Sutton family, of Nottingham

Charles Sutton (1765-1829), was a founder member of the Methodist New Connexion inNottingham, local preacher, printer and radical newspaper proprietor. In the eighteenth century the family were Presbyterians, but Charles Sutton became a Methodist in 1783 and started his business in 1792, subsequently printing for the New Connexion’s early publications. He was the Secretary of the Conference in 1804. In the elections of 1802 and 1803 he organised subscriptions to support those who lost their employment for voting with their conscience.

In 1808 he founded the Nottingham Review, a Whig paper being less concerned with local issues . During the Napoleonic Wars it was second only to the Leeds Mercury in advocating peace. From 1806 he was closely watched by the Home Office. Supporting Luddism from 1815, he was prosecuted for admitting a letter in October 1816 signed ‘General Ludd’ and in October 1816 and was imprisoned in Northampton Gaol. On his release after eighteen months imprisonment, he had to provide £500 surety for himself and £250 each for two others. He now became an advocate of universal suffrage and in the 1840s the paper supported anti-Corn Law legislation. He died on 14 December 1829

His only son Richard Sutton (1789-1856), born on 1 July 1789, became an MNC Local Preacher in 1816 and was responsible for the paper during his father’s imprisonment and later became its proprietor in 1829. More radical than his father, he used it to advocate annual Parliaments and manhood suffrage, while remaining active in MNC affairs. He served on the Nottingham Town Council and as a Poor Law Guardian. Within the MNC he was a Guardian Representative and served on several occasions as Secretary of the Conference. He died at Scarborough on 30 September 1856.

Of Richard Sutton’s seven sons and three daughters, John F. Sutton took over the Nottingham Review on his father’s death.

Henry Septimus Sutton (1825-1901), the seventh child born 10 February 1825, was educated privately at Nottingham and at Leicester Grammar School. Intended to become a chemist, he chose to become a writer, in 1853 becoming the chief editor of the Manchester Examiner & Times. A life-long vegetarian and advocate, Sutton joined the United Kingdom Alliance on its foundation at Manchester in 1853, and became the editor of its weekly journal, the Alliance News, from contributing leading articles till his death. He was also editor from 1859 to 1869 of Meliora, a quarterly journal devoted to social and temperance reform. A mystic, in 1857 he joined the Swedenborgians at their church in Peter Street,Manchester, where he was a lay preacher. He died at Moss Side, Manchester, on 2 May 1901. His sister, Eliza S. Oldham, was known as an author.

Richard Charles Sutton (1834-1915), another member of the family and probably Richard’s son, was a Liberal on Nottingham council, 1887 to 1901, and architect. His chapels include Bingham WM school (1859), Castlegate Congregational, Nottingham (1863), Nottingham, Parliament Street MNC (1874), which the family attended, Rough Close MNC, Staffs. (1874) and John Robinson Memorial Congregational, Gainsborough, 1874. He died on 18 October 1915. EAR/DCD

Sources
  • F.R. Bell, J.D. Crosland, Heralds of the Cross (Nottingham, 1926)
  • D. Fraser, 'Nottingham Press, Transactions of theThoroton Society' 67 (1967), pp.54-59
  • Malcolm I. Thomis, Politics and Society in Nottingham 1735-1835 (Oxford, 1969)