Robert Sutton (Irish judge)

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Robert Sutton (c. 1340 – 1430) was an Irish judge and Crown official. During a career which lasted almost 60 years he served the Crown in a variety of offices, notably as Deputy to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, and Deputy Treasurer of Ireland.[1] A royal warrant of 1423 praises his "long and laudable" service to the Crown.

Little is known of his early life: the surname has been common in Ireland since the thirteenth century, especially in the south. William Sutton, who acted as his deputy and succeeded him as Master of the Rolls, is thought to have been his nephew.

He was appointed to the living of Trim, County Meath in 1370; later he became Archdeacon of Kells, and prebendary of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin and later of Ossory.[2]

He is mentioned as chief clerk in the Irish Chancery in 1373, an office he held jointly with Thomas de Everdon: an order in Council states that they should share the annual fee of £20.[3] As a judge he served in a variety of offices over many years. He was appointed Master of the Rolls in 1377 and returned to that office at regular intervals over the next fifty years: his final warrant of appointment was granted in 1423, and apparently confirmed him in office for life.[4] He also served as Deputy Lord Chancellor and Keeper of the Great Seal of Ireland on many occasions and was Deputy Escheator in1380. He was briefly Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer in about 1401.

As a politician he was summoned to the Irish Parliament at Kilkenny in 1390, was Deputy Treasurer in 1403, and was instructed to grant an amnesty to the noted Irish leader Art Mór Mac Murchadha Caomhánach (Art MacMurrough-Kavanagh) in 1409. In 1420 he witnessed the charter by which King Henry V guaranteed the liberties of the citizens of Dublin.[5]

In 1423 he was praised for his laudable service to five English monarchs. He died in 1430, when he must have been close to 90.[6]


  1. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.1 p.87
  2. ^ Ball p.87
  3. ^ Ball p.87
  4. ^ Smyth, Constantine Joseph Chronicle of the Law Officers of Ireland Henry Butterworth London 1839 p.53
  5. ^ Lucas, Charles The Great Charter of the LIberties of the City of Dublin Dublin 1739 p.33
  6. ^ Ball p.87