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Norwich Heart, Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust

Robert Suckling

Robert Suckling

Robert Suckling, born in 1520, was the eldest son of Richard Suckling, a baker and Alderman of Norwich. He too became an Alderman, and was admitted to the Freedom of the City as a mercer. At various times he held the positions of Sheriff (1564), Mayor (1572 and 1582) and a Burgess in Parliament (1571 and 1586).

The Suckling family used a buck or a stag as a crest, but in August 1578 an augmentation was granted to Robert Suckling, namely the addition of a piece of honeysuckle. That month coincides with the date of the visit of Queen Elizabeth I to Norwich, and it may well have been in a moment of gaiety that the Queen promised her loyal subjects that "a sprig of honeysuckle proper" should be borne in the stag's mouth in consideration - so run the words of the grant - "of his good and loyal service". The Suckling Crest can be seen in the heraldic glass in the oriel window in the Great Hall of Suckling House.

Suckling's first wife was Elizabeth Barwick (d. 1569). The couple had five sons and five daughters. Of these children, Edmund became Dean of Norwich in 1614 - he was buried in Norwich Cathedral in 1628. Robert Suckling's youngest son from his first marriage was John - he was born in Suckling House in 1569. Suckling's second wife was Mary. With his third wife, Joan, he had a son, Charles, born in 1578.  

Interestingly, one of Robert's daughters, Mary, married John Hassall of St Peter's, Cornhill in London. She became the mother of John Hassall (junior) who succeeded Edmund Suckling as Dean of Norwich in 1628.

In his will, Robert left his messuage in the parish of St Andrew's (i.e. Suckling House), with all the adjoining lands and tenements, to his youngest son, John. He died in November 1589 and was buried in St Andrew's Church, where there is a monument commemorating him.

Victoria Golden

February 2006