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The Ruler of Cheshire

The Ruler of Cheshire
Sir Piers Dutton, Tudor Gangland and
the Violent Politics of the Palatine

Written by Edward Dutton

ISBN: 978-1-901253-57-3

200 pages, paperback, 146mm x 208mm.
14 photos, 1 map

Published by Léonie Press, November 2015.
Reprinted November 2017.

Price: £ 12.00 UK Postage and Packing:

e-Book versions
Kindle format ISBN: 978-1-909727-21-2
Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN): B017E649W2   
Click here to buy from Amazon

About the Book

Beyond the control of the crown, Early Tudor Cheshire was a lawless gangland in which warring magnates battled for power. None were more ruthless than Sir Piers Dutton. Friend of Henry VIII's chief minister Thomas Cromwell, trusted servant of the king, and son of one of Cheshire's most influential families, Dutton drew upon a combination of cutthroat guile, carefully cultivated connections, and pure good luck to destroy his enemies and dominate the county palatine.

The Ruler of Cheshire' is a story of gang warfare, rampant corruption, violent vendettas, power politics, and murder. It traces the rise of Sir Piers Dutton from wayward youth languishing in Chester jail, to trusted courtier, High Sheriff of Cheshire, scourge of the king's enemies, and figure so powerful that his rivals conceded that he could do as he wished in Cheshire and there was nothing anybody could do about it.

The first detailed biography of an Early Tudor local magnate, Early Tudor life being much more local then now, 'The Ruler of Cheshire' makes a vital contribution to Gentry Studies as well as bringing to life one of Tudor Cheshire's most fascinating and unscrupulous characters.

The book is meticulously annotated with more than 600 informative footnotes and an exhaustive bibliography. The e-book has interactive links from the text, to the notes and back to the text to facilitate their use.

About the Author

Edward Dutton

EDWARD DUTTON read Theology at Durham University before researching a PhD in the Divinity Department at Aberdeen University which was published as Meeting Jesus at University (Ashgate, 2008). He is Adjunct Professor of the Anthropology of Religion at Oulu University in Finland.

Ed has written many articles on genealogy and history for the magazine Family Tree as well as for Cheshire History and History Today. He is two generations removed from Cheshire.

His grandfather was born in Birkenhead in 1912 and attended the Kings School in Chester, before moving to the Midlands.

Ed can be found online at He also runs the genealogy service Dutton’s Genealogy at


'I found myself getting deeper and deeper into this story. It’s a tale I knew nothing of, wonderfully told, the historical detail expounded with sure scholarship.'

  Sir Nicholas Mander, Bt., Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

'Writing about Cheshire in 1540 John Leland said, “The people of the Countrey are of nature very gentle and courteous, ready to help and further one another….”. Clearly the author hadn’t met or wasn’t aware of the reputation of Sir Piers Dutton. Ed Dutton’s recent book THE RULER OF CHESHIRE: Sir Piers Dutton, Tudor Gangland and the Violent Politics of the Palatine is a hard hitting, fact filled, authoritative study of a Cheshire gentleman of the early Tudor era. During the mediaeval period Cheshire men were renowned for their lawlessness, their violence and the many feuds that erupted between the many gentry families - my own family included: it would seem by the time of the Tudors matters were not much better.

'Dr Dutton tells in great detail the biography of his namesake’s career from early manhood, through to his days as a trusted courtier to the king and servant of Thomas Cromwell the architect of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, to becoming the most influential man in the shire as High Sheriff of Cheshire – a man whom it seems was ready for any iniquity on behalf of himself and his cronies. The book is thoroughly researched, well-written and skilfully winds Sir Piers’ life into the history and fabric of Cheshire and England in the early sixteenth century. This is not just a book about a particular aspect of Cheshire’s history, it is an important study into English social history: of a how a Tudor gentlemen rose to a position of extreme power within his county, was able to abuse his position and to become a very wealthy individual. But as a local history study it is one that anyone with an interest in Cheshire ought to read.'

Tony Bostock
Chairman of Northwich & District Heritage Society and Former Chairman of the Cheshire Local History Association.

'fascinating book . . . This is an eye-opening episode of history, crisply recounted.'

Cheshire Life
January 2016, Page 280.

'(Dutton) explores the extraordinary life of the man whose enemies admitted he could do as he wished in Cheshire as the de facto ruler of the county palatine.'

Chester Chronicle
25th February 2016.

'an extraordinary story'
Northwich Guardian
9th March 2016.

Northwich Guardian, 9th March 2016, Page 9


In its News Section on Wednesday, 9th March 2016 the Northwich Guardian carried an article about the book by Ian Rose.

Click on the image to see the original of this article.

Family Tree magazine, April 2016, p38-39


A review by Karen Clare in the April 2016 edition of Family Tree magazine, pages 38-39.

Click on the image to see the piece about "The Ruler of Cheshire" in this group of reviews.

'well-researched and drawing upon an impressively wide range of primary and secondary sources . . . This is a sound and thorough study of the character and actions of a major player in early Tudor history . . . this is an interesting tale, well told, which makes an important contribution to the historiography of the county.'

Jonathan Pepler, Cheshire History.
October 2016, Page 200-202.

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