Martin Heton
Portraut, 1607
Martin Heton, 1607
Born1554 (1554)
Died1609 (1610) (aged 55)
OccupationBritish bishop

Martin Heton (Heaton) (1554–1609) was an English bishop.


His father George Heton was prominent in the London commercial world and as a church reformer.[1][2][3] His mother Joanna was daughter of Martin Bowes, Lord Mayor of London in 1545.[4] He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford.[5]

He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 1588.[6] He became Dean of Winchester in 1589, and Bishop of Ely in 1599.[5] There is a story that Elizabeth I applied pressure to him, or his predecessor Richard Cox, over some land deals disadvantageous to the diocese, in a letter beginning “Proud prelate!”[7] But scholars from the nineteenth century onwards, for example Mandell Creighton, have considered the letter in question a hoax of the eighteenth century.[8]

A fat man, Heton was supposedly complimented by the king James I with the comment "Fat men are apt to make lean sermons; but yours are not lean, but larded with good learning."[9]

He died in Mildenhall, Suffolk in 1609 and is buried in Ely Cathedral.

Alabaster effigy of Martin Heton in Ely Cathedral.
Alabaster effigy of Martin Heton in Ely Cathedral.


His daughter Ann married Sir Robert Filmer.[10]


  1. ^ "Introduction - The Chamber in the sixteenth century | Chamber accounts of the sixteenth century (pp. XXXII-XXXVIII)". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2009.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ ODNB entries for George Heton and his brother Thomas Heton.
  4. ^ "Townships - Heaton | A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (pp. 9-12)". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  5. ^ a b Concise Dictionary of National Biography
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2008.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Ely Place | Old and New London: Volume 2 (pp. 514-526)". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  8. ^ s: The English Church in the Reign of Elizabeth
  9. ^ Remains, historical & literary, connected with the palatine counties of Lancaster and Chester (1844-86), online text.
  10. ^ David Miller (editor), The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought (1991), p. 155.