SUTTON, Sir Thomas, 1st Bt. (c.1755-1813), of Hurst House, Moulsey, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. c.1755, s. of Thomas Sutton (d.1789) of Moulsey by Jane, da. of Sir Thomas Hankey, alderman of London, of Clapham. educ. Magdalen, Oxf. 17 July 1773, aged 18.1 m. 27 Apr. 1790, Lucy, da. of Thomas Assheton Smith of Ashley, Cheshire, sis. of Assheton Smith*, 2da. cr. Bt. 5 Mar. 1806.
Sheriff, Surr. 1796-7; maj. 2 Surr. militia 1797, lt.-col. 1800, lt.-col. commdt. 1 regt. 1809-d.
Sutton’s father was high sheriff of Surrey at the time of his death and he himself was sheriff in 1797, when he spoke up for the government at the county meeting requisitioned by the Whigs to petition for their dismissal and refused to sign it. In 1802 he seconded the nomination of Sir John Frederick for the county. Was he the ‘Sutton’ envisaged by Lord Moira in 1803 as his secretary? At any rate Moira informed the Regent’s secretary McMahon in September 1812:
When Sir Thomas Sutton first meditated to stand for the county of Surrey, he spoke to me on the subject, and I saw he was beating about the bush how to connect himself with government yet not seem to be deserting me. I made all easy, as is my way in such cases, by advising that he should address himself to Mr Perceval, tho’ I had no intercourse with the latter but on the contrary was in professed opposition to him. Sir Thomas did so, explained his political principles and was assured of Mr Perceval’s support.2
Sutton accordingly stood for Surrey as a friend of Perceval’s successor Lord Liverpool and survived a contest. He was listed a Treasury supporter after his election. On 1 Mar. 1813 he rose to oppose Catholic relief, not on principle, but until a satisfactory conclusion of the war made it a safe proposition. On 19 May he took a week’s leave for illness. He was back on 22 June when he objected to official recommendation of Christian missions to India and on 1 July led the opposition to it, quoting an imaginary Indian as saying ‘not content with taking our country from us, you wish to deprive us of our religion’. An investor in East India Company stock, he reminded the House that they were ‘statesmen legislating for an empire’, not ‘a Christian assembly’.
Sutton died ‘after a few days’ illness’, 6 Nov. 1813. His friend Lord Glenbervie wrote of him, ‘He is a worthy, honourable, religious man, a perfect gentleman, and a ripe scholar in ancient as well as modern literature’. Glenbervie also recalled that it was at a ‘great dinner’ at Sutton’s Surrey house in February 1811 that the Duke of Clarence declared that the King was now locked up for life.3
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Authors: Brian Murphy / R. G. Thorne
- 1. Alumni Oxon states that he was a barrister of the M. Temple, 1782, confusing him with Thomas, 1st s. of Thomas Sutton of Norfolk Street, Mdx., admitted in 1775 and identifiable with the Thomas Sutton, son of Thomas, attorney, admitted to St. Paul’s sch. 14 Sept. 1759, aged 8. According to Burke’s Extinct Baronetage, the Member had an elder brother Adm. Sir John Sutton. Curiously the latter’s age at death in 1825 was given as 67, Gent. Mag. (1825), ii. 563.
- 2. Morning Chron. 12 Apr. 1797; The Times, 14 July 1802; Prince of Wales Corresp. iv. 1785; Geo. IV Letters, i. 156.
- 3. Gent. Mag. (1813), ii. 622; Glenbervie Jnls. 134; Glenbervie Diaries, ii. 128, 130.