Sutton, Thomas (1585-1623) (DNB00)


SUTTON, THOMAS (1585–1623), divine, was born in 1585 of humble parentage at Sutton Gill in the parish of Bampton, Westmoreland. In 1602 he was made ‘a poor serving child’ of Queen's College, Oxford, whence he matriculated on 15 Oct. He was afterwards tabarder, and graduated B.A. on 20 May 1606. He proceeded M.A. on 6 July 1609, B.D. on 15 May 1616, and D.D. on 12 May 1620. In 1611 he was elected perpetual fellow of the college. Having taken orders he became lecturer of St. Helen's, Abingdon, Berkshire, and minister of Culham, Oxfordshire; and was afterwards lecturer of St. Mary Overy, Southwark. He was ‘much followed and beloved of all for his smooth and edifying way of preaching, and for his exemplary life and conversation.’ In 1623 he went to his native place, and there ‘put his last hand to the finishing of a free school’ which he had founded and endowed with 500l. raised in St. Saviour's, Southwark, and elsewhere. Edmund Gibson [q. v.], bishop of London, who had been educated at Bampton, afterwards rebuilt the school. When returning by sea from Newcastle to London, Sutton was drowned with many others on St. Bartholomew's day, 24 Aug. What was supposed to be his body was buried in ‘the yard belonging to the church’ of Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Robert Drury [q. v.], the jesuit, ‘did much rejoyce’ at the news of his death, as a ‘great judgment’ upon him ‘for his forward preaching against the papists.’ Sutton published in 1616 two sermons preached at Paul's Cross, under the title ‘England's First and Second Summons.’ They had originally been printed separately. A third impression appeared in 1633, 12mo.

After his death his brother-in-law, Francis Little, student of Christ Church, published ‘The Good Fight of Faith: a Sermon preached before the Artillery Company,’ 1626, 4to; and in 1631 a sermon said to have been taken down in shorthand, which had been preached before the judges at St. Saviour's, Southwark, on 5 March 1621, appeared under the title ‘Jethroe's Council [sic] to Moses: or a Direction for Magistrates.’ Another posthumous work, ‘Lectures upon the Eleventh Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans,’ was published by John Downham [q. v.], who married Sutton's widow. In his epistle to the reader Downham promised to issue other lectures left in manuscript by the author if the present series ‘took with the men of the world.’ No more appear to have been published.

Sutton married a daughter of Francis Little the elder, ‘brewer and inholder’ of Abingdon. A son, Thomas, at the age of seventeen, graduated B.A. from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1640, and obtained a fellowship, from which he was ejected on 20 Oct. 1648 by the parliamentary visitors. Wood obtained information from him about his father's life. A small head of the elder Sutton is represented on a sheet entitled ‘The Christian's Jewel’ (Granger, Biogr. Hist. of England, i. 363).

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 338–9; Britton's Beauties of England, vol. xv. pt. ii. pp. 131–2; Whellan's Cumberland and Westmoreland, p. 776; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Burrows's Reg. of Parl. Visitors, pp. 142, 160, 166, 193, 497.]

G. Le G. N.