Thomas Sutton

Last updated

Thomas Sutton, ca. 1590 ThomasSutton Founder LondonCharterhouse.png
Thomas Sutton, ca. 1590
Tomb of Thomas Sutton in the chapel of the London Charterhouse. Tomb of Thomas Sutton.jpg
Tomb of Thomas Sutton in the chapel of the London Charterhouse.

Thomas Sutton (1532–1611) was an English civil servant and businessman, born in Knaith, Lincolnshire. He is remembered as the founder of the London Charterhouse and of Charterhouse School.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Knaith human settlement in United Kingdom

Knaith is a village and civil parish about 3 miles (5 km) south of the town of Gainsborough in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 335.

London Charterhouse historic complex of buildings in Smithfield, London

The London Charterhouse is a historic complex of buildings in Smithfield, London, dating back to the 14th century. It occupies land to the north of Charterhouse Square, and lies within the London Borough of Islington. Originally constructed as a Carthusian priory, on the site of a burial ground, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries it became one of the greatest palaces of Tudor London. In 1611, the property was bought by Thomas Sutton, a businessman and "the wealthiest commoner in England", who established a school for the young and an almshouse for the old. The almshouse remains today, although the school was re-established as Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey in 1872.



Sutton was the son of an official of the city of Lincoln, and was educated at Eton College and at St John's College, Cambridge. [1] For much of his life he held the prestigious role of Master of the Ordnance in the North, which meant that he was responsible for military supplies and fortification in the north of England. He also obtained the lease of the manors of Whickham and Gateshead, just south of Newcastle, in 1578, and so gained much of his early wealth from the coal mines in the area and from the sale of this lease five years later. [2]

Eton College Independent boarding school in Windsor and Maidenhead, UK

Eton College is a 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore , as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school. Eton's history and influence have made Eton one of the most prestigious schools in the world.

St Johns College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge founded by the Tudor matriarch Lady Margaret Beaufort. In constitutional terms, the college is a charitable corporation established by a charter dated 9 April 1511. The aims of the college, as specified by its statutes, are the promotion of education, religion, learning and research. It is one of the larger Oxbridge colleges in terms of student numbers. For 2018, St. John’s was ranked 9th of 29 colleges in the Tompkins Table with over 30% of its students earning First-class honours.

Whickham human settlement in United Kingdom

Whickham is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, North East England, 5 miles (8.0 km) south west of Newcastle upon Tyne, and is situated on high ground overlooking the River Tyne. In 2011, it had a population of 16,652. Whickham is a semi-rural, middle class suburban town and former civil parish. Built on a large hill, it overlooks a large part of the northern and western horizon, including the MetroCentre, and contains a mixture of large suburban housing estates and private streets for the local residents. The main street that goes through the town contains some shops and retailers, a few pubs and restaurants, and St. Mary's Church, the oldest building in Whickham.

In 1582, he married Elizabeth Dudley, the widow of John Dudley, who was a distant cousin of the earls of Warwick and Leicester, and this marriage more than doubled Sutton's annual rent income. [2]

Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick English nobleman and general

Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, KG was an English nobleman and general, and an elder brother of Queen Elizabeth I's favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Their father was John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, who led the English government from 1550–1553 under Edward VI and unsuccessfully tried to establish Lady Jane Grey on the English throne after the King's death in July 1553. For his participation in this venture Ambrose Dudley was imprisoned in the Tower of London and condemned to death. Reprieved, his rehabilitation came after he fought for Philip II of Spain in the Battle of St. Quentin.

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester English nobleman and the favourite and close friend of Queen Elizabeth I

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, was an English statesman and the favourite of Elizabeth I from her accession until his death. He was a suitor for the Queen's hand for many years.

Sutton's connections to the Dudley family were strong throughout his life. Early in his career, Sutton had held a post under the Earl of Warwick, who then helped him to the post of Master of Ordnance in the North in 1569, and the Earl of Leicester, a favorite of Elizabeth, was instrumental in gaining Sutton the lease of Whickham and Gateshead. [2]

Elizabeth I of England Queen of England and Ireland

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

Sutton bought Howard House from the Earl of Suffolk, which occupied the site of a former Carthusian Monastery on the outskirts of the City of London. Although dissolved by Henry VIII, parts of the monastery still survived. Sutton also purchased the manor of Castle Campes in Cambridgeshire, [3] which had been in possession of the de Vere family [4] for over five hundred years, and, among other landholdings, he also owned the manors of Haddock, Littlebury, and Balsham, all near Saffron Walden in Essex. [2]

Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk English sailor, politician, and courtier

Admiral Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, was a son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk by his second wife Margaret Audley, Duchess of Norfolk, the daughter and heiress of the 1st Baron Audley of Walden.

