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SIR HENRY WOTTON.
SIR HENRY WOTTON (whose life I now intend to write) was born in the year of our redemption 1568, in Bocton-hall (commonly called Bocton, or Bougton-place, or palace,) in the parish of Bocton Malherb, in the fruitful country of Kent: Bocton-hall being an ancient and goodly structure, beautifying and being beautified by the parish church of Bocton Malherb adjoining unto it, and both seated within a fair park of the Wottons, on the brow of such a hill as gives the advantage of a large prospect and of equal pleasure to all beholders.
But this house and church are not remarkable for any thing so much as for that the memorable family of the Wottons have so long inhabited the one, and now lie buried in the other, as appears by their many monuments in that church : the Wottoos being a family that hath brought forth divers persons eminent for wisdom and valour; whose heroic acts and noble employments, both in England and in foreign parts, have adorned themselves and this nation, which they have served abroad faithfully in the discharge of their great trust, and prudently in their negotiations with several princes ; and also served at home with much honour and justice in their wise managing a great part of the public affairs thereof, in the various times both of war and peace.
But lest I should be thought by any that may incline either to deny or doubt this truth, not to have observed moderation in the commendation of this family, and also for that I believe the merits and' memory of such persons ought to be thankfully recorded, I shall offer to the consideration of every reader, out of the testimony of their pedigree, and our chronicles, a part (and but a part) of that just commendation which might be from thence enlarged ; and shall then leave the indifferent reader to judge whether my error be an excess or defect of commendations.
Sir Robert Wotton, of Bocton Malherb, knt. was born about the year of Christ 1460: he lived in the reign of king Edward the fourth, was by him trusted to be lieutenant of Guisnes, to be knight porter, and comptroller of Calais, where he died, and lies honourably buried.
Sir Edward Wotton, of Bocton Malherb, knight, (son and heir of the said sir Robert) was born in the year of Christ 1489, in the reign of king Henry the seventh : he was made treasurer of Calais, and of the privy council to king Henry the eighth, who offered him to be lord chancellor of England; but (saith Hollinshed, in his Chronicle) out of a virtuous modesty he refused it.
Thomas Wotton, of Bocton Malherb, esquire, son and heir of the said sir Edward, (and the father of our sir Henry that occasions this relation,) was born in the year of Christ 1521: he was a gentleman excellently educated, and studious in all the liberal arts, in the knowledge whereof he attained unto a great perfection; who, though he had (besides those abilities, a very noble and plentiful estate, and the ancient interest of his predecessors) nany invitations from queen Elizabeth to change his country recreations and retirement for a court,