Sutton Surname Genealogy

Sutton is derived from the place-name Sutton, meaning “south
town,” which was fairly widespread in England. It first
appeared as a surname – as Sudtone and as Suttuna – in the Domesday
Book of 1086.
Sutton Resources on

Sutton Ancestry

Sutton place-names brought about some early Sutton surnames, in
Yorkshire, Essex, and Nottinghamshire:

  • Saier de Sutton was Lord of Sutton in Holderness in the late 12th
    century. The Hull river was said to have been first called the
    Sayer river after him. He built Branceholme castle as his
    home. His descendants were influential in the early history of
    the port of Hull.
  • Sir William de Sutton married into the Bataille family in 1289
    and received the Wivenhoe manor in Essex.
  • and Hervey
    de Sutton
    was Lord of Sutton upon Trent in
    Nottinghamshire in the 1250’s (it was said that he was the great
    grandson of a Saxon tenant called Hervey de Sutton in the year 1079).

From Hervey de Sutton came:

  • Oliver Sutton, the bishop
    Lincoln in the 1280’s and 90’s who joined Archbishop Winchelsey in
    resisting the
    taxation imposed by Edward 1 in 1296
  • Sir John Sutton, who combined the
    estates of the Sutton and Dudley families and inherited Dudley castle
    in Staffordshire
  • and, later on, Thomas Sutton who married Elizabeth
    Dudley and continued the Dudley relationship.

Thomas Sutton was one of the chief moneylenders of Elizabethan England,
securing loans worth for as little as a few shillings or for as much
as thousands of pounds to everyone from farmers to some of the most
prominent courtiers, business people, and politicians of his era:

“When Sutton died in 1611,
he was considered one of the richest individuals in England.
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.'”

Later lines of these Suttons have included:

  • Robert Sutton, a Royalist
    at the time of the Civil War
  • Sir
    Robert Sutton the diplomat

    (famed in
    horseracing circles for having brought to England the original Arabian
    grey from which all thoroughbred greys are descended)
  • and indirectly,
    through his maternal grandfather, Charles Manners Sutton who was
    appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1805.

These Suttons tended to be Nottinghamshire based. But the main
geographic locations of Suttons by the 19th century were:

  • north and
    west, from Staffordshire stretching into Lancashire. The Suttons
    of Sutton Hall near Macclesfield in Cheshire date from the 12th century
    (the male line, however, ran out in 1601). Sutton family
    histories have begun with: Henry Sutton, born in 1718 in Horton,
    Staffordshire; John Sutton, born in 1735 in Formby, Lancashire; and the
    marriage of William and Mary Sutton in Hoole church in Cheshire in 1768.
  • or around London
    and the southeast. A Sutton family held land on the Essex/Suffolk
    border from early times. George Sutton, the early emigrant to
    came from an Essex family and grew up in Tenterden in Kent.
    Philpot John Sutton, a later emigrant, came from Lydden in Kent.

Ireland. The Sutton
name in Ireland is an old one, having been brought there by Sir Roger
de Sutton with Strongbow’s invading army in 1170. These Suttons
established themselves in county Wexford where they were substantial
landowners. Their main stronghold was Ballykeerogue castle.
There were also Suttons
at Clonmines
and at Great Clonard.

Nicholas Sutton of this family visited Spain in 1579. An account
of his journey has been preserved in manuscript form at the British
Museum. The Sutton Clonard branch, beginning with Thomas Sutton
in the 15th century, commanded a large merchant fleet in the late 17th
century. However, they were James II supporters in 1689 and,
after his defeat, took their fleet to Spain. Later Michael Sutton
became Don Miguel Sutton and was ennobled as Conde de Clonard.

Suttons remained in Wexford. George Sutton came to Newfoundland
in the 1790’s and later settled to farm in New Brunswick. A
number of Suttons from Wexford emigrated to Canada
and Australia in the 19th century.

