SUTTON, Thomas (by 1514-70/71), of Over Haddon and Kingsmead, Derby, Derbys.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1514, s. of Alan Sutton of Over Haddon by Alice, da. of one Bridge of Bridgehall, Cheshire. m. (1) by 1543, Agnes, da. of Richard Barnard of London, 4s.; (2) Frances, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 1528 or later.1

Offices Held

Commr. gaol delivery, Oxford circuit 1537-44, Derby 1542, midland circuit 1543-54, array, Derbys, 1546, relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; j.p. Derbys. 1541-62, q. 1562-d.; recorder Derby by 1545-53 or later; dep. steward, duchy of Lancaster, honor of Tutbury 1551; attorney, council in the north by 1556-8; comptroller, household of the earls of Shrewsbury by 1560.2


Thomas Sutton came of a gentle family of Cheshire origin but settled at Over Haddon since the reign of Henry VI. Nothing has come to light about his upbringing, but the appearance of his name on commissions of gaol delivery at the outset of his career and his drafting of his own bill of complaint against neighbours at Over Haddon for withholding some deeds allegedly belonging to him during Mary’s reign suggest that he received a legal education. It was perhaps while a student at one of the inns of court that he married Agnes Barnard, ‘being a poor maid but well and virtuously brought up’. It was probably his legal ability and connexion with the earls of Shrewsbury which procured for Sutton the recordership of Derby, an office which he was holding in 1545, and this which in turn accounted for his Membership of four Parliaments. It is possible that he also sat in the Parliament of 1539, for which the town’s Members are unknown, and that he was the man superseded by Robert Ragg before the opening of the second Parliament of Edward VI’s reign in March 1553.3

Sutton held land in Derby from 1537 when he leased the site of Kingsmead priory from the crown. In April 1543 he bought the leasehold of the priory from the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury to whom it had been granted by the King, and later in the same year he paid £94 for demesne lands once belonging to the priory in the town. It was as recorder that he was attacked by John Sharpe in the common hall at Derby in 1545. Sharpe and several other townsmen were concerned at the amount of enclosure of common land allowed by the bailiffs and common council, and it was Sutton’s own enclosure of the Nun’s Meadow which provoked Sharpe’s ‘seditious attempt’ to deprive him of the recordership and to disfranchise the two bailiffs. In the hope of forestalling Sharpe he agreed to surrender the deed authorizing him to enclose the meadow, and at a common hall held shortly before Parliament opened he renounced it. Despite this Sharpe and his associates remained dissatisfied. Once the first session of the Parliament was over Sutton and his fellow-Member William Allestry were summoned with Sharpe before the Privy Council: on learning of his renunciation the Council let Sutton return home but ordered the others to remain near London while the Earl of Shrewsbury had time to ‘perceive the inclination of the inhabitants of Derby and restore order’. Despite the earl’s efforts Sutton and Sharpe remained on bad terms, and the suit brought against Sutton in the Star Chamber by William Bainbridge during Edward VI’s reign over depasturising a close in Bakewell seems to have been instigated by Sharpe.4

It is likely that Sutton had served the Talbots from at least 1538. During the last two years of Mary’s reign he was employed as attorney to the council in the north under the 5th Earl’s presidency; for this he received a yearly fee of £20, which he took from fines and forfeitures, but apparently without rendering account. He was also Shrewsbury’s deputy steward for the honor of Tutbury, and it was as comptroller of his household that he attended the earl’s funeral in 1560. He then passed into the service of the 6th Earl, who in May 1570 commended ‘his old servant Sutton’ to Cecil as one whom few could match in experience.5

In 1564 Bishop Bentham judged Sutton ‘meet’ to remain on the Derbyshire bench, and five years later he was one of the justices who signed the favourable reply to the Council on the state of religion in the county. Within two years more he was dead: the will which he drew up on 2 Dec. 1570 was proved on the following 27 Apr. Among the lands which he bequeathed to his wife Frances for life were those recently purchased from Godfrey Foljambe which were to revert to her eldest son Nicholas. To Alan, his eldest son by his first marriage, Sutton left a house, three closes of pasture and all his arable land in Derby, on condition that Alan paid £20 to his brother Thomas, £40 to Bartholomew, whom his father ‘would have better advanced’ if it had been possible, and £20 to the youngest brother Rowland, an ‘unthrifty child who has been much to his cost’. George, Thomas’s second son by Frances, was to receive £50 for his preferment, a further £20 at the age of 21 years and an annuity of £3 which Sutton had enjoyed from Sir John Zouche. Sutton’s wife and his only daughter Gertrude were his residuary legatees and executrices, and William Bainbridge one of the witnesses to the will.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: C. J. Black


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from his tenure of a messuage in Over Haddon in 1535, Derbys. Chs. ed. Jeayes, no. 1331. J. C. Cox Derbys. Churches, iv. 89; Harl. 5809, f. 10; PCC 18 Holney; Duchy of Lancaster’s Estates in Derbys. (Derbys. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. iii), 60.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xii-xviii, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8 pp. 76, 77, 82; 1550-3, p. 395; 1553, pp. 352, 417; 1553-4, pp. 18, 29; 1560-3, p. 435; 1563-6, pp. 20-21; St.Ch.2/25/129; Somerville, Duchy, i. 541; SP70/20/42; J. Hunter, Hallamshire, 48.
  • 3. Cox, iv. 89; C1/1473/66; PCC 18 Holney.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xix; APC, i. 304; C66/721, m. 5; St. Ch.2/25/11, 129; 3/1/87.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xiii; SP70/20/424; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot i. 138; ii. 360, 363; CPR, 1566-9 p. 317.
  • 6. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 43; J. C. Cox, Derbys. Annals, 237; PCC 18 Holney.