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William Cotton I and II

William Cotton I (1731-1791)

In 1755 Charlotte Rogers, Charles’ only sister married William Cotton from Southwark. After the marriage they lived with Rogers in his large house at Laurence Pountney Lane, which he had inherited from William Townson (1682-1740). Charlotte managed the household whilst William took care of this house, a house at Richmond and other properties for Rogers. A few years later their son, William, was born and later other children, all girls. After Rogers death William and Charlotte retired to the house at Richmond, leaving the London property for their son and his two sisters.

William Cotton II (1759-1816)

William Cotton II was brought up in the household under the direct influence of Charles Rogers. He followed his uncle into the Customs House and to the post of Clerk of the Certificates. With the death of his father in 1791 and his mother in 1795 William became sole owner of the collection and a man of some wealth.

In 1792 he married Catherine Savery (1769-1803), daughter of the Rev. William Savery of Rattery near Plymouth, Devon. Catherine bore a son, also William, in 1794 and a sister, Charlotte the following year. Shortly after this they moved to Balham Hill House at Clapham where William II added a new apartment to house the collection. Even so it was too vast and so William II sold a large part of collection at auction in London, in 1799. The sale lasted 30 days – an indication of how large the collection was that he had inherited. This was followed by a further sale of material in 1802.