William Cole (1714-1782), Cambridge antiquary, was born at Little Abington, near Babraham, on 3 August 1714. He attended private schools in Cambridge, Linton and Saffron Waldon, before spending five years at Eton. He entered Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1733, transferring to King's College in 1736 (B.A., 1736; M.A., 1740). Cole was Rector of Hornsey, Middlesex, 1749-1751, although he chose not to reside there, then Rector of Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, 1753-1767. He moved to Waterbeach, near Cambridge, in 1767, and to Milton in 1770, before becoming the non-resident Vicar of Burnham, Buckinghamshire, 1774-1782. He was made a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1747. Cole died at Milton on 16 December 1782. He bequeathed his manuscript collection, which consisted of material relating to Cambridge and its university, Huntingdonshire and Buckinghamshire, to the British Museum.
A collection of the biographies of seven bishops of Ely, 1438-1515, including: (fo. 1) Lewis de Luxemburgh; (fo. 13) William Gray (sic); (fo. 23) John Morton; (fo. 43) John Alcock; (fo. 55) Richard Redman; (fo. 71) James Stanley; (fo. 79) Nicholas West (sic).
The lives are numbered XXIV to XXXI, with the omission of XXV. The versos are blank, except for occasional notes and additional matter. Copious references to authorities appear in the margin. Inside the front cover are the bookplates of Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart, and of Samuel Sandars. On a fly-leaf is a pasted slip describing the contents and 'This MS was written in 1768'.
Bequeathed by Samuel Sandars, 1894.