Cutts, John (1661–1707), Baron Cutts of Gowran , soldier and lord justice of Ireland, was born in Arkesden, Essex, second son of Richard Cutts of Arkesden and Matching, Essex, and Joan Cutts, daughter of Sir Richard Everard. Educated for a time at Catherine Hall, Cambridge (entering as a fellow commoner, 1676), he had a predominantly military career. Although a follower of the duke of Monmouth, he does not appear to have participated in Monmouth's rebellion. He joined the army of the Holy Roman Empire under the duke of Lorraine and distinguished himself at the siege of Buda (1686). Briefly back in England in autumn 1687, he refused the offer of a regiment from James II; the following year he was appointed by William of Orange (qv) lieutenant-colonel of an English regiment based in the Netherlands, with which he took part in William's intervention in England in November 1688. Arriving in Ireland (March 1690), he fought with distinction at the Boyne and the first siege of Limerick, and was created Baron Cutts of Gowran, Co. Kilkenny, in the Irish peerage (December 1690) for his services. He obtained a grant of some Irish land previously owned by the Jesuits, as well as an estate in Sussex. He spent much of the 1690s fighting the French and increasing his military reputation. He was governor of the Isle of Wight (1693), colonel of the Coldstream Guards from 1694 to his death, and third-in-command at Blenheim (1704). In 1695 he distinguished himself at the siege of Namur, and in September 1697 he was entrusted by William III with a secret mission to Vienna. MP for Cambridgeshire (1693–1701) and Newport, Isle of Wight (1702–7), he vigorously opposed in parliament the disbanding of William's army in 1698.
Perennially in financial difficulties he was unsuccessful when he sought from William III in March 1698 the grant of an estate in Ireland worth £3,000 to £4,000 annually. When he was appointed in March 1705 commander-in-chief in Ireland, he took on a post worth £6,000 a year, though his sister stressed after his death that this appointment was not a reward which he had sought but ‘a very unwilling act of obedience and submission’ (Hist. Parl.: commons, 1690–1715, iii, 820). He was subsequently sworn in (27 June 1705) as a lord justice, along with Sir Richard Cox (qv), to act in the absence of the lord lieutenant, the duke of Ormond (qv). Jonathan Swift (qv) described him as the ‘vainest old fool alive’; the title of Swift's ‘Ode to a salamander’ was an allusion to Cutts's nickname. He spent the last years of his life in Dublin; a considerable amount of his correspondence with Ormond (then in London) is preserved in the Ormond MSS (NLI). During this time, he was dogged by ill-health; he died in Dublin 26 January 1707 and was buried in Christ Church cathedral. His death provoked a dispute over the method of replacing a deceased lord justice. His fellow lord justice, Sir Richard Cox, hastily arranged for Narcissus Marsh (qv), archbishop of Armagh, to be elected by the privy council, against the protests of Irish whigs, who claimed there should have been wider consultation. A similar dispute had occurred on the death of the lord deputy, Capel (qv) in 1696. Cutts married first (1690) Elizabeth Clark (d. 1693), daughter of a London merchant; second (1697) Elizabeth Pickering of Whaddon, Cambridgeshire, who died in childbirth in 1697 aged 18. He left no issue.