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He took the degree of M. A. from Christ Church, Oxford, 9 July, 1567, and became Rector of Lutterworth, Leicestershire, in 1571. He was converted to Catholicism by his younger brother William, afterwards a Jesuit. With his younger brother Abraham, who matriculated from Hart Hall in 1576, aged 25, he arrived at Douai, 23 March, 1575 (1576). They were both ordained subdeacons at Cambrai in September, deacons in December, and priests in the following February. Having said their first Masses, 7 March, they left for England, 19 March, 1577 (1578).
Robert was arrested at Stafford, and condemned for being a Catholic priest. Hanged, drawn and quartered, he was cut down alive. After the lapse of a year Catholics managed to secure one of his quarters, when the thumb and index-finger were found to be intact. Abraham Sutton gave Father John Gerard the thumb, later presented to Stonyhurst College.
- John Hungerford Pollen, Acts of the English Martyrs (London, 1891), 323-6;
- ____, English Martyrs 1584-1603 (London, 1908), 288, 291;
- Richard Challoner, Missionary Priests, I (Edinburgh, 1877), no. 44;
- Thomas Francis Knox, Douay Diaries (London, 1878);
- Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, early series (Oxford, 1892).