Select Sutton Surname Genealogy

Sutton is derived from the place-name Sutton, meaning "south town,"  which was fairly widespread in England.  It first appeared as a surname - as Sudtone and as Suttuna - in the Domesday Book of 1086. 

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Select Sutton Ancestry

England.  Sutton place-names brought about some early Sutton surnames, in Yorkshire, Essex, and Nottinghamshire:
  • Saier de Sutton was Lord of Sutton in Holderness in the late 12th century.  The Hull river was said to have been first called the Sayer river after him.  He built Branceholme castle as his home.  His descendants were influential in the early history of the port of Hull.  
  • Sir William de Sutton married into the Bataille family in 1289 and received the Wivenhoe manor in Essex.
  • and Hervey de Sutton was Lord of Sutton upon Trent in Nottinghamshire in the 1250's (it was said that he was the great grandson of a Saxon tenant called Hervey de Sutton in the year 1079).
From Hervey de Sutton came:
  • Oliver Sutton, the bishop of Lincoln in the 1280's and 90's who joined Archbishop Winchelsey in resisting the taxation imposed by Edward 1 in 1296
  • Sir John Sutton, who combined the estates of the Sutton and Dudley families and inherited Dudley castle in Staffordshire
  • and, later on, Thomas Sutton who married Elizabeth Dudley and continued the Dudley relationship. 
Thomas Sutton was one of the chief moneylenders of Elizabethan England, securing loans worth for as little as a few shillings or for as much as thousands of pounds to everyone from farmers to some of the most prominent courtiers, businesspeople, and politicians of his era:

"When Sutton died in 1611, he was considered one of the richest individuals in England.  Sutton's accounts showed that he was personally worth over ₤50,000, mostly in the form of outstanding obligations and recognizances from the many people in debt to him. This immense wealth earned Sutton the nicknames among his contemporaries of 'Croesus' and 'Riche Sutton.'"

Later lines of these Suttons have included:
  • Robert Sutton, a Royalist at the time of the Civil War
  • Sir Robert Sutton the diplomat (famed in horseracing circles for having brought to England the original Arabian grey from which all thoroughbred greys are descended)
  • and indirectly, through his maternal grandfather, Charles Manners Sutton who was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1805.
These Suttons tended to be Nottinghamshire based.  But the main geographic locations of Suttons by the 19th century were:
  • north and west, from Staffordshire stretching into Lancashire.  The Suttons of Sutton Hall near Macclesfield in Cheshire date from the 12th century (the male line, however, ran out in 1601).  Sutton family histories have begun with: Henry Sutton, born in 1718 in Horton, Staffordshire; John Sutton, born in 1735 in Formby, Lancashire; and the marriage of William and Mary Sutton in Hoole church in Cheshire in 1768.
  • or around London and the southeast.  A Sutton family held land on the Essex/Suffolk border from early times.  George Sutton, the early emigrant to America, came from an Essex family and grew up in Tenterden in Kent.  Philpot John Sutton, a later emigrant, came from Lydden in Kent.
Ireland.   The Sutton name in Ireland is an old one, having been brought there by Sir Roger de Sutton with Strongbow's invading army in 1170.  These Suttons established themselves in county Wexford where they were substantial landowners.  Their main stronghold was Ballykeerogue castle.  There were also Suttons at Clonmines and at Great Clonard.

Nicholas Sutton of this family visited Spain in 1579.  An account of his journey has been preserved in manuscript form at the British Museum.  The Sutton Clonard branch, beginning with Thomas Sutton in the 15th century, commanded a large merchant fleet in the late 17th century.  However, they were James II supporters in 1689 and, after his defeat, took their fleet to Spain.  Later Michael Sutton became Don Miguel Sutton and was ennobled as Conde de Clonard.

Suttons remained in Wexford.  George Sutton came to Newfoundland in the 1790's and later settled to farm in New Brunswick.  A number of Suttons from Wexford emigrated to Canada and Australia in the 19th century.

