Wotton, Thomas (1521 -1587)
Thomas Wotton, of Kent, was the son of Sir Edward Wotton (1489 1551), Treasurer of Calais, and Dorothy, fourth daughter of Sir Robert Rede. The founder of the family, Nicholas Wotton, who died in 1448, married a great heiress, Joan Corby, and assumed her arms. His son, Nicholas, who died in 1491, married another heiress, Elizabeth Bamburgh, and his son, Sir Robert, married Anne, daughter and heir of Sir Henry Belknap. In December 1547, Thomas Wotton was occupied in conveying treasure to Calais for his father. He succeeded to his father's lands in Kent in 1551. Edward VI had intended to make him a Knight of the Bath, but after Mary's accession the Council wrote to him, 19 September 1553, discharging him from the honour. In January 1554 he was summoned before the Council, and on the 21st, “for obstinate standing against matters of religion was committed to the Fleet to remain there a close prisoner”. Six days after Elizabeth's accession, 23 November 1558, he was made Sheriff of Kent, but declined an offer of knighthood when he entertained Queen Elizabeth at Boughtom Malerbe in July 1573. He married twice, firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Rudston; and secondly Eleanor, daughter of Sir William Finch, and widow of Robert Morton. During the first part of his life, Thomas Wotton spent much time in France, and had many books bound in elaborate bindings there, often with splendid designs by the best binders. His third and smallest stamp dates from that period and is usually impressed in silver. This period probably ended with his imprisonment under Mary. The two larger stamps appear only on the plain bindings of the books which he bought in England after his release. A number of his books descended through the family of the Earls of Chesterfield to Lord Carnarvon and were sold at Sotheby's in his sale in April 1919, the remainder were divided among the many different lines of Wotton's descendants.