James SUTTON, son of Thomas SUTTON and Mary KNIBBS , was born bef. 28 April 1867 in Sibson, Leicestershire, England. He married Mary Anne THORPE 15 October 1883 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. He died June 1929 in Osmaston, Derbyshire, England. Mary Anne THORPE was born abt. 1862 in Lullington, Derbyshire, England. She died UNKNOWN.

Children of James SUTTON and Mary Anne THORPE are:
1. John Charles SUTTON, b. 15 December 1883

Notes for James SUTTON:

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I am extremely grateful to James' great-great-great-grandson, William Turner, for the following résumé of James' life:

On 28 April 1867 at St Botolphs Parish Church, Sibson, Leicestershire, a child was baptised. His name was James Sutton. He was a few days old in age at the time, and was born to 31 year old Thomas Sutton and his 27 year old wife Mary (nee Knibbs). He was their fifth child.

James was not, however, the couples’ final child, and by the time they got to their eleventh child, there was very little space in the Sutton house. Like many children in the late 19th Century, then, the ten year old James (who had by this point had a level of education during his time as a Scholar) left home looking for work.

By 1881, James was settled a short distance away at Sibson Grange, where he worked as a farm servant with his master John Wykes, with whom he also lived and served.

The following year, the fifteen year old James fell deeply in love with a young woman called Mary Ann Thorpe of Lullington, Derby, who fell equally in love with him, despite being twenty, a full five years older than him. The two became very familiar, and in early 1883 Mary Ann fell pregnant with James’ child. James was only fifteen.

The couple were relocated by their respective families out of the village to Birmingham, where the couple shared a house on Billier street. Here, they would be able to Marry without having to disclose ages. On 15 October 1883 at St Cuthberts Church, Birmingham, the couple married. Interestingly, on the certificate the registrar filled James’ age in as an illegible number, that could either be ‘16’ or ‘18’, suggesting that the Vicar had been filled in on the couples’ situation. The marriage was witnessed by Thomas Sutton and May Catherine Sutton.

From 15 October 1883 onward, James’ official year of birth was now 1863, though he had not legally amended it.

Now married, the couple moved to the home of Mary Ann’s maternal grandparents in Clifton Campville, where she gave birth on 15 December 1883 to a boy, John Charles Sutton, named after her own brother. As the couple held the child, they must have felt some relief, since the child that had caused so much panic over the past few months had now arrived safely, strengthening the couples’ bond.

By 1891 the couple had had four further children, and had relocated to Tamworth.

Ten years later, the couple were back in Clifton Campville, with several more children in tow. James was at this time still a farmer. However when the couple moved to Derby in 1903, James decided that it was time for a change in occupation. It would be this change in occupation that would change his fortunes forever.

The family settled at 63 Taylor Street, Osmaston, Derby, where Mary Ann gave birth to their daughter Edith Mary Sutton within a few months of the family living there. James converted the house so that the family lived in the upstairs of the house, so that the downstairs of the house could make way for a dairy. The back rooms were used for churning the milk and making the like of ice-cream and yogurt, and the front rooms were used for selling milk. Mary Ann assisted in the business, and it soon took off, so much so that the family could soon afford to buy a second property a few doors away at 10 Warwick Street, Osmaston, Derby, which they used as their family home.

Sutton’s success was mainly down to the fact that everyone in the area got their milk from Sutton’s. He provided a very good quality milk which came from a farm on Sutton on the Hill. James drove up there every week and took the milk back in churns to the shop, where it was bottled up to distribute to the neighbourhood. There was a little crate which could hold six half-pint bottles which would be used to deliver milk along the street.

During the Summer, the Sutton’s also made ice-cream. There were no freezers back then, so this was the only way anyone could experience ice-cream. The milk on the premises was turned into ice-cream on the premises. The ice-cream was always vanilla flavour. The ice-cream was sold on cornets. If you wanted it flavoured, then one of the Sutton’s would dip the cornet in either raspberry or strawberry syrup in order to flavour it.

