John Sutton, born in 1777, was a seed merchant who founded a company, the House of Sutton, in 1806 in King Street, Reading to sell corn.
His sons, Martin Hope (born 1815, died 1901) and Alfred (dates unknown) started working in the business in 1832. They subsequently persuaded their father to expand into selling flower and vegetable seed and the business moved to Market Street, Reading.
When Martin Hope Sutton became a partner in the business in 1836, the company name was changed to Sutton & Sons. In 1840, John and Martin decided to set up a laboratory so that they could test the seeds to ensure the quality of what they were selling.
After John Sutton's death in 1863, the company continued to flourish under his son's management, and eventually became Suttons Seeds.