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Wotton, William

WOTTON, WILLIAM (1666-1727), English scholar, son of the Rev. Henry Wotton, was born in his father's parish of Wrentham, Suffolk, on the 13th of August 1666. He was not yet ten years old when he was sent to Catherine Hall, Cambridge, having by this time a good knowledge of Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He obtained a fellowship at St John's College, and was elected an F.R.S. in 1687. Wotton is chiefly remembered for his share in the controversy about the respective merits of ancient and modern learning. In his Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694, and again 1697) he took the part of the moderns, although in a fair and judicial spirit, and was attacked by Swift in the Battle of the Books. During some of his later years Wotton resided in Wales and gave himself to the study of Celtic, making a translation of the laws of Howel Dda, which was published after his death (1730). Having taken holy orders, he was a prebend of Salisbury from 1705 until his death at Buxted, Essex, on the 13th of February 1727.

Wotton wrote a History of Rome (1701) and Miscellaneous Discoveries relating to the Traditions and Usages of the Scribes and Pharisees (1718).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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