The Cotton Library: the Scholar's Library

The Cotton Library was founded by Sir Robert Cotton, who began acquiring printed texts, Roman inscriptions, medieval coins, and more in 1588. Cotton was very generous with his collection, opening its doors to many prominent scholars of the era and even loaning out books. Scholars such as William Camden, Isaac Casaubon, John Selden, Thomas Gale, and James Ussher the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland utilized the library for research and education. After Sir Roberts's death in 1631, the Libary passed to his son and grandson. After the death of his grandson, John, in 1702 the Library passed to national ownership and the collection was stored in the Ashburnham House. In 1753 the collection formed one of the foundational collections for the British Museum. The Collection is now available for viewing at the British Library, some documents are even available online.


1588 CE - 1622 CE
1588 CE
1603 CE
1631 CE
1702 CE
1706 CE
1731 CE
1753 CE