Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sutton, Richard (1798-1855)

SUTTON, Sir RICHARD (1798–1855), second baronet, sportsman, son of John Sutton (who was the eldest son of Sir Richard Sutton, first baronet), by his wife Sophia Frances, daughter of Charles Chaplin, was born at Brant Broughton, Lincolnshire, on 16 Dec. 1798. The first baronet, Sir Richard Sutton, who was great-grandson of Henry Sutton, a younger brother of Robert Sutton, first baron Lexington [q. v.], received his title on retiring from the office of under-secretary of state on 14 Oct. 1772. In 1802 Sutton succeeded his grandfather, the first baronet, in the title and estates when only four years of age. During a long minority his wealth accumulated and he became one of the most wealthy men in the country, owning large estates in Nottinghamshire, Norfolk, and Leicestershire, and also in London, where a large portion of Mayfair belonged to him. He was admitted a fellow-commoner of Trinity College, Cambridge, on 22 Oct. 1816, graduating M.A. in 1818. As soon as he came of age he devoted himself with great enthusiasm to field sports. The family seat was Norwood in Nottinghamshire, but he took Sudbrooke Hall, Lincolnshire, for his hunting residence, and Welting, Norfolk, for his shooting-box, and rented large moors in Aberdeenshire for grouse-shooting and deer-stalking. So devoted was he to shooting that he seldom missed a day during the season, except when he was hunting.

In 1822 Sutton became master of foxhounds, succeeding Thomas Assheton Smith [q. v.] as master of the Burton hunt in Lincolnshire. He frequently hunted six days a week, excepting for a time in 1829, when he broke his thigh. He then took a house at Lincoln, exercising profuse hospitality during his residence there. In 1844, on Lord Lonsdale's death, he removed his hunting establishment to Cottesmore Park in Rutland, where he hunted for five seasons. In 1848 he again removed to Leicestershire, residing at Quorn Hall, which he purchased on 15 Jan. 1848 from the Oliver family for 12,000l. Here he hunted for eight years, the Quorn country being considered the finest field in England, and under his lead Leicestershire enjoyed sport unsurpassed in its long sporting annals. At Quorn he kept a stud of seventy to eighty horses and seventy-nine couples of hounds, and for some years he bore the sole cost of the Quorn Hunt.

Sutton was an ardent lover of the chase, a good rider, fond of riding ‘difficult’ horses, and a good shot. He was never idle, but after his day's sport occupied himself with his flute or his books. He had a great talent for music. For politics he had a contempt, and, though often solicited, refused to stand for parliament.

He died suddenly on 14 Nov. 1855 at his town residence, Cambridge House, No. 94 Piccadilly. He was buried on the 21st at Linford, Nottinghamshire. His stud was sold on 13 and 14 Dec. following. On the first day thirty-two horses fetched 5,812 guineas, and the remainder over 1,200l. on the second day. Seventy couples of hounds produced 1,806 guineas. After his death the Quorn Hall estate was sold to Mr. Edward Warner, and the Quorn hunt was removed to Melton Mowbray.

Sutton married, a few days after he came of age, at St. Peter's in Eastgate, Lincoln, on 17 Dec. 1819, Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin Burton, esq., of Burton Hall, co. Carlow, and by her had seven sons and four daughters. His wife predeceased him on 1 Jan. 1842. His will was proved in the prerogative court of Canterbury on 12 Dec. 1855. An equestrian portrait of Sutton was painted by Sir F. Grant, R.A., and was engraved by Graves.

[Field, 24 Nov. 1855; Leicester Journal, 16 Nov. 1855; Times, 15 Nov. 1855; Gent. Mag. 1856, i. 80–2; Annual Register 1855, xcvii. 317–18; Burke's and Foster's Baronetages; information from W. Aldis Wright, esq., D.C.L.]

W. G. D. F.