SUTTON, Ambrose (1530-92), of Burton nr. Lincoln and Butterwick, Lincs. and London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. 3 Feb. 1530, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Henry Sutton (d. 6 Jan. 1538) of Wellingore, Lincs. by Margaret, da. of Sir Robert Hussey of Linwood in Blankney, Lincs. m. Faith, da. of Sir William Tyrwhitt of Scotter, Lincs. 2s. suc. gd-fa. Nov. 1545.1

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Cambs., Hunts., I. of Ely, Lincs., Northants., and Notts. 1555, Lincs. 1564.2


The Sutton family had furnished Members for Lincolnshire or Lincoln to several Parliaments in the 14th century. Ambrose Sutton’s father, grandfather and two elder brothers all died while he was a minor, and nine months after his coming of age on 3 Feb. 1551 he had livery of an inheritance which included the manors of South Hykeham and Market Stainton. It must have been shortly after this that he and Edward Sutton, probably his cousin the 4th Lord Dudley, launched Star Chamber suits against each other for assault on servants and tenants in the course of forcible entry on some of these lands. There was a happier outcome to a claim made by Sutton and Thomas Hussey (probably the Member for Peterborough) to the disused church of St. Andrew, Lincoln; although rejecting their claim, the city corporation offered them the church for £53 in recognition of favours received from Sutton’s forbears and in expectation of his own and Hussey’s future goodwill.3

It is not immediately apparent why Sutton, whose influence focussed on Lincoln, should have attended his only Parliament as one of the Members for Grimsby. The explanation is probably to be found in the fact that he was returned there only after his uncle Thomas Hussey I, who had been elected for both Grimsby and Grantham, chose to sit for Grantham; Hussey had been nominated at Grimsby by the sheriff, Sir Francis Askew, whose help he may well have enlisted to secure his replacement by Sutton, to whom Hussey was to bequeath a silvergilt saltcellar. Of Sutton’s part in the proceedings of this brief Parliament nothing is known, and the only reference found to him in a religious context is an ambiguous one. During Cardinal Pole’s visitation of Lincoln, Sutton was presented for eating fish in Lent; to his explanation that the pope had dispensed him on medical advice Pole replied that he did not exhibit any infirmity and he was made to do penance. He may have been led astray by his uncle, who had been similarly accused some 15 years earlier.4

Sutton sued out general pardons in 1554 and 1559, presumably as precautionary measures. The few later references found to him are all suggestive of financial stress: in 1560 and 1566 he was pardoned of outlawry for debts of £70 and £25 to London tradesmen, in 1563 he sold his lands in Market Stainton and in 1566 he was licensed to sell his share in a house at Willoughton, also in Lincolnshire, to Nicholas Sutton. If he shared ancestry with Thomas Sutton the philanthropist, who came from the same part of Lincolnshire, he sank into an obscurity as great as the other’s fame. The visitation of Lincolnshire in 1592 records an Ambrose Sutton of Burton one of whose sons, Robert, had already died without issue while the other, Hamon, was a lunatic. Since Faith Sutton took as her second husband Laurence Meres, whose will was proved in May 1593, her first one, if alive in 1592, could hardly have survived that year.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. M. Hofmann


  • 1. Became 21 on 3 Feb. 1551, CPR, 1553, pp. 369-70. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 938-9.
  • 2. CPR, 1554-5, p. 109; 1563-6, p. 40.
  • 3. CPR, 1553, pp. 369-70; St.Ch.3/5/79, 80, 7/91; HMC 14th Rep VIII, 46.
  • 4. Lincs. Wills 1500-1600, ed. Maddison, 51; Strype Eccles. Memorials, iii(2), 393-4.
  • 5. CPR, 1553-4, p. 415; 1558-60, p. 227; 1560-3, pp. 89, 552; 1563-6, pp. 355, 416; Vis. Lincs. ed. Metcalfe, 68; Lincs. Peds. 939.