COTTON, Sir Robert Salusbury, 5th Bt. (?1739-1809), of Combermere Abbey, Cheshire and Llewenny, Denb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1 Mar. 1780 - 1796

Family and Education

b. ?1739, 1st s. of Sir Lynch Salusbury Cotton, 4th Bt., of Combermere and Llewenny by Elizabeth Abigail, da. of Rowland Cotton of Bellaport, Salop and Etwall, Derbys. educ. Shrewsbury; Westminster; Trinity Hall, Camb. 1756. m. 1767, Frances, da. and coh. of Col. James Russell Stapleton of Bodrhyddan, Flints., 4s. 4da. suc. fa. as 5th Bt. 14 Aug. 1775.

Offices Held

Maj. Nantwich vols. 1797, 1803.


Cotton, returned unopposed for Cheshire for the fourth successive time in 1790, continued to support Pitt, apparently without speaking in the House. Listed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791, and ‘pro’ in the ministerial survey for the general election of 1796, he was reported to have been one of only five county Members who voted for the estate duty bill, 9 May.1 His brother, writing 16 years later, when he confirmed reports that Cotton had declined a peerage, attributed his unexpected retirement from Parliament in 1796 to ill health; but the contemporary story that he withdrew ‘in a pet, for being refused some little place he had asked for’ is given credence by the fact that three applications to Pitt between 12 May and 16 June for a collectorship of salt duties at Nantwich for a friend went unanswered.2 Cotton’s lavish and open-handed style of life and bad head for business landed him in debt and forced him to sell his Welsh estates, reputedly worth £20,000 a year, for about £390,000.3 He died 24 Aug. 1809, ‘aged 70’.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: M. H. Port


  • 1. Morning Chron. 12 May 1796.
  • 2. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Newcastle mss, Cotton to Newcastle, 7 Nov. 1812; Ormerod, Cheshire, iii. 405; PRO 30/8/126, ff. 18, 20, 22, 24.
  • 3. Lady Combermere and W. W. Knollys, Mems. Visct. Combermere, i. 16-18.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1809), ii. 889.