He was born in Jamaica, the son of Josiah Heathcote, a West India Merchant of London, and his wife, Catherine, widow of Thomas Barrett of Jamaica. He was a nephew of Sir Gilbert Heathcote, 1st Baronet, Governor of the Bank of England and the brother of Caleb Heathcote, who served as Mayor of New York City. He was educated at Clare College, Cambridge and the Middle Temple (which he entered in 1720).
He served as an Alderman for the Walbrook ward of the City of London from 1739 to 1749, was elected a Sheriff of the City of London for 1740, and elected Lord Mayor of London in 1742. He also served in Parliament from 1741 to 1747 as the representative for the City of London.
He was an opponent of Robert Walpole’s government ministry and a follower of William Wyndham’s opposition Tory party. He was also a Jacobite, a supporter of the exiled House of Stuart and was actively involved in a plot in 1752 to restore of the Stuart dynasty.
Heathcote was a member of the Associates of the Late Dr. Thomas Bray, a philanthropic organization. After the death of Dr. Bray in 1730, the Associates petitioned to create a new colony for relief of debtors, among other purposes. In 1732, the Associates were granted a royal charter founding the Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America. Heathcote was active in planning the colony with James Oglethorpe (see Oglethorpe Plan), and he served as treasurer for the Trustees.
Heathcote was a member of the Masonic Lodge at the Rummer Tavern, Charing Cross and was known as the wealthiest commoner in England when he died in 1768 aged 67. He had married Maria, the daughter of John Eyles, MP, of Wiltshire; they had two sons and two daughters.
- Baine, Rodney M. Creating Georgia: Minutes of the Bray Associates, 1730-1732. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995. Page xvii.
- Church, Leslie F. Oglethorpe: A Study of Philanthropy in England & Georgia. London: The Epworth Press, 1732. Page 60.
- Monod, Paul. Jacobitism and the English People, 1688-1788. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Page 229.
- The Library and Museum of Freemasonry, London