With a growing reputation (as seen through local directories and newspapers in which James makes many appearances between 1912 and 1929), James decided to enter politics and use his expertise as a local businessman to be a local Councillor. Which party this was for, however, is unknown. James’ granddaughter would recall in 2007 that she walked around Derby with her cousins declaring “Vote Sutton! Vote Sutton!”. Unfortunately she could not remember which party he ran for, though other family members are under the impression that he was a Liberal candidate. Although we know very little about James’ political career, what we do know is that it was short lived, since he was not successful in the election.

In June 1929, James passed away aged 62, though his death certificate states he was 67. He lied about his age even to his death. He was buried shortly after at Boulton Saint Mary's Church, Alvaston, having passed his business to his wife Mary Ann. The farm boy from Sibson had become a major figure in the city of Derby, having influence in both local business and politics. His legacy continues through his 14 children, who also went on to have children. James now has uncountable descendants alive today, the vast majority of whom still live and work in his beloved City of Derby, the city that made him a happy man in his final years. James was a man from an undistinguishable background who rose to prominence in a large city.


James can be seen at the 1881 census living at Sibson Grange, Sibson, Leicestershire, England, working as a Farm Servant:
John Wykes Head M 53 Farmer 70 Acres Employing 1 Boy Ratcliffe Culey Leicester
Elizabeth Wykes Wife Female 58 Farmers Wife Brandon Warwick
Frank Wykes Son 10 Scholar Sibson Leicester
Mary Wykes Daur 9 Scholar Sibson Leicester
Catherine Wykes Daur 8 Scholar Sibson Leicester
Harriet Wykes Daur 6 Scholar Sibson Leicester
Elizabeth Wykes Daur 5 Scholar Sibson Leicester
John Wykes Son 2 Sibson Leicester
James Sutton Serv 14 Farm Serv Sibson Leicester

James married Mary Ann Thorpe on 15 October 1883 at St Cuthberts Church, Birmingham, Warwickshire.
James Sutton 18 Bachelor Labourer Billier Street
Mary Ann Thorpe 21 Spinster Servant Billier Street

The marriage was witnessed by Thomas Sutton and May Catherine Sutton. James was just 16 when he married Mary who was then 21. I understand from a descendant of his, that James always added a few years to his age after they married.

We see James and Mary in 1891, living at Hill Top, Tamworth, Staffordshire:
James Sutton Head Mar 28 Agricultural Labourer Sibson County of Leicester
Mary A Sutton Wife Mar 29 Clifton Stafford
John Chas Sutton Son 7 Scholar Clifton Stafford
Mary A Sutton Daur 6 Scholar Clifton Stafford
Alice Sutton Daur 4 Scholar Clifton Stafford
James Sutton Son 2 Scholar Clifton Stafford
Thomas Sutton Son 1 Scholar Clifton Stafford

In 1911, the family were living at 63 Taylor Street, Derby, Leicestershire:
James Sutton Head 48 Married Dairyman (Own Account) Sibson Leicestershire
Mary A Sutton Wife 49 Married (14 years) Assisting in Business Lullington Derbyshire
John Charles Sutton Son 27 Railwayman Porter Clifton Staffordshire
James Sutton Son 22 Railwayman Porter Clifton Staffordshire
Thomas Sutton Son 21 Butcher Clifton Staffordshire
Annie Sutton Daughter 17 Hossiery Warehouse
Mabel Sutton Daughter 14 At Home Clifton Staffordshire
Joseph Henry Sutton Son 12 Clifton Staffordshire
Edith Emily Sutton Daughter 8 School Osmaston Derbyshire
Frederick Harold Sutton Son 7 School Osmaston Derbyshire
Albert Edward Sutton Son 5 School Osmaston Derbyshire

Sources for James SUTTON:

  1. Personal Contact with Colin Woodhouse - a descendant of the Sutton Family, Personal Contact with Colin Woodhouse - a descendant of the Sutton Family from the 1881 census 
  2. Personal Contact with William Turner,
  3. Marriage Record,
  4. Marriage Certificate,
  5. 1891 British Census,
  6. 1911 British Census,
  7. Kelly's Directory,

Notes for Mary Anne THORPE:

Notes for John Charles SUTTON:

Sources for John Charles SUTTON:

  1. Personal Contact with William Turner,