HETON, Thomas (d.1606), of Southampton; later of Wisbech, Cambs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

s. of George Heton of London by Joanna, da. of Sir Martin Bowes of London. m. 1594, Elizabeth (d.1624), da. of William Chester of London, 10 ch. inc. 3s. 3da.

Offices Held

Collector of customs, Southampton c.1583; bailiff, Isle of Ely 1600; j.p.q. Cambs. temp. Jas. I.1


Heton was descended from a Lancashire family established at Heaton Hall. His father married the daughter of a London merchant and settled there himself, being elected master of the Merchant Taylors’ Company in 1556 and city chamberlain in 1563. In later years he suffered serious financial losses and was given a pension by his company. A namesake who was a close relative and enthusiastic protestant was similarly unfortunate, for, having been governor of the Merchant Adventurers in the 1570s, he later depended on the charity of such friends as Bishop Grindal.2

Heton himself apparently resided in Southampton, certainly after obtaining the post of collector of customs: he had a house there at the time of his return to Parliament, seized by the Crown after his death in part payment of his debts as customer. In 1589 he was one of the commissioners appointed to deal with corn captured during the Portugal voyage, but was later severely reprimanded by the Privy Council for buying the corn himself to sell at a profit. He was a subscriber to the foundation of the East India Company.3

Heton moved to Wisbech after his appointment as bailiff of the Isle of Ely, which he owed to his brother Martin, made bishop of Ely in the previous year, formerly dean of Winchester. After a short spell abroad ‘on her Majesty’s service’ in 1601-2, he returned to Wisbech to take charge of the Catholic prisoners at the castle. He died 6 Jan. 1606 and was buried in St. Peter’s church, Wisbech, on the following day. His widow, a grand-daughter of Sir William Chester, married as her second husband Thomas Procter of Wisbech. One of Heton’s sons, George, was the author of twelve Latin verses inscribed on the monument of Bishop Heton in Ely cathedral.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. R. E. C. Waters, Chesters of Chicheley, i. 69, 70-2; Strype, Whitgift, ii. 424; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 435; HMC 11th Rep. III, 122, 125.
  • 2. City of London Remembrancia, ed. Overall, 274; APC, viii. 273; Strype, Mems. iii(1), p. 224.
  • 3. Ct. Leet Recs. ii. (Soton Rec. Soc.), 313; Bks. of Examinations and Depositions (Soton Rec. Soc.), pp. xiii. 100, 131, 134; Lansd. 69, f. 48; 130, f. 237; 143, f. 444; 158, f. 56; H.C.A. 25/3, pkt. 9 etc.; E178/2056; APC, xvii. 418, 429; xviii. 81; H. Stevens, Dawn of Brit. Trade to the East Indies, 1599-1603, pp. 1-4.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 50; 1603-10, p. 262; Waters, i. 71.