Fun Facts Friday: John Suckling

February 10, 2023

John Suckling (10 February, 1609 – sometime after May, 1641) was a prominent nobleman, minor English poet, and dramatist.

Fun Facts Friday: John Suckling
Books by John Suckling*

Fun Facts about John Suckling:

  1. John Suckling was born in Middlesex, England. His father, also named John Suckling, was the Secretary of State under King James I, and a Comptroller of the Household of King Charles I.
  2. The elder John Suckling passed away in 1627, and his eighteen years old son inherited his estate.
  3. The future poet studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and afterward trained to be a lawyer.
  4. The young man was immersed in poetry and gambling. He knew Richard Lovelace, Ben Johnson, and William Davenant (a playwright claiming to be Shakespeare’s bastard son).
  5. John Suckling was part of a group known as the Cavalier poets, meaning they allied themselves with Charles I, as well as being of the gentlemanly social class.
  6. The young poet was part of Charles I’s court, a solider, and got involved in political intrigue. However, he was known to be a womanizer and left his mark on the gambling table.
  7. Known as “the greatest gamester both for bowling and cards”, he is credited with the invention of cribbage. He traveled around the country betting on his new game, and supposedly won £20,000 (about £2.4 million in today’s purchasing power) playing cards.
  8. During the Scottish Expedition of 1639 (the Bishop’s War), Mr. Suckling paid £12,000 to raise a troop of soldiers, supply them with horses, and join Charles I on the field. The expedition failed, and Suckling’s troops wearing gaudy uniforms and performing poorly were subject to mockery.
  9. John Suckling wrote four plays, and he got his reputation as a poet from his lyrics which feature plain style and classical influences.
  10. In May 1641, John Suckling and other leaders opposing the king were implicated in an attempt to rescue the Earl of Strafford from the Tower of London. They fled to France when the Parliament found them guilty of high treason in absentia. There are various accounts of how John Suckling died, shortly after arriving in Calais. Some say he was sick, others say he committed suicide, or even died from would in his foot caused by a nail.

Books by John Suckling*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books


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Fun Facts Friday: John Suckling
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Fun Facts Friday: John Suckling
John Suckling (10 February, 1609 – sometime after May, 1641) was a prominent nobleman, minor English poet, and dramatist.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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