Chapter XVI.

The Family of Sutton of Sutton-in-Ashfield

In the Heralds Visitation of Nottinghamshire 1569 and 1614 reprinted by the Harleian Society it states that "Sir Seward Lord Sutton of Holderness Co. York lived at the time that the puissant and victorious prince William, Duke of Normandy, conquered this noble realme of England." The eighth in descent from him is given as Thomas Sutton, of whom is descended Sutton of Averham, and Sir William Sutton, Merchant of Burton Lasars, knight. The fourth Serius Lord Sutton " lyeth buried at Sutton in Holderness with the Lyon with the doble tayle on his shield."

This account does not tally with the description given by Dr. Thoroton on page 327 of his History of Nottinghamshire where Thomas Sutton is given as tenth in descent from Roland de Sutton who died before A.D. 1280. Neither does it tally with the account of the family of Burton Lasars as descending from Alanus de Sutton to John de Sutton 16 Ed. I, and Hamo de Sutton 36 Ed. I. It does not appear from whence these statements are derived, but an endeavour will be made to show that the Suttons of Burton Lasars and of Lincoln are of the family settled at Sutton-in-Ashfield.

Sir Wm. Playfair in his British Family Antiquities of 1811, states on page 145 that " the family of Sutton is of Norman extraction and was originally settled at Sutton-upon-Trent from whence it derived its name which it has borne ever since the Conquest. The name of the place is evidently Saxon as it was called before the Conquest Sutton or South town in opposition to North Stoke. Alan Earl of Richmond gave it in charge to Harvey who no doubt took his own name from the place and conferred it on his posterity. This man Harvey was living 22 Hen. II (1176). He had three sons, Robert, Richard and Roland, the latter marrying Alice de Lexington." This again does not tally with the previous accounts of the origin of the family and would apply equally to Sutton in Holderness, as to Sutton on Trent, or to Sutton-in-Ashfield. In the Chartulary of Thurgarton Priory, Walter de Sutton (in-Ashfield) is mentioned as the Father of Gerard de Sutton, and in the Pipe Rolls it is stated that Walter de Sutton paid a Rent (Compotum) of twenty shillings for the right to cut vert (Greenwood) in his Bailiwick (Ballsua) in A.D. 1189, (Bailiwick—a bailiff. Ward, Walk and Bailiwick mean much the same thing. A common name in Nottinghamshire is Bailey.).

No earlier mention of Walter's name has been found, so whether he came from Holderness or Sutton-on-Trent does not appear, but if from the latter it is a remarkable coincidence that he settled at another Sutton. Thoroton quoting from the Chartulary of Thurgarton states that " Gerard son of Walter de Sutton gave to God and the Church of St. Peter at Thurgarton two bovates (=30 acres) of land with his mother when she took the habit of religion, and the Church of the same town, his brother Robert being converted to religion or dead." This Grant was confirmed by Ranulph the Sheriff of Nottinghamshire for the soul of his lord King Henry II. It was a custom for women in great trouble to give themselves to the service of God and therefore Eve, the wife of Walter de Sutton entered a Convent and her son Gerard gave so much land as a dowry and to provide for her maintenance.

Ranulph was Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire from 1166 to 1170, and again in 1189, when he signs as a witness to a Charter of Earl John of Mortain confirming the Charter to Nottingham of his father King Henry II. This determines the date on which Sutton Church was presented to Thurgarton as A.D. 1189 the year Walter died. Gerard, no doubt as an act of piety, or in memory of his father, presenting it. Had it been 1170 when Ranulph first served as Sheriff it would have been in the life-time of Walter. It is another remarkable co-incidence that at this time Harvey de Sutton (on Trent) had also a son named " Robert who died beyond the Seas," but not before he and his father had presented Sutton on Trent Church to Worksop Priory.