City of London City and county in United Kingdom

The City of London is a city and local government district that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London; however, the City of London is not a London borough, a status reserved for the other 32 districts. It is also a separate county of England, being an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It is the smallest county in the United Kingdom.

Henry VIII of England King of England and Ireland

Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. He was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.

In 1588 Sutton contributed 100 pounds to defend the realm against the Spanish Armada, and it has been suggested he owned, and perhaps commanded, The Sutton, a barque of seventy tons and thirty men out of Weymouth, which captured a Spanish vessel and her cargo (estimated value of 20,000 pounds). [5]

Later in his career, Sutton became one of the chief moneylenders in England, securing loans worth as little as a few shillings and as much as thousands of pounds to everyone from farmers to some of the most prominent courtiers, businesspeople, and politicians of his era, including Lord Burghley, Sir Edward Coke, Sir Percival Willoughby, Lord Compton, and the Earl of Sussex, among others, generally at the standard rate of ten percent per annum. [2]

Charterhouse Hospital in around 1770. Charterhouse Hospital, engraved by Toms, c.1770..jpg
Charterhouse Hospital in around 1770.
Tudor buildings of Charterhouse. CharterhouseEC1.jpg
Tudor buildings of Charterhouse.

When Sutton died on 12 December 1611 [6] at his house in Homerton, [7] he was considered one of the richest individuals in England with an estate worth approximately £4,836 per annum, and 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". [2] John Aubrey is responsible for the almost certainly spurious legend that Sutton was the original of Volpone the fox in Ben Jonson's Volpone .

Sutton left part of his fortune to be invested in establishing an almshouse for 80 impoverished gentlemen, combined with a school for 40 boys, on the site of his house off Charterhouse Square, on the outskirts of the City of London. This institution was to named the Hospital of King James in Charterhouse, although it later became known as Sutton's Hospital in Charterhouse. The almshouse survives on the original site; while the school, now Charterhouse School, relocated to Godalming, Surrey, in 1872. The London buildings were badly damaged by bombs during the Second World War, but were restored during the 1950s. Sutton's personal arms, blazoned Or, on a chevron between three annulets gules three crescents of the field, are still used by the school.

See also


  1. Venn identifies him with a student at St John's College, Cambridge. "Sutton, Thomas (STN551T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Shipley, Neal R. (1976). "Thomas Sutton: Tudor-Stuart Moneylender". Business History Review . 50 (4): 456–76. ISSN   0007-6805. JSTOR   3113136 via JSTOR.
  3. Shipley, N.R., 'The History of a Manor: Castle Campes, 1580-1629', Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Vol. LXVII, 1974, pp. 162-81.
  4. Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, sold Castle Campes to Thomas Skinner (d. 1596), whose son, Sir John Skinner, to pay his debts, sold it to Sutton on 2 August 1607; see Shipley, pp. 173-5.
  5. The northern suburbs: Haggerston and Hackney, Old and New London: Volume 5 (1878), pp. 505-24 accessed: 18 June 2007
  6. The Tan House, not the contemporaneous Sutton House built by Ralph Sadleir, then known as Bryck Place; the house was finally demolished in 1805 for the creation of Sutton Place Hackney

Related Research Articles

Charterhouse School Public school in Godalming, Surrey, United Kingdom

Charterhouse is a boarding school in Godalming, Surrey. Originally founded by Thomas Sutton in 1611 on the site of the old Carthusian monastery in Charterhouse Square, Smithfield, London, it educates over 800 pupils, aged 13 to 18 years, and is one of the original Great Nine English public schools. Today pupils are still referred to as Carthusians, and ex-pupils as Old Carthusians.

Baron Dudley

Baron Dudley is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in circa 1440 for John Sutton, a soldier who served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The title descended in the Sutton family until the 17th century when Frances Sutton, the heir apparent to the title, married Humble Ward, who, himself, was granted the title Baron Ward in 1644. Their heirs inherited both titles until 1740 when the differing rules of inheritance meant that the Barony of Dudley descended on Ferdinando Dudley Lea, who became the 11th Baron whilst the Barony of Ward went to John Ward, who later became 1st Viscount Dudley and Ward. On Ferdinando's death in 1757, the title fell into abeyance. The title was revived in 1916.

John Sutton, 3rd Baron Dudley, commonly known as Lord Quondam, was an English nobleman.

Jonathan Shipley Bishop of St Asaph

Jonathan Shipley was a clergyman in the Church in Wales, also having held offices in the Church of England, who became Bishop of Llandaff from January to September 1769 and Bishop of St Asaph from September 1769 until his death.

