1857 UK: Cotton Chapel

Cotton Chapel copy
photo by B.A. Cotton

Three American citizens living in London, George Peabody, Joshua Bates and Russel Sturgis, visited St. Botolph’s Church in Boston, Lincolnshire and discovered that this chapel, the Founders Chapel) was being used as a storeroom and had housed the town fire-engine. As a result, in 1857 the chapel was restored in honor of Rev. John Cotton and funded by many of the descendants of Rev. John Cotton. The corbels supporting the timber ceiling of the Cotton Chapel are carved with the arms of the early colonists of New England.

The Honorable Edward Everett of Boston, Massachusetts, whose wife was a Cotton descendant authored this plaque for the Cotton Chapel in Latin.[1] In translation, it reads:

  • That here John Cotton’s memory may survive
  • Where for so long he labored when alive,
  • In James’ reign — and Charles’s, ere it ceased —
  • A grave, skilled, learned, earnest parish priest:
  • Till from the strife that tossed the Church of God
  • He in a new world sought a new abode,
  • To a new England — a new Boston — came,
  • (That took to honor him that that reverend name)
  • Fed the first flock of Christ that gathered there —
  • Till death deprived it of its Shepherd’s care —
  • There well resolve all doubts of minds perplext,
  • Whether with cares of this world, or the next:
  • Two centuries five lustra, from the year
  • That saw the exile leave his labors here,
  • His family, his townsmen, with delight —
  • (Whom to the task their English kin invite) —
  • To the fair fane he served so well of yore,
  • His name, in the two worlds honored, thus restore,
  • This chapel renovate, this tablet place,
  • In this the year of man’s recovered Grace. 1855

[1]. Forbes, Allan. Towns of New England and Old England, Ireland and Scotland: Part 1. Vol. 1, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1921. p23/24

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