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)
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.
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.