Sutton, Christopher (DNB00)


SUTTON, CHRISTOPHER (1565?–1629), divine, born of humble parentage about 1565, was, according to Wood, a Hampshire man. He matriculated as a batler from Hart Hall, Oxford, on 1 March 1582–3, and graduated B.A. from Lincoln College on 12 Oct. 1586. He proceeded M.A. on 18 June 1589, B.D. on 29 May 1598, and D.D. on 30 June 1608. He became incumbent of Woodrising, Norfolk, in 1591, and from 1598 held with it the rectory of Caston in the same county (Blomefield, not, as Wood says, Caston ‘in his own county of Hampshire.’ During 1597 he was also vicar of Rainham, Essex. On 30 April 1605 he was installed canon of Westminster, a piece of preferment given him by James I for his ‘excellent and florid preaching.’ He preached in the abbey the funeral sermon on William Camden [q. v.] In 1612 he was presented to the rectory of Great Bromley, Essex, to which he added in 1618 that of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, and in 1623 (misprinted 1632 in Blomefield) that of Cranworth, Norfolk. The first and the last he continued to hold till his death. On 23 Oct. 1618 he was also installed canon of Lincoln. He died in May or June 1629, and was buried in Westminster Abbey ‘before the vestry door’ (Wood). His name, however, does not appear in the register.

Sutton was author of some fervently devotional works which had great popularity in the seventeenth century, and were again brought into vogue by the leaders of the Oxford movement. Their titles are: 1. ‘Disce Mori. Learne to Die. A Religious Discourse moving every Christian Man to enter into a serious Remembrance of his Ende,’ 1600, 12mo. It was dedicated to Lady Elizabeth Southwell. An enlarged edition appeared in 1609, and the work was reprinted in 1616, 1618, and 1662. Editions were also issued at Oxford in 1839 and 1848, and in America in 1845. A Welsh version by M. Williams appeared in 1852. 2. ‘Disce Vivere. Learne to Live … a brief Treatise … wherein is shewed that the life of Christ is and ought to be the most perfect Patterne of Direction to the Life of a Christian,’ 1608, 12mo. In 1634 it was issued bound up with ‘Disce Mori.’ In 1839 it was reprinted at Oxford from the edition of 1626, with a preface signed with Cardinal Newman's initials, and was reissued in 1848. An American edition appeared in 1853. 3. ‘Godly Meditations upon the most holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper … together with a short Admonition touching the Controversie about the Holy Eucharist. Also Godly Meditations concerning the Divine Presence,’ 1613, 12mo; a third edition appeared in 1677. The book was dedicated to ‘the two vertuous and modest gentlewomen, Mrs. Katherine and Mrs. Francis Southwell, sisters.’ John Henry (afterwards Cardinal) Newman, who wrote a preface for the Oxford reprint of 1838 (reissued in 1848, 24mo, and 1866, 8vo), describes it as written in the devotional tone of Bishops Taylor and Ken.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 456; Sutton's Works; Blomefield's Hist. of Norfolk, ii. 283, x. 202, 280; Le Neve's Fasti Eccles. Anglic. ii. 112, iii. 358; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Allibone's Dict. Engl. Lit.]

G. Le G. N.