The Twickenham Museum
People : Royals, Peers and Courtiers

Sir Clement Cottrell
Antiquary and Courtier
1686 - 1758

Sir Clement Cottrell leased a property in Twickenham between about 1720 and 1742. It appears, from its valuation in the Churchwardens’ Accounts, to have been substantial, but has not been firmly identified. Holly House (see Houses of local interest, in Places) is a likely candidate: all the other known large properties in Twickenham for that time being in the occupation of known residents.

He was already a friend of Alexander Pope, agreeing, in 1719, to subscribe to the publication of Bononcini’s Cantate which Pope was promoting, at the instigation of Lord Burlington. Apparently Bononcini, in celebration of the event, spent the summer of 1721 at Twickenham where Pope organised a concert at his villa in his honour. A year or so later Cottrell dined, with Pope and his mother at Sir Peter Vandeput’s house in Twickenham.

He was knighted in 1710 following his appointment as Master of Ceremonies, a post on which his family appeared to have held a lien for the previous 100 years.

In 1741, following the death of General James Dormer, his cousin, Cottrell inherited the Rousham estate, where, following the early death of his mother, he had spent much of his childhood. Accordingly, he added Dormer to his surname.

At Rousham, Cottrell continued to employ William Kent for the development of the famous garden and parkland. which survives today. This had started in 1737 when General Dormer inherited the property. Pope was familiar with Rousham, having first visited in 1728. In 1739 he would have seen Kent’s work in progress and again in September 1743, his last visit, when Cottrell was in residence.

further reading

Mavis Batey, Alexander Pope, The Poet and the Landscape, Barn Elms Publishing, 1999
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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