Gerard had a son Gilbert who died 1234 of whom few records remain, and no Inquis. P.M., but in the Rolls of Court A.D. 1199 there is an account of an Action at Law by Walter of Skegby against Gilbert de Sutton concerning a parcel of land late of Elias de Hodeshac " on a day before the elevation of the Holy Cross, and 100 days after the Ascension of our Lord." Gilbert was succeeded by his son Gerard c. 1223, for in the Fine Rolls 18 Hen. III it states that " the King accepted the homage of Gerard son and heir of Gilbert de Sutton which the said Gilbert held of the king in chief, which the said Gerard is to hold of right. And the mandate is at Nottingham, and a security of fourteen pounds is accepted from the said Gerard for the release of all his lands in his bailiwick which the said Gilbert was seized at his death. Gerard being of full age." Gerard de Sutton soon rose to a position of importance. He appears as a Juror at an Inquis. P.M. on the death of Geoffrey de Heris alias de Stapulford in 1248, and as a witness to an Inspeximus and confirmation of a Chirograph (i.e. a Royal Grant engrossed twice on the same parchment) between Ralph Musard and Peter de Castria, when he signs as Sir Gerard de Sutton, 6 November, 1270. He married Alice, daughter of Jordan de Snitterton, a manor close to Matlock. Thoroton says of this Jordan de Snitterton that he held some rents by the assignation of William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby who died 1191. In the Chartulary of Darley Abbey it states that " Jordanus de Snitterton do quatuor solidis annus." " Gerardus de Sutton de eisdem iiij solidis."

It has been put on record that the family of Snitterton held the manor of Sutton-in-Ashfield in A.D. 1066, and the Local Board of Sutton, followed by the Urban District Council, the former in 1866, the latter in 1894 actually adopted the crest of the Snitterton's as the Corporate Seal. There is no authority for this statement, the Manor of Sutton being at that date Edward the Confessor's, and later William the Conqueror's.

The manor of Snitterton which lies close to Matlock and Winster belonged at an early period to the family of Shirley which later took the name of Snitterton, and it passed by marriage to the Sacherells. Jordan de Snitterton had two daughters, Sarah married to Robert de Marcham nephew to Roland de Sutton of Averham, and Alice married to Gerard de Sutton of Sutton-in-Ashfield. Gerard died c. 1270 for an Inquis. P.M. was held 1271, by John de Reygate at Retford on Monday next before Pentecost concerning the lands of Gerard de Sutton, by the oth of Geoffrey de Strelley, Alyn Stuff in, Robert le Bret, Hugh de la Morhawe, Ralph le Breton, John de Hacloyt, Ralph de Mainesfeud (Mansfield) William de Anesleye, Andrew de Skegby, Hugh de Sutton and William son of Roger who say upon their oth that Gerard de Sutton held in the vill. of Sutton 1 Messuage with a dove house and they are worth yearly 8/8. And there is in demesne 6 oxgangs of land each containing 20 acres, and each acre is worth 4d yearly, Sum 40/-. And there are 6 acres of meadow of which each is worth yearly 20d, Sum 10/-. And there is there the site of a Mill, and it is worth yearly 12d . . . . And there are 3 Tenants who hold 4 oxgangs of land and they under yearly 12/- namely one moiety at the Feast of the Nativity and the other moiety at the Feast of the Annunciation of the B. V. Mary, and they do suit at the Court every 3 weeks for all service. And the Court is worth 4/-. The Sum appears. There is no avowson of the Church. No knight's fee is there. They also say that Jordan son of the said Gerard is his next heir and of full age. They also say that the said Gerard on the day he died held no other tenement of the king, but for the aforesaid tenement of Sutton he rendered yearly to the king 14/-, and did suit at the Court of Mainesfeud every three weeks, and should find a certain esquire at the common summons of the king into Wales for 40 days at his own cost.

Sum of the same 75s 8d whereof he paid to the King 14/- and so there remains 61s 8d. Also the said Gerard held one messuage and 10 acres of land and rendered to the King 22d yearly.

The Hundred Rolls, P.R.O. (6) 35 however state that he held the Advowson of the Church, held of the king in chief.

Inquisitions Post Mortem were enquiries held on oath by a Jury of the district summoned by an Official known as the Escheator on the death of every person holding land direct from the King, or ' in chief,' and a return was made so that a tax, called a relief, was levied and the lawful heir given possession, or seizen, of the estate.

