Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Edward Sutton's two families

Edward Sutton, Baron Dudley (1567-1643) was a man who had two families; one with the wife he was arranged to marry, and a second with the woman who became his long term mistress until his death. It may not be unusual for a nobleman to also have a mistress, however Edward Sutton left his wife and legitimate children unsupported and set up home with his mistress and their eleven children. 

On June 18th 1581 Edward Sutton married Theodosia Harington (1560-1650). The Harington family were the largest landowners in Rutland. 
Edward and Theodosia had five children together;
+ Anne Sutton (1582-1615) m. Hans Meinhard von Schonberg
+ Theodosia Sutton (b.1584)
+ Mary Sutton (1586-1645) m. Alexander Home
+ Ferdinando Sutton (1588-1621) m. Honora Seymour
+ Margaret Sutton (b.1597) m. Miles Hobart

Edward owned lands in Staffordshire and Worcestershire, as well as the manors of Dudley, Sedgley and Kingswinford, along with ironworks in that area. It was probably due to his time spent in the area of Dudley that Edward met local girl Elizabeth Tomlinson. 
Edward Sutton met Elizabeth Tomlinson (1579-1629), the daughter of collier William Tomlinson and his wife Agnes Dues of St Thomas in Dudley, and she became his mistress. 
Edward and Elizabeth had twelve children together;
+ Robert Dudley (1587-1653) m. Margaret 
+ Elizabeth Dudley (1588-1647) m. Jeffrey Dudley
+ Jane Dudley (b.1588) m. Richard Parkhouse
+ Catherine Dudley (1589-1675) m. Thomas Dudley
+ Martha Dudley (b.1590) m. Thomas Wilmer
+ Alice Dudley (b.1592) m. George Guest
+ Susan Dudley (1594-1601)
+ John Dudley (1597-1604)
+ Dud Dudley (1600-1684) m. Eleanor Heaton (1606-75)
+ Dorothy Dudley (b.1606) m. Thomas Brooke
+ Eleanor Dudley (1606-1659)
+ Edward Dudley (1608-14)

Himley Hall

Edward moved to Himley Hall near Dudley with Elizabeth Tomlinson and their children, leaving his wife Theodosia and their children in London. Edward left his wife with no financial support; the Privy Council became involved and the Star Chamber ordered Edward to pay his wife an allowance as she was left "without provision of sustenance" whilst he lived with "a lewd and infamous woman". Yet Edward continued to leave his wife without any money. In August 1597 Edward was sent to Fleet Prison for this non-payment. He was only imprisoned for a few days and was released with the condition that he give his wife the £66 that was owed to her since the Privy Council ruling. In addition to this, he was to pay £100 a year to Theodosia during her lifetime unless the couple were to reunite, as well as £10 a year for each legitimate child for their education. Less than eighteen months later Edward was again called by the Privy Council as he had failed to maintain the payments; he failed to send his wife the money ordered, sending her only a payment of £32. 

Edward's only legitimate son Ferdinando predeceased him, however he left a daughter Frances Sutton who was Edward's heiress. Frances became Baroness Dudley and inherited the estates as well as the debts. Frances' husband Humble Ward, son of a wealthy goldsmith, paid off the debts and restored the estates. 
Concerning his surviving illegitimate sons; Robert Dudley was given the Netherton Estate in Dudley, and Dud Dudley was given the lease of Chasepool Lodge in Swindon.

Dud Dudley was the child of Edward Sutton that caused the family the most problems. He had been educated at Balloil College at Oxford University, however he was called home to help his father with the ironworks business. A relative John Bagley accused Dud of "wasting his father's fortune on his coal mining schemes" and "bringing his father to such destitution". His mother Elizabeth was clearly aware of his nature and in her Will she requested that the money belonging to her which was then in the hands of Dud be given instead to the poor people of Dudley. At the time of her death Elizabeth Tomlinson was a wealthy woman with a personal wealth made up of money, plate and jewels coming to around the sum of at least L600. It was this fortune which she had given to Dud five years before her death as she had apparently said all her other children were provided for, however in her Will she wanted these items to be given to the poor rather than her son. Also relating to Dud, her Will contained the phrase "she willed that her son...should not see her writings, because, as she said, he might do somebody wrong". 'Her writings' can be taken to mean either her Will or her personal correspondence or diary. Dud did go on to contest his mother's Will. He argued that he should be the one in ownership of the lands, ironworks, stoneworks and coal pits in Tipton, Sedgley, Kingswinford, Rowley Regis and Oldbury. He also demanded Tipton Park and Parkfield which his mother had bought.
Additionally, Elizabeth wrote in her Will that all of her "wearing apparel" was to be divided between her five daughters. After some small bequests to family members and servants, Elizabeth left all else in her possession to be divided equally between her eight surviving children. 


  1. Enjoyed this piece .. Seems I'm a direct descendant of Edward and Elizabeth Tomlinson
    All this info new to me

  2. When he died in 1684 did Dud leave a will of his own?

  3. Do you know of another child of Edward and Elizabeth, an "Ann" who married a John Bagley? I have traced my mother's family tree from here in America back to Ann and there is speculation that she was an additional product of Ed and Liz.