Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sutton, Robert (1594-1668)

SUTTON, ROBERT, first Baron Lexington (1594–1668), born in 1594, was the son of Sir William Sutton of Aram or Averham, Nottinghamshire, by Susan, daughter of Thomas Cony of Basingthorpe, Lincolnshire (Complete Peerage, by G. E. C. v. 73; Lexington Papers, 1851, pref.). Sutton represented Nottinghamshire in the parliament of 1625, and in the two parliaments called in 1640. He took the side of the king when the civil war began, but at first endeavoured to negotiate a treaty for the neutrality of the county with Colonel Hutchinson and the local parliamentary leaders (Life of Col. Hutchinson, ed. 1885, i. 167, 200, 357–62). He served throughout the war in the garrison of Newark until its surrender in 1646 (Cornelius Brown, Annals of Newark, pp. 164, 168). On 21 Nov. 1645 the king created Sutton Baron Lexington of Aram (Black, Oxford Docquets, p. 278). Sutton's loyalty involved him in great losses. His estate was sequestrated, and parliament ordered 5,000l. to be paid out of it to Lord Grey of Wark; till it was paid Grey was to enjoy all the profits of his estate (Calendar of Compounders, p. 1336). Lexington had become one of the securities for a loan raised in Newark for the service of Charles I, which led to further embarrassments (Calendar of Committee for Advance of Money, p. 881; Life of Col. Hutchinson, ii. 139). In 1654 he was a prisoner in the upper bench on an execution for 4,000l., having incurred heavy debts by his composition, and conveyed away all his estate except 300l. per annum (Calendar of Compounders, p. 1337). In 1655 Major-general Edward Whalley [q. v.] and the county committee demanded payment of the decimation tax of ten per cent. of his income. Sutton pleaded inability to pay, and petitioned the Protector. The major-general remonstrated against any leniency being shown to him, saying: ‘He is in this county termed the devil of Newark; he exercised more cruelty than any, nay, than all of that garrison, to the parliament soldiers when they fell into his power’ (Thurloe Papers, iv. 345, 354, 364). At the Restoration Lexington made several unsuccessful attempts to get compensation for his losses out of the estate of Colonel Hutchinson, and after many petitions succeeded in obtaining the repayment of the Newark loan (Life of Col. Hutchinson, ii. 260, 268, 273; Brown, Annals of Newark, p. 187).

Lexington died on 13 Oct. 1668, and was buried at Aram. He married three times: first, on 14 April 1616, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Manners of Haddon Hall, and sister of John, eighth earl of Rutland; secondly, Anne, daughter of Sir Guy Palmes of Lindley, and widow of Sir Thomas Browne, bart., of Walcott, Northamptonshire; and thirdly, on 21 Feb. 1661, Mary, daughter of Sir Anthony St. Leger, warden of the king's mint; she died in 1669, leaving a son Robert, second baron Lexington [q. v.]

[G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage, vol. v.]

C. H. F.