SUTTON, Robert (1594-1668), of Averham, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. 21 Dec. 1594, 1st s. of Sir William Sutton of Averham and Susan, da. of Thomas Cony of Bassingthorpe, Lincs.1 educ. Trin. Camb. 1611.2 m. (1) 14 Apr. 1616, Elizabeth, da. of Sir George Manners† of Haddon Hall, Derbys., s.p.; (2) aft. 16 Apr. 1635, Anne, da. of Sir Guy Palmes* of Ashwell, Rutland, wid. of Sir Thomas Browne, 2nd Bt., of Walcot, Northants., 2da.; (3) 21 Feb. 1661, Mary (d. 3 Sept. 1669), da. of Sir Anthony St. Leger, Warden of the Mint 1660-70, 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1611; cr. Bar. Lexinton of Aram 21 Nov. 1645. d. 11 Oct. 1668.3 sig. Ro[bert] Sutton.
J.p. Notts. 1617-?46, 1660-d.,4 liberties of Southwell and Scrooby 1617-?46 1664-d., custos rot. 1641-?46, 1661-d.;5 commr. swans, Northants, Lincs. Rutland, Notts. 1619, 1625, Midland counties 1627, Lincs. 1635, Notts. 1663, sewers, Lincs. and Notts. 1619-at least 1642, Yorks., Notts. Lincs. 1629, Leics. and Notts. 1629, Lincs. 1629,6 subsidy, Notts. 1624, 1641-2,7 musters, Notts. 1626,8 charitable uses, 1626, 1629, 1630,9 Forced Loan 1627;10 sheriff, Notts. 1630-1;11 commr. exacted fees, Notts. 1634;12 dep. lt. Notts. by 1637-at least 1640, 1660-d.;13 commr. oyer and terminer, Midland circ. 1639-42, 1665-d., perambulation Sherwood Forest, Notts. 1641,14 array 1642,15 Newark garrison (roy.), by 1645;16 dep. justice in eyre, Sherwood Forest 1662;17 commr. hearth tax, Notts. 1664.18
Averham, in south Nottinghamshire two miles north-west of Newark, came to the Suttons by marriage to the sister of bishop Lexinton, who died in 1258. Only one member of the family had previously been returned to Parliament, for Nottinghamshire in 1414.19 Sutton succeeded to his father’s estate in 1611 while still a minor. His wardship was claimed by Sir John Holles*, on the grounds that Averham was a sub-manor of Holles’ manor of Houghton, but after lengthy legal proceedings it was ruled that the wardship belonged to the Crown. Consequently it was sold in 1614-15 to one Thomas Symcocke, who may have been acting for Sutton’s mother.20 In 1621 Sutton was travelling in the Low Countries when Sir George Chaworth*, who had been returned for Nottinghamshire earlier that year, offered him a place on his embassy to Brussels, which he apparently refused.21
Sutton was elected for Nottinghamshire in 1624, taking the second place in the return. He was appointed to two committees, for bills concerning the endowment of three lectureships in London (10 Apr.) and the punishment of recusant wives (1 May). On 27 Apr. 1624 he presented Robert Pierrepont†, the father of Henry Pierrepont*, and two other office-holders in his county as Catholics. He made no other recorded contribution to the proceedings of the third Jacobean Parliament.22
There is no evidence that Sutton sought re-election in the 1620s. Instead he concentrated on local affairs, being very active in Nottinghamshire administration and helping to implement the Forced Loan in 1627. According to the Nottinghamshire antiquarian Robert Thoroton, he ‘very much increased his patrimony’, and after the Civil War the Parliamentarian committee for compounding estimated his annual income at nearly £1,700. In 1640 Sutton, described as a ‘constant country man’, was re-elected for the county to both the Short and Long Parliaments.23 Expelled from the Commons for supporting the king, he spent most of the Civil War in the Newark garrison, where he was a key figure in the royalist administration, expending a great deal of his money and credit supporting Charles I’s cause. His cruelty towards captured parliamentarian soldiers earned him the nickname ‘the devil of Newark’. However in the same month as he received a peerage in reward for his loyalty he approached the commander of the parliamentarian forces besieging Newark offering to surrender himself. He recovered his estate on paying a fine of £4,861, but was subsequently sued for money he had borrowed for the Newark garrison. As a prisoner in the Upper Bench for debt in 1655, he petitioned the lord protector, Oliver Cromwell*, for exemption from the decimation tax, claiming that he had conveyed most of his estate to trustees to clear his debts, leaving him with only £300 per annum to live on.24 His will was drafted on 26 Feb. 1666 and witnessed on 28 Jan. 1667, in which he described the Church of England as ‘the most exact copy of the primitive church of all churches in the world’. A codicil was added on 7 Oct. 1668. He was buried at Averham the day after his death, beneath an inscription describing him as ‘a loyal subject and lover of his country; a good husband, father, friend, landlord, master and neighbour’. His only son was a minor when Sutton died. He supported the Tories in the Lords but left no male heirs, consequently the title became extinct on his death in 1723.25
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. CP, vii. 626.
- 2. Al. Cant.
- 3. CP, vii. 626-7; Thoroton, Notts. (1790), iii. 111; S. Holden, Two Sermons Preach’d at Funerals of Right Honourable Lord Lexington and Lady Mary his Wife (1676), p. 1.
- 4. C231/4, f. 45; Notts. County Recs. comp. H.H. Copnall, 9, 10.
- 5. C181/2, f. 273; 181/5, f. 216; 181/7, p. 302; C231/7, p. 93
- 6. C181/2, ff. 341v, 354v; 181/3, ff. 165, 169v, 227v; 181/4, ff. 16v, 23v, 40v; 181/5, ff. 14v, 224v; 181/7, p. 210.
- 7. C212/22/23; SR, v. 64, 155.
- 8. APC, 1625-6, p. 476.
- 9. C93/10/19; 93/13/3; C192/1, unfol.
- 10. Notts. County Recs. 110.
- 11. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 105.
- 12. C181/4, f. 159.
- 13. SP16/362/71; SP16/462, ff. 35-6; SP29/11/142; SP29/60/66.
- 14. C181/5, ff. 141v, 210, 220v; 181/7, pp. 314, 450.
- 15. Northants. RO, FH133.
- 16. CSP Dom. 1644-5, p. 313.
- 17. Notts. RO, DD4P 75/42.
- 18. Notts. Hearth Tax 1664, 1674 ed. W. F. Webster (Thoroton Soc. Rec. Ser. xxxvii), 11.
- 19. Thoroton, iii. 108, 111.
- 20. G. Holles, Mems. of Holles Fam. ed. A.C Wood (Cam. Soc. ser. 3 lv), 95; WARD 9/162, f. 177.
- 21. Loseley Mss ed. A.J. Kempe, 424.
- 22. Ibid. 424; CJ, i. 696a, 762b, 776b.
- 23. P.R. Seddon, ‘Notts. Elections for the Short Parl.’, Trans. Thoroton Soc. lxxx. 65; Thoroton, iii. 111; SP23/201, p. 703.
- 24. SP23/201, pp. 703, 709, 715, 728; CCC, 1337; CSP Thurloe (1742) ed. T. Birch, 364.
- 25. PROB 11/331, ff. 367-8v; Notts. RO, Averham par reg.; Thoroton, iii. 112; CP, vii. 628-9.