Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Maton, Robert

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MATON, ROBERT (1607–1653?), divine, was the second son of William Maton of North Tidworth, Wiltshire, and his wife Thomazin, daughter of William Hayter of Langford. He was born in 1607, probably at North Tidworth, but the registers previous to 1700 have been destroyed. He entered as a commoner at Wadham College, Oxford, in Michaelmas term 1623, aged about sixteen, matriculated 3 Nov. 1626, proceeded B.A. 25 Oct. 1627, and M.A. 10 June 1630 (Gardiner). Taking holy orders he was presented to a living, but in what county is uncertain. Wood (Athenæ Oxon.) says that he was always at heart a ‘millenary,’ but that he never made public his views until the rebellion, in which he saw a possibility of their fulfilment. He published in 1642 ‘Israel's Redemption, or the Propheticall History of our Saviour's Kingdom on Earth,’ &c., and ‘Gog and Magog, or the Battle of the Great Day of God Almightie,’ London, 1642; 2nd edit. 1646. The former work led him into some controversy, and in 1644 a reply, entitled ‘Chiliasto Mastix, or the Prophecies … vindicated from the Misinterpretations of the Millenaries, and specially of Mr. Maton,’ &c., was published at Rotterdam by Alexander Petrie, minister of the Scots church there. Maton remained an ardent believer in the literal meaning of scriptural prophecy, and in 1646 he published, in reply to Petrie, ‘Israel's Redemption Redeemed, or the Jewes generall and miraculous Conversion to the Faith of the Gospel, and Returne into their owne Land; and our Saviour's Personall Reigne on Earth cleerly proved.’ He endeavours here to show the ‘proper sense of the plagues contained under the Trumpets and Vialls.’ Wood wrongly says (ib. iii. 409) that Petrie wrote a second reply. Maton's book was republished (London, 1652) under a new title, ‘Christ's Personall Reigne on Earth One Thousand Yeares. … The Manner, Beginning, and Continuation of His Reigne clearly proved by many plain Texts of Scripture,’ &c. It was again republished as ‘A Treatise of the Fifth Monarchy’ (1655), with a portrait of Maton by Cross (Granger). Though not apparently openly connected with the Fifth-monarchy men, Maton was doubtless in sympathy with them. Of his death we have no record.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 409; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, iii. 52; Steven's Hist. of the Scottish Church in Rotterdam, Edinburgh, 1832, pp. 12–14; Gardiner's Registers of Wadham Coll. Oxford, pp. 70–1; Sir Thomas Phillipps's Visitatio Heraldica Com. Wilt., 1828, catalogued under ‘Wilts,’ for Maton's pedigree.]

C. F. S.