This parish extends about four miles from north to south, and one and a half from east to west, and is bounded on two sides by the parish of Hesket-in-the-Forest, and on the other two by Skelton and Newton Reigny. It is comprised within Leath ward and petty sessional division; the rural deanery of Penrith W.; the county council electoral division of Hesket; the union, and the rural, and county court districts, of Penrith. The soil is good, incumbent on clay, and is naturally fertile in grass; the southern portion is of an elevated and undulating character, but in the north the land is low and level. Agriculture is the only occupation of the people, excepting the few engaged in those mechanical trades found in every country parish.

In old records the name appears as Hoton, to which the distinguishing appellative "in the Forest" was added, from its situation within the limits of the King's Forest, of Inglewood. The parish comprises two townships, Hutton and Thomas Close, whose united area is about 2,290 acres; gross rental, £2,841; ratable value of land, £1,909; and of buildings, £645. The population in 1891 numbered 226.

HUTTON TOWNSHIP contains 1,630 acres of land subject to assessment, of which the gross estimated rental is £2,062; the ratable value of the land, £1,357, and of the buildings, £498.

The manor of Hoton, or Hutton, as written at a later period, belonged as early as the reign of Edward I, to a family styled De Hoton, in Foresta, from the place. They were, we are told by Denton, bow-bearers and rangers of the Forest of Inglewood, an office considered in these latter times menial, but in those days one of honour and importance. The bugle horn which appears on their escutcheon was indicative of the position they held. The manor was holden of the King in capite by the service of maintaining the fences of the King's Forest, of Plumpton; they were further bound by their tenure to hold the royal stirrup when the King mounted his horse at Carlisle Castle, and to pay 33s. 4d. yearly into the King's Exchequer at Carlisle. It continued in the possession of the same family till 1605, when it was sold to Sir Richard Fletcher, Knt., of Cockermouth, who received the honour of Knighthood from James I. Henry Fletcher, grandfather of Sir Richard, was the wealthy Cockermouth merchant, who entertained Mary, Queen of Scots, in his house, when on her way to Carlisle, after landing at Workington. The poor fugitive Queen, in her hasty flight, had left her wardrobe behind, and the kind-hearted merchant presented her with a robe of velvet. Sir Henry Fletcher, son of Sir Richard, was created a baronet by Charles I, in 1640, and five years later, was killed at the battle of Rowton Heath, near Chester, fighting for the King against the Roundheads. Another Sir Henry, grandson of the above, was the last of the direct line. He embraced the Catholic religion, and becoming weary of public life, entered a monastery of English monks at Douai, in Flanders, where he died. Previous to his retirement from the world, he settled all his property on a distant relative, Thomas Fletcher, Esq., of Moresby, reserving only for himself a small competency for life. After his decease, his sisters, as heirs-at-law, commenced a suit in chancery for the recovery of the whole estate. The issue of the appeal was a compromise, in which it was agreed that the grantee, Thomas Fletcher, Esq., should enjoy Hutton and some other estates for life, and in the event of his death without issue, then Henry Fletcher Vane, Esq., son of Sir Henry's sister, Catherine, by her husband, Lionel Vane, of Long Newton, Durham, should succeed. From this Lionel is descended the present owner, Sir Henry Ralph Vane, Bart. The Vanes trace their descent from Howel-ap-Vane, who was seated in Monmouthshire soon after the Norman Conquest. There have been several distinguished members of this family and its collateral branches. Another Sir Henry Vane held important offices in the Council of the State during the Commonwealth, and by his strenuous and energetic opposition to the schemes of Cromwell, drew from the Protector the now memorable apostrophe: "O Sir Harry Vane, Sir Harry Vane - the Lord save me from Sir Harry Vane!"

Hutton Hall, or as it is now written, Hutton-in-the-Forest, the seat of Sir H.R. Vane, Bart., is a handsome mansion, standing on a fine eminence, surrounded by richly cultivated land and woods. Besides the lord of the manor, Messrs. J. and T.P. Bell, Thomas Close; and Thomas Howson, Brackenbrough; are landowners within the township.

The Church, dedicated to St. James, is situated near the hall. It was erected in 1714, upon the site of a previous church, and was again restored in 1868 by the present baronet, at which time a small vestry was also added. During the restoration, a stone was discovered in a niche in the chancel, which is thought to have been the tombstone of the founder. A cross florée and chalice on one side and a missal on the other are still evident, and a few traces of almost obliterated designs or lettering. In the chancel are several monuments to members of the Vane and Fletcher families. A pretty oak lecturn was presented to the church in 1892 by Mrs. Whitelock, in memory of her husband, the Rev. W. Whitelock, rector of this parish for fifty years. The communion rails of black oak are very handsome. In the churchyard is an old tombstone bearing a cross florée on one side of which is a bugle horn, and the other a shield charged with a crescent on a canton.

The Church, with one carucate of land, was given by Robert de Vaux to the priory of St. Mary, Carlisle, which grant was confirmed by Henry II, and afterwards by Edward II. In the valor of Pope Nicholas IV, taken in 1291, the living was valued at £4 2s. 4d.; and in the time of Henry VIII, it was stated to be worth £18 10s. 1d. It is now returned at £143, and is in the patronage of the dean and chapter, who have exercised that privilege since the suppression of the priory of St. Mary.

There was, formerly, a chantry chapel at Bramwra, in this parish, founded by Thomas de Capella, but having gone to decay, Thomas de Hoton obtained a license from the Bishop, in 1361, to found a new chantry, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, within the church at Hutton, which he endowed with 44 acres of land and six messuages, in addition to the lands formerly settled on the chapel at Bramwra. After the dissolution of chantries, Edward VI, by letters patent, granted it to Thomas Brende in free socage, with the lands, messuages, and tenements thereto belonging. In the valuation of church property made by order of Henry VIII, this chantry is set down at £6 14s. 10d. The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel at Hutton End, newly erected; the old one is now used as a Sunday school.

There were, some years ago, at Upper Row, on Hutton Common, the vestiges of Collinson Castle, an ancient fortification about 100 yards square, with a ditch 30 feet wide, and a trench four feet deep. Several hand mill stones have been found here, but no record or tradition has yet pointed out the erection or demolition of the building. There is a tradition that Charles II drank of Spa well which is near this place, on his way through the parish, in 1651. Elfa hills are two singular ranges of gravel mounds in this parish, 25 yards high, and two furlongs in length. They are surrounded by a low and swampy ground, where many marks of trenches appear, and where quantities of human bones have been found. Two urns, filled with ashes, were discovered in 1785, at Blencow bank. Hutton school was endowed in 1715, by Thomas Fletcher, Esq., and others, with a messuage and lands in Marrwhins, which, with an allotment on the enclosure of Inglewood Forest, consist of 15 acres, and now let for about £26 a year. Sir H.R. Vane, Bart., is trustee. John Dockray, who died in 1737, left 10s. a year to be distributed to the poor at Christmas.

THOMAS CLOSE contains 660 acres, of which the gross estimated rental is £779, the ratable value of the land £551, and of the buildings £147. The inhabitants are all employed in agriculture, and live in houses dispersed over the township. The manor of Morton, in this division, is held under the Duke of Devonshire. Market Gate is a small hamlet.



Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901

19 June 2015

© Steve Bulman