Sutton House, London Tudor manor house in Homerton High Street, Hackney, London, England

Sutton House is a Grade II*-listed Tudor manor house in Homerton High Street, in Hackney and is in London Borough of Hackney, London, England. It is owned by the National Trust.

James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond Irish peer

James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond and 2nd Earl of Ossory, known as The Lame, was the son of Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond and Margaret Fitzgerald, Countess of Ormond. He was created, in 1535, Viscount Thurles, and was confirmed by Act of Parliament, 6 November 1541, in the Earldom of Ormond, as 9th Earl with the pre-eminence of the original earls. His death by poisoning in London remains an unsolved mystery.

Charterhouse Square garden square in Smithfield in central London

Charterhouse Square is a garden square, a pentagonal space, in Smithfield, central London and is the largest courtyard or yard associated with the London Charterhouse, mostly formed of Tudor and Stuart architecture restored after the London Blitz. The square adjoins other buildings including a small school. It lies between Charterhouse Street, Carthusian Street and the main Charterhouse complex of buildings south of Clerkenwell Road. The complex includes a Chapel, Tudor Great Hall, Great Chamber, the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and a 40-resident almshouse.

Church of St John-at-Hackney Church in London Borough of Hackney, United Kingdom

St John at Hackney is a Grade II* listed Anglican Church in the heart of the London Borough of Hackney with a large capacity of around 2,000. It was built in 1792 to replace Hackney's medieval parish church, of which St Augustine's Tower remains, at the edge of its churchyard. The church faces north towards Clapton Square, with the nearby Sutton House and Hackney Central station also accessible from the churchyard to the east and south, respectively.

Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset son of Robert Sackville, 2nd Earl of Dorset

Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset was the son of Robert Sackville, 2nd Earl of Dorset.

Swindon, Staffordshire village in the United Kingdom

Swindon is a village and civil parish located in Staffordshire, just outside the West Midlands conurbation. The nearest major town is Dudley, approximately five miles eastwards. It stands halfway between the small town of Kingswinford and village of Wombourne.

William Patten (historian) English author, scholar and government official

William Patten was an author, scholar and government official during the reigns of King Edward VI and Queen Elizabeth I.

Sir Thomas Penyston, 1st Baronet (1591–1644) was a 17th-century member of the gentry who received one of the first baronetcies. In 1637 he was sheriff of Oxfordshire and in 1640, he was a member of parliament for Westbury.

Francis Popham (1573–1644) English politician

Sir Francis Popham (1573–1644) of Wellington, Somerset and Littlecote, Berkshire, was an English soldier and landowner who was elected a Member of Parliament nine times, namely for Somerset (1597), Wiltshire (1604), Marlborough (1614), Great Bedwin (1621), Chippenham 1624, 1625, 1626, 1628–29), and for Minehead (1640–1644).

Vere Fane, 4th Earl of Westmorland English Earl

Vere Fane, 4th Earl of Westmorland, styled The Honourable Vere Fane from 1644 to 1661 and Sir Vere Fane from 1661 to 1691, was a British peer and Member of Parliament for Peterborough and twice for Kent.

Thomas Wood (bishop of Lichfield and Coventry) bishop, born 1607

Thomas Wood (1607–1692) was an English churchman, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry from 1671 to 1692.

Arthur Ingram English politician

Sir Arthur Ingram was an English investor, landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1610 and 1642. The subject of an influential biography, he has been celebrated for his "financial skill and ruthless self-interest", and characterized as "a rapacious, plausible swindler who ruined many during a long and successful criminal career". Probably of London birth but of Yorkshire background, he was a very extensive landowner in Yorkshire. He acquired and rebuilt the former Lennox residence at Temple Newsam near Leeds, which became the principal seat of his family, including the Lords Ingram, Viscount Irvine and their descendants, for over 300 years.

Elizabeth de Vere, Countess of Oxford, formerly Elizabeth Trentham, was the second wife of the Elizabethan courtier and poet Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

Maurice Denys English politician

Sir Maurice Denys (1516–1563) of Siston Court, near Bristol, Gloucestershire, England and of St John's Street, Clerkenwell, Middlesex, was a lawyer and property speculator during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, during which period he served as a "powerful figure at the Court of Augmentations". He served as a Member of Parliament for Malmesbury in Wiltshire and as Treasurer of Calais. He was the builder of Siston Court in Gloucestershire, which survives largely unaltered since his time. His excessive speculation and borrowing caused the ruination of the Siston branch of the Denys family.

Thomas Larkins Walker (c.1811–1860) was a Scottish architect.