These are two hamlets in the parish of Hardingston usually called Cotton-end, and Far-Cotton, containing each of them about sixteen families, and lying on the south side of the river, at the end of the bridge as you enter into Northampton. They appear to have been the several branches of this manor of Hardingstone and Coten, divided between the prior of St. Andrew's, the family of Beseville, and the convent of De La Pre. Upon the dissolution of the religious houses, the portion of the manor belonging to the priory of S. Andrew was surrendered into the King's hands, and a fine levied of it in the twenty ninth of Henry VIII betwixt the King's Majesty, and Francis the prior of the said convent by the name of the manor of Cotton and Hardingston. This we judge to have been the same which was afterwards in the family of Harvey, and is called in the inquisition taken upon the death of Francis Harvey Esq; the Manor of Cotes, alias Ravenscroft's Manor, alias Harvey's Manor in Hardingstone, and West Cotton. The manor of East Cotton, with certain lands also in West-Cotton, being part of the possessions of the monastery of De La Pre, was granted with the site of the priory in the thirty fourth of Henry VIII. to John Mershe, and hath since passed into the family of Tate. The Harvey's had formerly here a mansion-house, which now lies in ruins. The greatest part of the estate which formerly belonged to this family, is at present in the hands of Bartholomew Tate Esquire. The revenues belonging to the priory of S. Andrew, in Cotton and Hardingston, including xl, then in the hands of the abbess of De La Pre were rated I 1535, 26 Hen VIII at the yearly rent of £32 17s 8d. Of these possessions a part was granted in the thirty second year of Hen VIII to Robert Dighton; and a close in Hardingston, called Braodycates, to Anthony Stringer and Sir John Williams in the thirty third year of this reign. The convent of S. James near Northampton were also possessed of certain lands here called Cotton Marsh, which in 1535, 26 Hen VIII were valued at xxx s yearly, and in the fifth year of Edw VI were given to Sir Tho Tresham. And lands and tenements in West Cotton and Hardingston, late the property of John Mauntell, were obtained of the Crown by James Hardwicke in the second of Queen Elizabeth. These several possessions passed afterwards, with the Manor of Cotton in to the family of Tate. In the Hamlet of East Cotton was the Hospital of St Leonard, for the maintenance of a master, and leprous brethren and sisters. It is said to have been founded by William the conqueror; and under the Kings his successors the Mayor and Burgesses of Northampton were patrons. Within the district of the hospital was a chapel, in which administered all the rites of a parochial church to the inhabitants residing in the said district.
This hospital had considerable possessions by the benefactions of several persons. William de la Voy gave to it in frank-almoin once acre of land in Hardinston-field; Robert the son of Henry of Northampton gave one yard land of Meadow in Cotton: and Ascelin the son od Philip of Pisford one yard land in Pisford. Richard of Achinston and Alice his wife bestowed on it one house in the parish of St Leonard in the twenty second year of Edw I and Peter de la Rakell two messuages in Cotton, by deed bearing the date in the fifth of Edw II. Margaret the wife of James Gifle, an house in West Cotton, with the trees and hedges, reaching from the road on one side to the river on the other. To these donations were added one messuage in Cotton by Will of Derby of Northampton and Alice his wife, by deed dated in the twenty third year of Edw III. Five messuages in Swine-well-street by Walter of Creslantle and Catherine his wife; one messuage with a curtilage and pool belonging to it in S. Leonard's Street, by Richard Clarke of Cotton; eight acres of land in the Lordship of Middleton-Malsor by the gift of Robert of Leicester; an annual rent charge of iv by Thomas Taylor issuing from lands in Brington; with one acre of meadow adjoining to S Leonards close by Richard of Houghton; and six acres of land at ladybridge in Wotton field by Miles de Beauchamp.
By the survey taken in 1535, 26 Hen VIII. the revenues of this hospital were valued at xiil ivs viiid out of which being deducted xs in rents resolute yearly to the mayor of Cambridge iis vid to Sir John Dyve; xviiid to John Robyns; xiid to the master of the hospital of Burton Lazars; xiid to the abbat of Sulby; and iis to the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, with 1l vis viiid distributed to the leporous poor, the clear yearly value amounted to xl. Upon the site of it is now a farm house, still called by the name St. Leonards farm, and belonging to the corporation of Northampton. Adjoining to it is a small tenement, named the Spittle of Lazar House, inhabited by a poor man, who is put in by the mayor and Aldermen, and receives a weekly allowance of 2s, with clothing, and a load of fire wood once in every year. This charity is defrayed out of the rents of the said farm.
In the year 1281, the vicar of Hardingston claimed offerings and thythes of the inhabitants residing in the liberty of St. Leonard, and referred his cause to the decision of the Bishop of Lincoln. But as it appeared, upon examination, that the said inhabitants from time immemorial attended devine worship in the chapel of St Leonard, and had the offices of Baptism and sepulture performed by the chaplain officiating therein; the Bishop gave judgement that the tythes and offerings, from the inhabitants within the limits of the hospital, were due to the said chaplain; but that every future chaplain, presented by the Mayor and Burgesses of Northampton, should obtain also the consent of the prior if S Andrew, and the vicar of the church of Hardinston.