It cannot be stated definitely how or when this Sutton family settled at Lincoln. "Oliver de Sutton succeeded Richard, the former being Canon of Lincoln and Dean of that Church, who on 5 February in the same year in which Richard departed this life being elected by aid of Inspiration was Consecrated Bishop of this Church on the next day of St. Augustine following, by John of Canterbury, 12 May, 1280." He died 13 November, 1299.

With regard to this remarkable man, whose influence and goodwill are frequently found to be exercised on behalf of the family of Sutton-in-Ashfield the following note is interesting. It shows, int. al.—the many duties expected in those days from the Clergy.

Pat. Rolls A.D. 1275 P.R.O.   William and Simon de Ludham had been left Guardians of two young ladies. "But the said Walter and Simon being dead we (the King) have committed the said custody and marriage to Master Oliver de Sutton, and Robert his brother." It seems certain from the Will of John de Sutton, of Lincoln, A.D. 1391 that his family came from Sutton-in-Ashfield, but no record appears of their settlement at Lincoln before this date, and if Oliver was a son of this branch settled there, it is remarkable that we have no record of the fact. But it seems more than probable that Oliver and Robert were sons of Gerard de Sutton-in-Ashfield and younger brothers of Jordan. At this time too, there was a William de Sutton also in Holy Orders, a secular priest who was in gaol under a charge of theft, but he purged himself by canonical purgation before the Archbishop's official. He was released and the Archbishop issued his mandate to the Archdeacon of Nottingham to cause his good name to be proclaimed . . . . and especially in those places where he was known.

Register of Bish. Walter Gifford, A.D. 1275.  This William seems to have been rather unruly for he was compelled to take the cross because he had caused himself to be  ordained by strange bishops without the

Archbishop's (of York) leave. He is there stated to be of Sutton-in-Ashfield in the Deanery of Bingham (sic). There had been a great cross signing in Nottinghamshire c. 1305 in which people under the influence of excite-

ment had pledged themselves to go on a Crusade, but whom soberer judgment had kept at home on payment of an indemnity. Thus Adam de Selstone compounded by paying half a mark.

Rev. W. H.  Whitworth. William of Lindeby a fine of 2/-, John de Sutton 2/-, but William de Sutton had offended against the laws ecclesiastical by having sought Ordination from alien Bishops and had to pay 2/- for each offence.

" The Crusading ideal was, like that of chivalry, a foreign importation though it long remained part of the creed of the English Aristocracy."

Van Sybel. Hist. of Crusades. " But in England as elsewhere the humbler sort of crusaders were allowed by the Church to commute their vows on easy terms."

In a list of Subsidies paid by the men of Sutton-in-Ashfield in A.D. 1295 the name of William the clerk is given, and a Seal discovered in the Churchyard in 1870 by Edward Allin, the sexton, having the inscription " Willn de Sutton " upon it. It was originally ascribed by Archdeacon Trollope as being of A.D. 1395. More expert evidence states it to be certainly of A.D. 1295. This Seal was stolen out of the Church Vestry in or about 1920. In the Court Rolls of Mansfield Manor the name of William de Sutton appears as a Surety in a case of manslaughter.

Writs for Mil. Service P.R.O. Jordan de Sutton named after his grandfather at Snitterton was of full age when his father died in 1270. He married Avice de Wendesley (both Snitterton and Wendesley are in S. Darley parish) c. 1270, and he was at once called upon to serve his king in Wales and when Edward I issued a Summons Roll in the octave of John the Baptist to Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Soldiers and others who owe service to the King, by the hands of Bohun Earl of Hereford, and Roger le Bigod, Jordan de Sutton acknowledged his serjeantcy by appearing himself at the Muster at Worcester on 1 July. The invasion of Wales immediately followed and Prince Llewellyn surrendered.

