CUTLER, Sir John, 1st Bt. (c.1608-93), of Tothill Street, Westminster and Upper Brockley, Deptford, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. c.1608, s. of Thomas Cutler, Grocer, of London. m. (1) 11 Aug. 1642, Elizabeth (bur. 28 May 1650), da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Foote, 1st Bt., ld. mayor of London 1649-50, 1da. d.v.p.; (2) 27 July 1669, Alicia (bur. 10 May 1685), da. of Sir Thomas Tipping of Wheatfield, Oxon., 1da. Kntd. 17 June 1660; cr. Bt. 12 Nov. 1660.1
Member, Grocers’ Co. by 1651, master 1652-3, 1685-6, July 1688-9; alderman, London 2-5 Aug. 1651, common councilman 1654-5, 1658-9, 1661-2; commr. for assessment, London 1657, Jan. 1660-1, Kent and Westminster 1678-80, Mdx. 1689, Cambs., Kent, Mdx. and Yorks. (W. Riding) 1689-90; jt. receiver-gen., Notts. and Derbys. Dec. 1660-73; dep. lt. London 1662-Oct. 1688, 1690-d., Kent 1680-Feb. 1688, Mdx. 1689-d.; receiver of contributions, St. Paul’s Cathedral 1663-6; member, Hon. Artillery Co. 1663; j.p. Kent, Mdx. and Westminster 1672-Feb. 1688, Mdx. and Westminster Sept. 1688-d.; sheriff, Kent 1675-6; commr. for recusants, Mdx. 1675.2
Cutler’s father never became warden of his company, and in 1640 was reckoned only in the fourth rank of ‘ability’. Cutler himself married well, and probably abandoned trade for finance at an early stage of his career. He took no part in the Civil War, and fined for alderman in 1651, though he served inconspicuously on the common council. Like (Sir) Robert Clayton, he specialized in the largest kind of mortgage business, and during the Interregnum he acquired considerable property in Yorkshire from the 2nd Lord Strafford, as well as the manor of Brockley, which he retained. At the Restoration a timely loan of £5,000 to the crown earned him a baronetcy and a receivership. In 1663 he gave £1,500 towards the repair of St. Paul’s, and was made receiver of voluntary contributions for the same purpose, ‘which they say will be worth three times as much money’. After the Great Fire he rebuilt his Company’s hall at his own expense, and acquired a reputation for a combination of public munificence and personal frugality, though he had always time for serious discourse in coffee-houses. By 1671 he had moved to Westminster, a more convenient address than Gracechurch Street for most of his client‘le, and built a gallery in his new parish church. He is said to have lent £40,000 to the 6th Baron de la Warr, and the unfortunate William Lenthall lived to see over £20,000 against his name in Cutler’s books on the security of his land and office.3
During the Popish Plot Cutler was active as a j.p. in suppressing a Roman Catholic school in Westminster. Although a generous landlord to his distant Yorkshire tenants, he was reputed an ‘old curmudgeon’ by his neighbours, and he was defeated in September 1679 by the country candidate, Sir William Pulteney. He was temporarily successful, however, as court candidate for Taunton, presumably on the interest of his former son-in-law, Sir William Portman. In June 1680 he was foreman of the jury that acquitted Lord Castlemaine (Roger Palmer). When the second Exclusion Parliament met he took no part in its proceedings, and, having informed the House through his counsel that he was satisfied that he was not duly elected, he was unseated. In 1686 he bought the great Cambridgeshire estate of Wimpole from (Sir) Thomas Chicheley. As a Kent j.p. he replied to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws:
He does not intend to stand for Parliament man, nor to elect any. ... When it comes to a trial he shall show himself an honest man to all intents and purposes.
Honesty, however, was not the quality that was required, and Cutler was removed from public office.4
Cutler was returned for Bodmin at the general election of 1689 on the interest of the 2nd Earl of Radnor (Charles Bodvile Robartes), who married his only surviving child. An inactive Member of the Convention, he did not vote to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. He was appointed to 11 committees, including those to inquire into deficiencies in government credit and abuses in the coinage, to restore corporations, and to receive proposals for raising money on forfeited Irish estates. On 31 Oct. he told the House that expenditure might be easily and substantially reduced
by diminishing the salaries given to the commissioners of the customs house and to most other commissioners and officers, for those commissioners had above £1,000 a man, and he would find sufficient men every way well qualified to discharge that office for £200 a piece salary per annum.5
Cutler was re-elected in 1690, but died on 15 Apr. 1693, aged 85, and was buried in St. Margaret’s, Westminster, the only member of his family to enter Parliament. His wealth was popularly reckoned at £100,000 in cash and £6,000 p.a. in land. After extensive charitable bequests, the principal beneficiary in his will was his nephew Edmund Boulter, who sat for Boston from 1698 to 1701.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Stepney Mar. Reg. ed. Ferguson, ii. 28, 136; St. Margaret Westminster (Harl. Soc. Reg. lxiv), 116; Par. Colls. (Oxf. Rec. Soc. xi), 337.
- 2. W. W. Grantham, Wardens of Grocers’ Co. 28, 33; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London, 55; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 429; 1663-4, p. 115; HMC Lords, iii. 46; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 78; v. 350; Ancient Vellum Bk. ed. Raikes, 87.
- 3. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), ii. 57; Guildhall RO, common council jnls.; J. B. Heath, Grocers’ Co. 298-307; HMC Var. ii. 378; H. H. Drake, Hundred of Blackheath, 30, 34; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 78, 501, 507, 653; x. 271; Pepys Diary, 23 Jan., 22 Dec. 1663; HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 311; Luttrell, iii. 126; CSP Dom. 1693, p. 215; HMC Lords, n.s. vii. 547.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1678, p. 490; Grey, vi. 179; Ellis Corresp. i. 216; Thoresby Diary, i. 233-4; State Trials, vii. 1067; CJ, ix. 672; VCH Cambs. v. 265.
- 5. R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2 p. 640.
- 6. Luttrell, iii. 81; HMC Ancaster, 433.