Nicholas Felton (bishop)

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Nicholas Felton (1556–1626) was an English academic, bishop of Bristol from 1617 to 1619,[1] and then bishop of Ely.


He was born in Great Yarmouth, and educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge.[2] He was rector of St Mary-le-Bow church in London, from 1597 to 1617; and also rector at St Antholin, Budge Row.[3] St Antholin's was on Watling Street, and it has been suggested that the 1606 play The Puritan, or the Widow of Watling Street alludes to Felton through the name Nicholas St Antlings of one of the Widow's serving men.[4]

He was Master at Pembroke, where he became a Fellow in 1583, from 1616 to 1619.[5] In university politics he conspicuously supported Thomas Howard, Earl of Berkshire, against George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, in an election for the position of Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, in 1626. King Charles I of England supported Buckingham, and this contest became a test of strength of the religious groups, Puritan and Anglican.[6] He employed as chaplain Edmund Calamy, who had studied at Pembroke, already dissenting from orthodox Anglican belief.[7]

His death was the occasion of an early Latin poem by John Milton.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ Bishops of Bristol
  2. ^ "Felton, Nicholas (FLTN577N)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ St Mary le Bow Church
  4. ^ Swapan Chakravorty, Society and Politics in the Plays of Thomas Middleton (1996), p. 63.
  5. ^ Pembroke College
  6. ^ William Riley Parker, revised Gordon Campbell, Milton: A Biography (1996), p. 36.
  7. ^ Profiles in Puritanism William Barker (dead link)
  8. ^ Thomas N. Corns, A Companion to Milton (2001), p. 111.
  9. ^ Graham Parry, The Arts of the Anglican Counter-Reformation: Glory, Laud and Honour (2006), p. 154.
  10. ^ online text and translation
Academic offices
Preceded by
Samuel Harsnett
Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Jerome Beale
Church of England titles
Preceded by
John Thornborough
Bishop of Bristol
Succeeded by
Rowland Searchfield
Preceded by
Lancelot Andrewes
Bishop of Ely
Succeeded by
John Buckeridge