.  John Sutton came to Massachusetts from Lincolnshire in 1638 and settled in Hingham.  His son Joseph moved to Westchester county, New York and then to Long Island.

But the first Sutton recorded in America is thought to have been George Sutton.  He came to Massachusetts from Kent on the Hercules in 1634 at the age of 21 as one of the servants of Nathaniel Tilden, a former mayor of Tenterden.  A year later he married the boss's daughter. 

His family's later association with the Quakers has tended to reinforce the belief that Daniel Sutton of Burlington county, New Jersey and William Sutton, an influential Quaker in Woodbridge/Piscataway, New Jersey, were his sons.  After the Plymouth colony had enacted penal laws against the Quakers in 1668, these Suttons departed Massachusetts, with George Sutton migrating to North Carolina.  Many of the children settled in New Jersey. 

Another Quaker Sutton line began with Thomas and Joseph Sutton, brothers, who settled along the Byram river in Connecticut in the late 1600ís.  Among the 15 or more graves of Suttons in the old burying ground on Milton Point in Rye are some that date back before 1700. 

Thomas remained in Connecticut.  A descendant, Benjamin Sutton, had his problems during the Revolutionary War and departed for Vermont.  Meanwhile, Joseph Sutton was the forebear of the Suttons in New Castle, Delaware; while William, presumably another brother, settled in New Jersey in the 1670ís, close to Baptistown.

"In 19th century New Jersey, the family of Suttons was so numerous, that, in the writer's opinion, to bear the name and to derive ancestry from the state is almost proof of membership in it.  There were, for the most part, farmers and artisans, attached to the Baptist or Presbyterian creeds, and located chiefly in the northern half of the state - the east Jersey of colonial times."

More than twenty five Sutton descendants from New Jersey fought in the Revolutionary War (including the brothers Jonathan and Uriah who held commissions as captains), as well as others from Massachusetts. There were also Sutton descendants in North Carolina and Virginia - as recorded in T. Dix Sutton's 1941 book The Suttons of Caroline County, Virginia.  Family descendants are now widely spread around America.

John and James Sutton were two brothers from New Jersey who migrated west to St. Louis in the 1810ís and prospered there as blacksmiths.

Canada.  A Sutton family from Staffordshire emigrated to Canada in 1903, joining the Barr colony to settle in Saskatoon in the Canadian Prairies.  Joseph Sutton bought the Empire Hotel there and prospered.  Daughter Patricia wrote a book about her memories of the crossing and her life as a young girl in Saskatoon entitled No English Need Apply.

Australia.  Richard and Mary Sutton were lured to Australia in 1853 by the gold prospects in Victoria. Although they settled in Ballarat Richard soon gave up gold digging.

"Seeking amusement at night in his tent he set about constructing a concertina, a device that had been invented by Charles Wheatstone, the father of the telegraph."

Soon he had started a small music shop, bringing musical instruments and sheet music to Ballarat.  This was the beginning of Sutton's Musical Emporium which traded in Melbourne for the next hundred years.  His son Henry Sutton achieved renown in Australia as an inventor.

From Ireland in 1839 had come John Sutton and his family to work on the land in Western Australia as indentured servants.  John in time became the keeper of the Mandurah ferry.  After his death in 1857 his nephew Henry developed the family's dairy and cattle business in Mandurah.  The homestead that he built in 1880 stayed with the family until 1977.

Select Sutton Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Sutton Names

Thomas Sutton
, a moneylender, was thought to have been the richest commoner in Elizabethan England.
Charles Manners Sutton was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1805 to 1828.
Henry Sutton pioneered telephones in Australia, developed an early prototype of the television, and built the first Australian motor car.
Don Sutton was an American baseball pitcher, primarily with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  His career win total of 324 ranks him fourteenth amongst all major league pitchers.

Select Suttons Today
  • 38,000 in the UK (most numerous in Essex)
  • 26,000 in America (most numerous in North Carolina) 
  • 23,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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