Hinton, Edward (c.1643–1702), master of Kilkenny College, was born in Malden, Surrey, England, son of the Rev. Dr Edward Hinton, rector of Malden; nothing is known of his mother. The family then moved to Islip, Oxfordshire, where Hinton's father had been appointed rector. Hinton matriculated (16 May 1659) at his father's alma mater, Merton College, Oxford, before transferring to St Alban's Hall, a separate college connected to Merton. After graduating BA he moved to Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, and married (his wife's name is not known); his first son was born there in 1670. It is probable that he was also ordained into the Church of the England during this period. At some point during the early 1670s he was appointed to replace Dr Francis Gregory as the master of the Free School, Witney, Oxfordshire, which had been founded by Henry and Mary Box in 1662. During Hinton's time at Witney he continued the work of Gregory, maintaining the reputation of the school, and also demonstrated his own scholarship by completing a translation of Plutarch's Morals, which was published in October 1684. His ability as a teacher of Greek was of such standing that one of his students at Kilkenny, the dramatist and poet William Congreve (qv), was said by Dryden to be more capable than any man of translating Homer.
Around 1683 Hinton was selected by the duke of Ormond (qv) to replace the Rev. Dr Henry Ryder as the master of Kilkenny College, which had been refounded by the duke c.1667. The duke's decision was taken, most likely, under the advice of the new provost of TCD, Dr Robert Huntington (qv). Huntington would have been familiar with Hinton from his time as a fellow of Merton College. There is evidence that the men enjoyed a friendship after his appointment and possibly before it: a letter written by Hinton to Huntington in August 1689 concerned, among other things, the availability of tobacco paper. Although it can be speculated with a degree of confidence that Huntington had some influence in the selection of Hinton, the duke of Ormond (being the chancellor of the University of Oxford) would have been in contact with many individuals who could have advised him concerning the suitability of candidates such as Hinton. Hinton brought with him considerable ability as a teacher; he also possessed much experience in running a school within the parameters of carefully framed statutes. The free school at Witney had been governed under a set of statutes, awarded in 1663, which were to provide a template for the duke of Ormond for devising a charter and statutes for Kilkenny College, which were awarded in March 1685. The charter and statutes of the college also unusually named Hinton as the college's ‘charter master’. At some stage between his arrival in Ireland and the awarding of the charter and statutes (1685), Hinton was granted a DD by TCD. He appears to have continued to enjoy the success he had had at Witney: Thomas Otway (qv), bishop of Ossory, wrote to James Clark, the duke's chief steward and confidant, on 18 August 1686, recording that after visiting the college as part of the annual visitation allowed for in the statutes, he found all things well and that the master is ‘certainly a very industrious man’ (Ormonde MSS, vii, 444). Hinton fled Ireland along with his students during the government of Tyrconnell (qv) in 1688, and although he was not attainted by the Jacobite parliament of 1689, he was named as having being culpable of high treason by James II (qv) in a charter to provide for the foundation of a royal college at Kilkenny. The charter also directed that the new university was to utilise the abandoned college buildings. It is thought that while James was in Ireland Hinton took up another teaching position in his native Oxfordshire, but after the victory of William III (qv) he made the surprising decision to return with his family to the political and social instability of Ireland. The reasons behind this are unclear, since his substantial experience in education would have made him a prime candidate for teaching positions in England. It is possible that Hinton felt that he had a responsibility to the college for which he had helped frame the statutes, although it must be borne in mind that the salary that accompanied the mastership of the college, £140, was considerably more than the average salary in England. Regardless of his reasons, it can be said with great certainty that he ensured the survival of the college by returning to his former position and laying the foundations that enabled the college to become the favoured school of the Anglo-lrish aristocracy and gentry during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He educated several of his sons at Kilkenny: the eldest; John (1670–1743), held several ecclesiastical preferments, which included the archdeaconry of Ossory (1701), the chancellorship of Lismore (1706), and the deanery of Tuam (1712). Edward Hinton resigned the mastership in 1702, the same year in which he was presented to the deanery of St Canice's, but he died (the exact date is unknown) before he could take up this preferment.