SUTTON, Richard (1674-1737), of Scofton, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. 16 Jan. 1674, 2nd s. of Robert Sutton of Averham, Notts. (nephew of Robert Sutton, M.P., 1st Baron Lexington), by Katherine, da. of Rev. William Sherborne, D.D., of Pembridge, Herefs.; yr. bro. of Sir Robert Sutton. m. Catherine de Tolmer of Bruges, 2s. 1da.
Ensign, Visct. Castleton’s regt. of Ft. 1690, capt. 1693, maj. 1697, half-pay 1698; maj. 8 Ft. 1701, lt.-col. 1702; brevet-col. 1704; lt. gov. Hull 1707-11; col. regt. of Ft. 1709-12; brig.-gen. 1710; gov. Hull 1711-15; col. 19 Ft. 1712-15; c.-in-c. Bruges 1713-14; clerk of the Green Cloth 1724-6; maj.-gen. 1727; envoy to Hesse-Cassel 1727-9 and 1730-1, Brunswick Wolfenbüttel 1729, 1730-1, and Denmark 1729; col. 19 Ft. (again) 1729-d.; gov. Guernsey 1733-5; lt.-gen. 1735.
Entering the army at the age of 16, Sutton served in Flanders under William III and Marlborough.1 He was returned for Newark, where his cousin, Lord Lexington, a prominent Jacobite, had a strong interest. Classed as a Tory in 1713, but as a Whig in 1715, he was one of the high ranking army officers who, on the outbreak of the Fifteen rebellion, were dismissed or required to resign their regiments on security grounds, either because of Lexington’s treasonable activities, or because he himself had been connected with Bolingbroke and the Duke of Ormonde during the last years of the late reign.2 Going into opposition, he voted against the septennial bill in 1716, and the repeal of the Occasional Conformity Act in 1719, but seems to have made his peace with the Government by the end of that year, when he voted for the peerage bill. Nevertheless in 1722 he declared against one of the government candidates for Nottinghamshire, the other being his brother, Sir Robert Sutton, apparently in anger with the Duke of Newcastle for not supporting his son’s candidature at Retford.3
After Sunderland’s death, Sutton attached himself to Walpole, whose son tells the following story:
General Sutton ... was one day sitting by my father at his dressing. Sir Robert said to Jones, who was shaving him, ‘John, you cut me’—presently afterwards, ‘John, you cut me’—and again with the same patience ... ‘John, you cut me’. Sutton started up and cried, ‘By God! if he can bear it, I can’t; if you cut him once more, damn my blood if I don’t knock you down’.4
Re-employed and reinstated in his military appointments, he thenceforth voted with the Government, speaking for them on army matters.5 In the affair of the Charitable Corporation Sir Robert Sutton is said to have been prejudiced by ‘the character of his brother, the general, as worthless a man, without question, as ever was created’. On his death the 1st Lord Egmont wrote:
Last Saturday, 23rd inst. [July 1737] died General Richard Sutton, governor of Hull, and Guernsey, of whom it is said that ‘Satan, governor of Hell, is dead’. He was indeed an atheistical, debauched man.6