Sir Robert Bruce Cotton

(1571—1631) antiquary and politician

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gave the free use of his library to Bacon, Camden, Ralegh, Selden, Speed, Ussher, and other scholars, and sent a gift of manuscripts to the Bodleian Library on its foundation. He joined the parliamentary party and published various political tracts. The Cottonian Library, largely composed of works rescued from the dissolved monasteries, was left to the nation by his grandson Sir John Cotton (1621–1701); it suffered severely from fire in 1731 and was removed to the British Museum in 1753 and is now in the British Library. It includes such treasures as the Lindisfarne Gospels and biblical MSS such as the Codex Purpureus, the MS of Beowulf, and the famous MS that includes Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Subjects: Literature.

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