America. John Sutton came to
Massachusetts from Lincolnshire in 1638 and settled in Hingham.
His son Joseph moved to Westchester county, New York and then to Long

But the first Sutton recorded in America is thought to have been George
Sutton. He came to Massachusetts from Kent on the Hercules in 1634 at the age of 21
as one of the servants of Nathaniel Tilden, a former mayor of
Tenterden. A year
later he married the boss’s daughter.

family’s later association with the Quakers has tended to reinforce the
belief that Daniel Sutton of Burlington county, New Jersey and William
, an influential Quaker in Woodbridge/Piscataway, New
were his sons. After the Plymouth colony had enacted penal laws
against the Quakers in 1668, these Suttons departed Massachusetts, with
George Sutton migrating to North Carolina. Many of the children
settled in New Jersey.

Another Quaker
Sutton line began with Thomas and Joseph Sutton, brothers, who settled
the Byram river in Connecticut in the late 1600’s.
Among the 15 or more graves of Suttons in the
old burying ground on Milton Point in Rye are some that date back

Thomas remained in Connecticut. A
descendant, Benjamin Sutton,
had his problems during the Revolutionary War and
departed for Vermont. Meanwhile, Joseph
Sutton was the forebear of the Suttons in New Castle, Delaware; while
presumably another brother, settled in New Jersey in the 1670’s, close
to Baptistown.

“In 19th century New Jersey, the
family of Suttons was so numerous, that, in the writer’s opinion, to
bear the name and to derive ancestry from the state is almost proof of
membership in it. There were, for the most part, farmers and
artisans, attached to the Baptist or Presbyterian creeds, and located
chiefly in the northern half of the state – the east Jersey of colonial

More than twenty five Sutton descendants from New Jersey fought in the
Revolutionary War (including the brothers Jonathan and Uriah who held
commissions as captains), as well as others from Massachusetts. There
were also Sutton descendants in North Carolina and Virginia – as
recorded in T. Dix Sutton’s 1941 book The
Suttons of Caroline County, Virginia.
Family descendants
are now widely spread around America.

John and James Sutton were
two brothers from New
Jersey who migrated west to St. Louis in the 1810’s and prospered there
as blacksmiths.

Canada. A
Sutton family from Staffordshire emigrated to Canada in 1903, joining
the Barr
colony to settle in Saskatoon in the Canadian Prairies.
Joseph Sutton bought the Empire Hotel there
and prospered. Daughter Patricia wrote a
book about her memories of the crossing and her life as a young girl in
entitled No English Need Apply.

Australia. Richard and
Mary Sutton were lured to Australia in 1853 by the gold prospects in
Victoria. Although they settled in Ballarat Richard soon gave up gold

“Seeking amusement at night in his tent
he set about constructing a concertina, a device that had been invented
by Charles Wheatstone, the father of the telegraph.”

Soon he had started a small music shop, bringing musical instruments
and sheet music to Ballarat. This was the beginning of Sutton’s
Musical Emporium which traded in Melbourne for the next hundred
years. His son Henry Sutton achieved renown in
Australia as an inventor.

From Ireland in 1839 had come John Sutton and his family to work on the
land in Western Australia as indentured servants. John in time
became the keeper of the Mandurah ferry. After his death in 1857
his nephew Henry developed the family’s dairy and cattle business in
Mandurah. The homestead that he built in 1880 stayed with the
family until 1977.

Sutton Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Sutton Names

Thomas Sutton, a moneylender, was thought to have been the
richest commoner in Elizabethan England.
Charles Manners Sutton was
Archbishop of Canterbury from 1805 to 1828.
Henry Sutton pioneered
telephones in Australia, developed an early prototype of the
television, and built the first Australian motor car.
was an American baseball pitcher, primarily with the Los
Angeles Dodgers. His career win total of 324 ranks him fourteenth
amongst all major league pitchers.

Select Suttons Today

  • 38,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Essex)
  • 26,000 in America (most numerous in North Carolina)
  • 23,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


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