|Alexandra Chando plays Sutton Mercer
(and Emma Beckett) in 'The Lying Game'
Sutton is one of those names that after hearing it once, it felt like I was suddenly seeing it everywhere. I first saw it on character Sutton Mercer in ABC Family's 'The Lying Game' when it started in 2011. Next to her identical twin Emma, younger sister Laurel, and best friends Charlotte (Char) and Madeline (Mads), Sutton's name really stood out as fresh and different.
Then 'Bunheads' started in June, with Tony winner Sutton Foster playing the lead character (on a side note, her brother is named Hunter - I love this as a sibset!). Since then whenever I see a Sutton I pay attention.
Sutton is an English name meaning 'from the southern homestead'. Something I found interesting when I was looking for information on this name was that it is usually listed as a boys name, but it seems that most of the examples I've come across of Sutton as a first name are girls. However Sutton is in fact used on more boys than girls. It's not exactly a popular name for either though - the highest it has ever charted in America was #1217 for boys in 2008. So it would seem that this is one surname/place name that can still be considered truly unisex for the time being, as it's not popular enough to have been "claimed" by either gender.
Sutton is indeed best known as a place name, particularly in England. One of the areas I lived in as a teenager was called Suttontown, so hearing this as a name brought back some good memories for me. Sutton Place is also an affluent street and neighborhood in New York City, so some may think of it as a somewhat "preppy" name. Besides being a place name, people in the medical profession may be familiar with something called Sutton's Law. Sutton's Law is the term for the principle of going straight to the most likely diagnosis, and is named for famous bank robber Willy Sutton who reportedly once said that he robbed banks because "that's where the money is".
Sutton is one of those names that the more you hear it the more it grows on you. At least, that's what I found for me. If you're unsure how to use it, most people tend to pair it with shorter, classic names. Charles, James, Rose, Anne, Lenore, Calli, William, Elizabeth, Claire and Ann are all middle names of actual Suttons. I think if you like surnames then this has a similar feel to favourites such as Braxton, Bennett or Cullen, with the benefit of being underused at the moment.