George Cotes

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George Cotes (or Cotys) (died 1556) was an English academic and a Catholic bishop during the English Reformation.

He had been a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford in 1522, and then became a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1527.[1] He was Junior Proctor of Oxford University in 1531. It was some years before he was elected Master of Balliol College, in which post he served in the years 1539–1545.[1]

With the accession of Queen Mary, he was chosen to succeed the former Carmelite John Bird, who had been deprived because he was married, as Bishop of Chester.[2] Cotes was consecrated on 1 April 1554 by bishops Stephen Gardiner of Winchester, Edmund Bonner of London, and Cuthbert Tunstall of Durham, and received papal provision on 6 July 1554.[2] However, he held the post for only a short period of time before he died in c. January 1556.[2]

During the Marian Persecutions he had Protestant George Marsh burnt at the stake as a heretic.[3]

His arms were blazoned: Argent, fretty Azure, on a canton Or a lion rampant Sable.[4]


  1. ^ a b Masters of Balliol. Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts . Retrieved on 10 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Bishops of Chester. British History Online. Retrieved on 10 July 2016.
  3. ^ John Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Retrieved on 10 July 2016.
  4. ^ The Armorial Bearings of the Bishops of Chester. Cheshire Heraldry. Retrieved on 10 July 2016.


  • F. Sanders, 'George Cotes, Master of Balliol and Bishop of Chester', in Notes and Queries 1894 series 8-V (1894) 48-49.
  • F. Huskisson & E. Marshall, 'George Cotes, Master of Balliol and Bishop of Chester', in Notes and Queries series 8-V (1894) 153.
Academic offices
Preceded by
William Whyte
Master of Balliol College, Oxford
Succeeded by
William Wright
Religious titles
Preceded by
John Bird
Bishop of Chester
Succeeded by
Cuthbert Scott