Close Rolls. On 8 July, 1288 an Order was issued from the Court of Exchequer to Master Henry de Bray, Escheator this side Trent, to cause Avice, late the wife of Jordan de Sutton, tenant in chief to have seisin (possession) of half a bovate and one twelfth of land in Sneterton together with anything received since they were taken into the king's hands, as the king learns by Inquisition that the lands in Peverwych are of Avice's free marriage and that Jordan and she were jointly enfeoffed of the lands in Sneterton by Geoffrey de Dethic and that Jordan and Avice were in peaceful possession of the premises until the Escheator took them into the king's hands by reason of Jordan's death. Witness : Edmund, Earl of Cornwall. An Order was also issued to Thomas de Normanvill, Escheator beyond Trent to cause dower to be assigned to Avice late wife of Jordan de Sutton upon her taking oath not to marry without the king's licence.

Ibid. An Order was issued 3 August, 1293 to Thomas de Normanvill to cause John, son and heir of Jordan de Sutton, tenant in chief to have seisin of his father's lands, as the king had taken his homage. In Rentals and Surveys of A.D. 1295 John de Sutton appears as paying the largest amount of Subsidy in the Manor of Mansfield, except Radulphus the Clerk (Vicar of Mansfield). Amongst the smaller tenants were Hugh Stuffyn, Antonio de Bek and Hugh of Rodmerthroyt.

John de Sutton died untimeously and very little concerning him is to be found. An Inquisition was held in 1305, as follows : "Sutton-in-Ashfield, Maner extent, Mansfield Soc, Oxton villa una carneat terr. Hothweyt 2 bovates terr, Snytterton villa 3 pars, extent, Wirksworth Wapentake. Ybull Maner, Matelocke 8 acres terr, Estcote (Eastwood ?) unam Mess cum uno Crofte, Spitsbury, berecaria, Peverwiche unam. Mess una bovate terr contin 60 acres Wirksworth Wap : "From this it appears that the family estates had much increased. Where he died does not appear and his place of burial is conjectural. A stone in the floor of Sutton Church Chancel with bow and arrow upon it (originally it had a Baldric with Horn attached, cut away in 1868 by some ignorant and asinine workman, to make the stone fit into others) is stated by Mr. W. Stretton who visited the Church in 1819 to have the words "Hic jacet Joannes de Sutton" incised upon it, but Grimm, another visitor a little later stated that it was "Joannes de Moun." No trace of any inscription is now to be seen. Two sepulchral slabs having floriated crosses upon them in relief and placed in the Porch in 1868 are clearly of c. 1300. Jordan de Sutton is in all probability commemorated by one, 1288, and Gerard de Sutton his father 1270.

On the death of John some uncertainty seems to have existed as to his lawful heir, and an Inquisition was held at Derby, 3 August, 1310 to enquire as to the age of his son John, when the following evidence was given. "Ranulph de Sneterton said he was aged 46, and that the said John de Sutton was 21 on Monday before St. Peter in Cathedra for he was born at Wendesley (in parish of Darley) on that day 16th of Ed. I (1288) and baptised in the Church of Derlye on the Tuesday following, which he knows because he is his godfather, and because Nicholaa his daughter was born on Thursday after the same feast. Henry de Hopton, John de Lewchirche, Simon de Hopton, William son of Henry de Cromford etc. and Ralph Cotterell to whom the king had committed the land etc. was present and could say nothing but that the said John was of full age and ought to have seisin of the lands. The reason for this Inquisition is not obvious, possibly he was engaged beyond seas ; however he was given possession.

