Moreton (Morton), William (c.1640/41–1715), Church of Ireland bishop, born in Chester, was the eldest son of Edward Moreton, prebendary of Chester. He was admitted (1660) into Christ Church, Oxford, and graduated Bachelor of Arts (1663), Master of Arts (1666), Bachelor of Divinity (1674) and Doctor of Divinity (1677). In 1669 he was appointed rector of Churchill, Worcestershire, and was chaplain to Aubrey Vere, earl of Oxford. He was also chaplain to the family of James Butler (qv), duke of Ormond, with whom he came to Ireland (1677) on Ormond's reappointment as viceroy. He remained on good terms with the Butlers for the rest of his life, and his advancement through the ranks of the church benefited from this connection. As lord lieutenant, Ormond advanced him to the deanery of Christ Church in December 1677: a post he was allowed to retain on his nomination as bishop of Kildare on 14 January 1682. He received the latter appointment despite opposition from Francis Marsh (qv) and Michael Boyle (qv), archbishops of Dublin and Armagh. A factor that partly motivated his appointment as bishop was that Moreton's income from the deanery of Christ Church was intended to supplement that of the bishopric. He also received the preceptory of Tully, increasing the diocese's income further. Moreton was appointed to the Irish privy council in January and was consecrated bishop on 14 February.
As bishop of Kildare, Moreton continued to work to increase the revenue of the diocese. On 27 February 1684 he secured a grant of concealed lands worth £700 in the diocese of Kildare. The following month he became involved in a suit to secure lands in Kilmacud by virtue of that grant. He maintained these efforts throughout his tenure in this diocese. He was still petitioning for the augmentation of the bishopric in 1699. In 1687 Moreton was removed from the privy council by the lord deputy, the earl of Tyrconnell (qv). Despite this, he was made Doctor of Divinity by Trinity College Dublin in 1688. He reputedly resided in England during the Williamite war.
Following the suspension from the privy council of Anthony Dopping (qv), bishop of Meath, in autumn 1691 for preaching an inflammatory sermon against the treaty of Limerick, Moreton was proposed as a privy councillor by the lords justices. They believed that his reappointment would moderate the spirit of revenge against the Irish, as he had preached a moderate sermon on the same subject. He was duly reappointed, being listed as a member in March 1694.
Politically Moreton's reputation was that of being a high churchman and tory. Not all were pleased with his reappointment, as he was perceived as being lenient on catholics but strict with nonconformists. In April 1694 the whig lord justice Lord Capel (qv) urged that he be not made an archbishop, claiming Moreton was a Jacobite. Moreton certainly enforced conformity on the huguenot congregation in Portarlington in 1702, having been given control over the schools and churches there by an act of parliament that year. He also voted against the popery bill of 1709, joining seven of his colleagues on the episcopal bench in doing so. He nonetheless continued as a privy councillor during Queen Anne's reign.
Moreton was also active outside politics. Among his most notable actions in his episcopal role were the ordination of Jonathan Swift (qv) as deacon (28 October 1694) and then as priest (13 January 1695). He was transferred from the see of Kildare to that of Meath on 18 September 1705, losing the deanery of Christ Church in the process. This was partly inspired by a desire to end a dispute that started in 1704 between Moreton and the archbishop of Dublin, William King (qv). They had clashed over visitation rights to Christ Church, with King being prevented from entering it by Moreton and the cathedral chapter. This dispute was only resolved in 1724, nine years after Moreton's death on 21 November 1715; he was buried in Christ Church cathedral three days later.
Relatively late in life, Moreton married (1682) Mary (b. c.1656), daughter of Sir Richard Atkins of London. They had a son, Richard Moreton (c.1685–1736), who served as prebendary of Connor 1731–6. Moreton married secondly (date unknown) Mary Harman, widow of Sir Arthur Jones, and had another son, Sir William Moreton (1696?–1763), who later served as recorder of London and sat (1755–61) for Brackley in the British parliament. Much of Bishop Moreton's correspondence can be found among the ‘miscellaneous papers of the family of Moreton of Moreton, Co. Chester’ (British Library, Add. MSS 33938–41). There is a portrait of him in Christ Church, Oxford.