Burton, Hezekiah (DNB00)

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BURTON, HEZEKIAH (d. 1681), divine, was a fellow of Magdalen College, Cambridge, and eminent as a tutor. He was entered as a pensioner in 1647, was elected Wray fellow 1651, graduated as M.A. 1654, was incorporated at Oxford the same year, was B.D. 1661, and D.D. by royal mandate 1669. He was known to Samuel Pepys, Richard Cumberland, and Orlando Bridgeman, all of his college, and to Henry More, the Platonist. More sent him a queer story of a ghost, as circumstantial as Mrs. Veal's, which appeared in Yorkshire about 1661 (Lightfoot, Remains, li; Kennet, Register, 763). Bridgeman, on becoming chancellor in 1667, gave a chaplaincy to his college friend, and appointed him to a prebendal stall at Norwich. He was intimate with Tillotson and Stillingfleet, and had been associated with them and Bishop Wilkins in an abortive proposal for a comprehension communicated by Bridgeman to Baxter and others in the beginning of 1668. Wood says that a club formed by Wilkins to promote comprehension used to meet at the 'chambers of that great trimmer and latitudinarian, Dr. Hezekiah Burton.' He afterwards became minister of St. George's, Southwark, where he was especially charitable to imprisoned debtors, and in 1680 was appointed, through Tillotson's influence, vicar of Barnes in Surrey, by the dean and chapter of St. Paul's. He died there of a fever, which carried off several of his family, in August or September 1681. His only writings were an 'Alloquium ad lectorem' prefixed to his friend Bishop Cumberland's book, 'De Legibus Naturae;' and two posthumous volumes of 'Discourses' (1684 and 1685), to the first of which is prefixed a notice by Tillotson, speaking warmly of his friendliness and sweetness of temper. A portrait is engraved in the same volume.

[Tillotson's Preface to Discourses; Birch's Life of Tillotson, 42,77, 93, 124-126; Knight's Life of Dean Colet (1823), 366; Sylvester's Baxter, iii. 24; Neal's Puritans, iv. 432; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 513; Fasti, ii. 184; Pepys's Diary (24 April 1659-60, and 1 Feb. 1661-62), where is also a letter to Pepys of 9 April 1677.]

L. S.