Monday, February 28, 2000
John Lord Sutton or Dudley 1400-1487
According to Ormerod's (Hist. Cheshire), Stow, Dugdale, etc. The first of the Sutton Dudley family, that is worthy of a particular notice is John Sutton, lord Dudley (sixth in descent from Richard and Isabella), who had the honor of bearing the standard at the funeral of King Henry V, 1422. He was 2 years Lord Lieut. of Ireland, being appointed Jan 1428, in which employment and other services, his merit was so conspicuous, that, in 1439, he had summons to parliament then held at Reading, and the same year was appointed one of the commissioners to treat with the Duke of Burgundy upon a truce.
In 1446, being of the King's Council, he was sent Ambassador, with the Bishop of Chichester, to the Duke of Britanny, and on another embassy to the Duke of Burgundy.
In 1447, in consideration of his services, he received a grant of an annuity of one hundred pounds issuing out of the customs of the port of London. Being surprised and taken by Richard, Duke of York, at Gloucester, on his return from Ireland in 1451, he was sent to prison at the castle of Ludlow. Soon afterwards he fought in the battle of Bloreheath, 1459, and, being wounded, received thereupon, and for other services, honorable trusts and offices from his Sovereign and grants of more than œ200 per annum for life. Henry VI also appointed him treasurer of his household, and he was, in 1460, elected a knight of the most noble Order of the Garter. We are not told how long he remained in prison, but the House of Commons being mostly Yorkists, prayed the King to remove Sir John Sutton and some other noted persons from among them and exclude Sutton forever from his royal counsels, and ever to prohibit him from approaching within twelve miles of the court. But Henry VI refused the petition. Lord Dudley fought at the battle of St. Albans, May 23, 1455, where the King was defeated by the Duke of York and taken prisoner. Dudley was also taken a prisoner of war and sent to the Tower of London; but he was soon released, as peace prevailed shortly afterwards. He still, however, persevered in the Lancastrian cause for Henry VI. Leland, the noted antiquary, thus describes that action: "At Bloreheath, was a field fought between the Earl of Salisbury and northern men on King Edward's part, who overcame the lords Audley (slain) and Dudley (wounded) with Queen Margaret and Chestershire men, who lost the field". Lord Dudley was one of the knights taken prisoner. By singular good fortune he was equally honored in the next reign by Edward IV, who granted Lord Dudley a pardon in his first year from all debts upon accounts due for him in the exercise of his office, and, afterwards, another grant of one hundred marks yearly to issue from the Duchy of Cornwall, and lastly, one hundred pounds per annum from customs of the port of Southampton. In the 17th of King Edward IV, he was employed as a Commissioner, with his brother-in-law, the Earl of Arundel, who had married Dudley's wife's sister, (Eleanor Berkeley) to treat respecting the prorogation of the truce between France and England.
In the Register of the Order of the Garter, it is recorded, that, in 1461, Lord Dudley had the stall of the deceased Earl of Longueville. There were then only 12 companions. In 1472, there were 17 members. In 1486, there were 23; and in 1477, 25. It is recorded that Lord Dudley died Sep 1487.-Anstis' Order of the Garter.
Dugdale says, "he was faithful to King Henry VI, yet he did so comply with King Edward IV, when he obtained the crown, that he received many great favors and rewards from that new Sovereign". Edward V, also added to his honors, by appointing him to hold the Feast of St. George at Windsor, on the 4th of May, 1483, the day his coronation was to take place. But as soon as Edward V was suppressed, Lord Dudley attended a chapter of the Order of the Garter in Richard III's palace, at Westminster, in the first year of that King (1483), and obtained from him a grant of eight manors "for his faithtul service in favoring his title to the crown". He fought on Richard III's side at the Battle of Bosworth.
Henry VII revoked his grant, or prevented it from taking effect. However, Lord Dudley had from Henry VII 1000 marks and the manors of Northfield and Wiley, in Worcestershire, besides a full pardon; and created him Sheriff of Sussex. This Lord Kt. must have been a man, whose good will was valuable to all sorts of kings.
Probably few warriors, like him, of the great Henry V, had survived through the war of the Roses, and it is no wonder he should have become as he did, the origin of the noted historical houses by the name of Dudley.
His will, dated 17 Aug 1487, directed that he should be buried at the Priory of St. James, in Dudley, in a tomb to cost not over £20.
This Sir John Dudley was a great financier and diplomatist, if we are to judge by his success in those directions; for he not only acquired great honors, and offices and estates, but he married his children to heirs and heiresses of the great and wealthy houses of England, thereby preparing the way for their future renown, which far surpassed that of their noble ancestors, distinguished though they were. All this can be seen in the pedigrees and biographical sketches of this history.