In 1318 John de Sutton holding lands beyond Trent was empowered to raise and arm all his men. In a writ dated at York 20 September, 12 Ed. II (1319) an Inquis Ad. Quod Damnum was taken at Kirkby-in-Ashfield on Thursday next after the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel before Robert de Sapy the King's Escheator this side Trent to enquire by the oath of John de Langton, Gilbert son of Gilbert of Kirkby, Wm. Bate of Anneslee, Robert son of Henry del Wodehouse, Robert de Henoure, Hugh son of Robert de Sutton, Henry Till of the same place, Wm. Silipes, John de Ibernia, and Robert son of Hugh upon the Grene whether it would be to the damage or prejudice of the king or of others if the king should grant to John de Sutton that he may enfeoff John le Maltster of Sutton of one messuage, one abjuration of the realm on account of them and of any consequent outlawries. By the King and by the testimony of John de Bello Campo." From this it appears that John de Sutton had been leading a somewhat riotous life, and had fled his country. On his return it is possible that he had learned wisdom for at this time there was a John de Sutton 22 Ed. Ill (1349) who held a view of frankpledge in Aungre Hundred, co. Essex, but it is impossible to connect him with the subject of this history. On 13 May, 1352 an Indulgence was granted to John de Sutton, knight, of the Diocese of York (Nottinghamshire was in that Diocese) and to Robert Spigurnel, Priest of Ely to have portable Altars and to have Mass and other Divine offices celebrated privately in places under an Interdict. The family of Spigurnel was at this time living at Skegby, and it may be presumed that Robert Spigurnel was Chaplain to his friend and neighbour at Sutton. No record appears of the effect, if any, of the tremendous events that were occurring in England at this time. The terrible Black Death of 1349 left awful tragedy behind it, e.g. William de Wake Bridge, near Crich, lost all his family of six in a few months—Wickliffe's teaching was beginning to make headway, and Chaucer was writing. And it would be. interesting to learn the reason for the granting of this Indulgence. It seems probable that John de Sutton had married a lady from Nottingham (Amicia ?) and in the Lincolnshire Pedigrees published by the Harleian Society, and edited by Canon A. R. Madison it states that she was buried in the Church of St. Mary there, but nothing is said of her husband, and when he died does not appear. But in the Will of his son John de Sutton of a. d. 1391 he leaves £12 for the repair of his father's tomb in the Church of Holy Trinity, Wigford.

The history of the family is now plain from its settlement at Lincoln, and is given in Canon Madison's Pedigrees. The Will of John de Sutton of 1391 will be found in the Appendix. He was one of the most prominent citizens of Lincoln representing that city in Parliament from 1369 to 1373, was lord of the Manor of Newhall, but still having an interest in the home of his forefathers, evidenced by his leaving £20 to build the Bell Tower of that Church. His son Robert, a prosperous Merchant held lands in Burton by Lincoln, Sutton (in-Ashfield) by Mansfield. Was M.P. for Lincoln 1381-99. His Will made 28 August, 1413, was proved 21 April, 1414. He was succeeded by his brother Hamo de Sutton, also M.P. for Lincoln. Robert his son came next, M.P. 1448-50 followed by Hamon, then Robert, Henry, Ambrose and finally Robert who died 1592 at Wellingore, without issue, and so this very remarkable family ceased, the last Hamon, brother to Robert, dying a lunatic.

Hamo de Sutton, M.P. 1434, was a very wealthy man, for he held 24 messuages 16 cottages and 161 acres of land in Lincoln—the Manors of Hanworth, Newbell, Langarwyth, Burton, Bultham, Wadyngton—land and houses in 16 other towns and houses and land at Sutton-in-Ashfield, Mansfield and Mansfield Woodhouse. In 1433 he petitioned Parliament, and is then described as Merchant of the Staple at Calais, i.e.. he was a privileged trader in Wool. Hamon his grandson squandered his wealth, and the family lost its importance. An interesting note appears in Precentor Venables, " Walks through the Streets of Lincoln," page 67, as follows : " St. Andrews was another of the Churches which were desecrated and pulled down by the Town Council of 1551 and in this case in spite of the petition of the great family of the Suttons (from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire) who for a long time had lived in an old mansion . . . . where John of Gaunt had resided at one time. The Suttons claimed St. Anne's Chantry annexed to St. Andrew's Church as their own private Chapel and would have been very glad to have kept it up at their own private cost. But no—it was all sold for what it would fetch."

In 1611 Speed wrote of Lincoln, "A little above Gole Bridge on the est side of High Street is a fair guildhall longing to St. Anne's Church of the foundation of Burton and Sutton merchants, A very goodly house longing to Sutton is hard on the North side of St. Ann's Churchyard."

