc. 484). In early life Charles was able to speak and read most modern languages, and in 1641 succeeded Sir John Finet as master of the ceremonies. His closest friend at court was William Aylesbury [q. v.], whom he assisted in translating Davila's ‘History of the Civil Wars in France.’ On Charles I's execution, Cotterell, as a royalist, fled to Antwerp, and in 1650 entertained at his house there many royalist fugitives, including Dr. George Morley [q. v.] and Dr. John Earle [q. v.] About 1652 he was appointed steward to Charles I's sister, Elizabeth, titular queen of Bohemia, and lived in her house at the Hague for the two following years. He is frequently mentioned in the letters addressed by Elizabeth to Sir Edward Nicholas, and was in the confidence of Sir Edward Hyde and others of Charles II's advisers (Cal. Clarendon Papers, ii. 310, 333, 339; cf. Sir G. Bromley, Coll. Letters, 1787). In September 1655 Cotterell became secretary to Henry, duke of Gloucester. At the Restoration he returned to England; was reinstated master of the ceremonies; was from 6 April 1663 to 1678 M.P. for Cardigan; lived at Westminster, and was a prominent figure in all the court ceremonials of Charles II's reign. Wood complains that by persistently worrying Archbishop Juxon in 1661 he foisted his brother-in-law, Dr. Thomas Clayton, into the wardenship of Merton College, Oxford, against the wish of the fellows. In 1663 he was sent for a short time as ambassador to Brussels. In 1670 he was nominated master of requests, and in December of the same year the degree of D.C.L. was conferred on him at Oxford, when he accompanied Prince William of Orange on a visit to the university. Cotterell was permitted by James II to resign his offices at court in December 1686, and the mastership of the ceremonies was bestowed on his eldest son, Charles Lodowick, while his grandson, John Dormer, became assistant master. He was created LL.D., Cambridge, 1682. Sir Charles apparently died in the following year (Fuller, Worthies, ed. Nattall, ii. 309).

Cotterell translated: 1. ‘A Relation of the Defeating of Card. Mazarin and Ol. Cromwell's design to have taken Ostend by treachery in 1658, from the Spanish’ (London, 1660 and 1666). 2. ‘The Famous Romance of Cassandra,’ from the French of G. de Costes, Seigneur de la Calprenède; Cotterell's dedication to Charles II is dated from the Hague, 5 June 1653; a first edition of a part of the work appeared in 1652, and the whole was issued in 1661, 1676, and (in 5 vols.) 1725. Pepys read ‘Cassandra’ and preferred it to ‘Hudibras’ (Diary, 16 Nov. 1668 and 5 May 1669). 3. ‘The Spiritual Year, or a Devout Contemplation digested into distinct arguments for every month of the year, and for every week in the month,’ from the Spanish (London, 1693). Cotterell republished his own and his friend Aylesbury's translation of ‘Davila,’ which had first appeared in 1647, in 1678, and claimed the execution of the greater part of the work. Robert Codrington [q. v.] dedicated to Cotterell his ‘Memorials of Margaret of Valois,’ 1661.

Cotterell married the daughter of Edward West, of Marsworth, Buckinghamshire, by whom he had several children. A daughter Anne was the wife of Robert Dormer, of Rousham, Oxfordshire, and another daughter married Sir William Trumbull. A younger son was killed in the sea fight of Southwold Bay in 1672 (Evelyn, Diary, ii. 281).

Sir Charles Lodowick Cotterell, the eldest son and his father's successor in the mastership of the ceremonies in 1686, was knighted on 18 Feb. 1686–7. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of LL.D.; was incorporated D.C.L. of Oxford on 4 June 1708 (Hearne, Coll. Oxf. Hist. Soc. ii. 112); was commissioner of the privy seal in April 1697; obtained the reversion of his mastership of the ceremonies for his son on 31 Jan. 1698–9; was robbed on Hounslow Heath on his way to Windsor on 4 June 1706, and died in July 1710. On the death of Prince George of Denmark in 1708, he published a ‘Whole Life’ of that prince as a chapbook. A copy is in the Grenville Library at the British Museum. Sir Charles Lodowick married (1) Eliza, daughter of Nicholas Burwell of Gray's Inn, and (2) Elizabeth, daughter of Chaloner Chute.

Sir Clement Cotterell, the son by the first wife, became master of the ceremonies on his father's death; was vice-president of the Society of Antiquaries; is described by Hearne, under date 28 June 1734, as ‘a scholar and an antiquary, and well skill'd in matters of proceeding and ceremony’ (Reliquiæ Hearn. iii. 144); and died on 13 Oct. 1758. On the death of his cousin, General James Dormer [q. v.], in 1741, Sir Clement inherited the Rousham estates and assumed the additional surname of Dormer. Sir Clement's son, who died in 1779, and grandson, who died in 1808, each became master of the ceremonies. The family is still represented by C. Cottrell Dormer, and in his library is a valuable collection of letters and papers relating to Sir Charles, Sir Charles Lodowick, and Sir Clement Cotterell (Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. 82–3).

[Wood's Fasti (Bliss), ii. 324, 325, 390; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), xliii, xlvi, xlvii, lxii, iii. 433, 441, 717, iv. 151; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. xi. 19, 2nd ser. x. iii. 365, 60, 6th ser. iv. 384; Evelyn's Diary; Luttrell's Relation; Burke's Landed Gentry, s.v. ‘Dormer.’]

S. L. L.