The company was founded in 1806 by John Sutton (1777-1863) who named it the 'House of Sutton' of King Street , Reading, supplying corn. In 1832 he was joined by his sons, Martin Hope (1815-1901) and Alfred. A few years later in 1837 the business was transferred to the Market Place, when they induced their father to launch out into the flower and vegetable seed trade. From this time on the firm progressed and expanded rapidly, being the first seed house to supply pure, unadulterated seed. By untiring energy and business acumen they laid the foundations of the great firm as it is today. The determination to supply only the best seed has been carried on by their successors, and through the years the name of 'Sutton' has become known the world over.
The Market Place shop was double-fronted with large windows each side of the entrance. It was in a prominent position and overlooked the Saturday vegetable and general market. Martin Hope acquired nursery grounds in Queens Road along with a greenhouse. By mid-1838 he began selling greenhouse plants, many of the bulbs coming from local nurseries, but some from Holland. In 1836 Martin Hope, aged 21 years, became a partner and the 'House of Sutton' became Sutton & Son.