Cawton, Thomas, a Nonconformist divine, was born at Wivenhoe, Essex, in 1637. Having studied at Utrecht and Oxford, he received ordination from the bishop of Oxford. He officiated for several years as chaplain to English noble families, but soon became so dissatisfied with the dominant party in the Established Church that he left it to become pastor of a Nonconforminist congregation in Westminster, where he died in 1677. While a student at Utrecht, he published two dissertations, entitled, Disputatio de Versione Syriaca Vet. et Novi Testamenti (Ultraj. 1657, 4to), and Dissertatio de usu Linguce Hebraicce in Philosophia Theoretica (Ultraj. 1657, 4to), the former of which is of lasting value for the history of the Syriac versions. Cawton was regarded as one of the prominent Orientalists of his time. — Kitto, Cyclop. s.v.; Hook, Eccl. Biog. 3:526.