Category: Local Attractions
Today Hutton-in-the-Forest reflects centuries of history and change. A house of six periods between the mid 14th and the mid 19th centuries, Hutton is a rich illustration of the development of the country house in the North of England.
Hutton is surrounded by beautiful gardens and grounds. It is known that there were elaborate gardens around the house from the late 17th century. They have evolved since that time but the basic elements can still be seen and are a wonderful background to the plants and flowers.
The story of the house begins with the Arthurian legend of Sir Gawain and the Greene Knight, in which Sir Gawain rode 'into a deep forest that was wonderfully wild' and, after meeting the Greene Knight, rode on to the Knight's 'Castle of Hutton'.
Certainly Hutton-in-the-Forest is a most romantic house and its story is one of continuity in the face of change through several centuries.
Two families have owned Hutton-in-the-Forest. The de Hotons lived here until 1605 when they sold the estate to Richard Fletcher of Cockermouth, a member of a newly powerful family that had entertained Mary Queen of Scots fifty years earlier. The hundred years when the Fletchers lived at Hutton are some of the most interesting in its history. When the last baronet Sir Henry Fletcher died in 1712, the house passed to his sister's son, Henry Vane, who added the name Fletcher. In the next generation Lyonel reversed the names to Fletcher Vane.
The first known historical reference to Hutton-in-the-Forest is in 1292 when King Edward I visited Thomas de Hoton, who was made Crown Forester. Hutton-in-the-Forest was one of three principal manors in the Royal Forest of Inglewood, which covered much of mid Cumberland and was the second largest royal forest in England. The de Hotons were aware of the threat from the marauding Scots to the north and the substantial Pele Tower, described in the ballad 'Dick 0' the Cow' was probably built by Thomas' grandson, another Thomas.