There are no less than forty grants of Arms to the family of Sutton. The original Grant, given in Edmondson's Heraldry of 1780 is " Argent a canton Sable, with Crest a Wolf's head erased." Also " Or, a lion rampant, vert, tail forked," with Crest " out of a ducal coronet a demi lion with two tails, vert," Also " Or, on a chevron between 3 Annulets Gu, as many crescents of the field." Crest, a grey hound head couped erm collared Gu garnished and ringed, Or "on the Collar 3 Annulets of the last." The Suttons of Averham also bore " Arg. a canton sable " as well as " Or, a lion rampant, Vert."

It is indubitable that these were also the Arms of the Suttons of Sutton-in-Ashfield and that they as well as the Suttons of Sutton-on-Trent, Averham, Warsop and Lincoln Suttons were branches of the same family. In the old Church of All Saints, Derby, Mr. Elias Ashmole in A.D. 1662 found on the east wall of the S. Aisle a coat of Arms quartering the Arms of Sutton. " Or, a lion rampant double queued, vert." Dr. Cox in his History of the Churches of Derbyshire writes : " The interesting Sutton monument, now alas ! no more, was clearly to the memory of Thomas Sutton of Kings Mead near Derby who was aged 84 in A.D. 1611, and that he was a descendant of the Suttons of Sutton in Cheshire."

As he bore the same Arms as the Suttons in Holderness, who are clearly the progenitors of the Averham and Lincoln Suttons it seems clear that this wonderful family had a branch in Cheshire as well as at Sutton-in-Ashfield. But Canon Madison appends the following note to this family Pedigree. " This family of Sutton which represented Lincoln in Parliament nearly continuously for more than a century probably took its name from Sutton-in-Mansfield, co. Notts. is quite distinct from the Suttons of Aram and Lexington." " The arms they bore are the same as those of Oliver de Sutton, Bishop of Lincoln, 1280-99." More information has been gained since Canon Madison wrote, and probably the Arms of Bishop Sutton were a special Grant.

Note A. In A.D. 1870 Edward Allin, the Sexton, in digging a grave on the S. side of the Church discovered a Seal, having round it the legend : " S-gillum Wilelmi D'Svttv." Dr. Trollope, Archdeacon of Nottinghamshire described it as the Seal of William de Sutton of the end of the fourteenth century who was buried at St. Katherine's Priory, Lincoln. But later authorities have definitely recognised it as that of Wm. de Sutton of the end of the thirteenth century, and whose name appears in " Rentals and Surveys " of 1295 as, with Adam, Clerks of Sutton-in-Ashfield.

Note. B. Pedigree of the Suttons of Sutton-in-Ashfield.

Pedigree of the Suttons of Sutton-in-Ashfield.

John de Sutton. Will of A.D. 1391. Merchant, M.P. for Lincoln.
From Lincolnshire Pedigrees : Ed : by Canon A. R. Madison, Vol. III. Harl. Soc.

Pedigree of the Suttons of Burton by Lincoln.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the year of our Lord one thousand three hundred and ninety first. I dispose appoint and make this my Will in this manner. First, I commend my soul to God, to the blessed Virgin Mary and to all the Saints, and my body to be buried in the Church of St. Katherine's Priory outside Lincoln, with my best garment as my Principal. Also I leave to the fabric of the said Church £10. Also I leave £12 for the repair and completion of a tomb over the body of my father in the church of the Holy Trinity Wigford. Also I give and leave twenty pounds for making and constructing a bell tower to the Church of Sutton-in-Ashfield. Also I give and leave to the Church of St. Mary in Nottingham one hundred shillings to be spent upon that part of the Church where my mother lies so that the tomb of my mother may be the better marked to the safety of her soul. Also I leave to be spent upon my funeral ten pounds. Also I leave to be distributed to the poor, ten pounds. Also I leave to each order of the Friars 20s. Also I leave to John, Chaplain of the church of St. Andrew on the Hill, Lincoln, living as a recluse there 20s. Also I leave to Isabella a recluse in the church of St. Andrews 13s. 4d. Also I leave to the Prior and Convent of Beauvale Ten Pounds. Also I leave to William de Sutton my relative Ten marks-with a russel mantle. Also I leave to the image of the Blessed Mary at the High Altar of the Cathedral Church of Lincoln a sapphire ring.