Family History

The Middle Ages

According to some legends, Hutton-in-the-Forest is the Greene Knight’s Castle in the Arthurian story of Sir Gawain and the Greene Knight – although this is (of course) hard to verify!

The first known historical reference to Hutton-in-the-Forest is 1292 when King Edward I visited Thomas de Hoton, Crown Forester of Inglewood Forest. The house was owned by the de Hotons through the Middle Ages until 1605 when it was sold to Richard Fletcher, a successful merchant from Cockermouth in the Lake District.

The Fletcher Family

Richard Fletcher (1569 – 1637) moved from Cockermouth Hall (where his family had entertained Mary Queen of Scots) to Hutton and began to convert the border pele tower into a country house. He was succeeded by his son Henry, who built the Gallery, and was killed at the Battle of Rowton Heath in 1645 fighting for King Charles I in the English Civil War. Henry left behind a young son, George, who lived until 1700, was MP for Cumberland for forty years, and built the dramatic East front of the House in the mid-1680s. George’s eldest son, Henry, then inherited the baronetcy and estate.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Greene Knight. Legend has it that the Greene Knight lived at Hutton, although whether this is true or simply Arthurian legend is hard to say.

The Fletcher Vane Family

After Henry Fletcher’s death, there was a family dispute over his will and the house eventually passed to his nephew Henry Vane, who was the son of his sister Catherine and her husband Lyonel Vane of Long Newton.

The Vane family were allegedly knighted on the battlefield of Poitiers by the Black Prince in 1346, and became a leading gentry family in Kent. Sir Henry Vane the Elder (1569-1654) rose to be a principal Secretary of State to King Charles I and acquired a very considerable amount of land in County Durham, including Raby Castle. His eldest son was the radical politician Sir Henry Vane the Younger, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636 and a leading parliamentarian during the Civil Wars and Commonwealth. Despite having played no part in the execution of Charles I, Sir Henry Vane was executed at Tower Hill in 1662 under the orders of Charles II having been deemed ‘too dangerous to let live.’

The next Henry to inherit Hutton was Sir Henry Vane the Younger’s brother’s grandson. He used the surname Fletcher and was a great planter of trees (over 50,000). He created the Walled Garden, the Middle Pond, and (in 1745) the Cupid Room. He never married and was succeeded by his younger brother Walter, who had been a successful merchant in London and Rotterdam. Next came Sir Lyonel, who was created a baronet in 1786 just a few days before he died. Sir Lyonel’s eldest son Frederick was a colourful and difficult character who was elected MP for Carlisle after a notoriously corrupt campaign and employed John Peel, the celebrated Cumbrian huntsman, at Hutton.

Sir Frederick’s eldest son, Francis, restored, extended and renovated the house with his wife, Diana Olivia Beauclerk, despite considerable ill health. He died young in Frankfurt on the Maine, Germany, in 1840. Their young son Sir Henry inherited aged 12. In 1870 he married Margaret Gladstone, a cousin of the former Liberal Prime Minister. She was interested in the Arts and Crafts movement and is responsible for much of the character of the House we see today. They had no children, and he died in 1909 and she in 1916.

Hutton-in-the-Forest Today

After Lady Vane’s death the estate remained in trust for a number of years until it was inherited by a distant cousin, William Vane, nephew of the 9th Lord Barnard of Raby Castle. He was MP for Westmorland 1945-1964 and was created 1st Lord Inglewood in that year. In 1949 he married Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Proby Bt, of Elton Hall. They had two sons, Richard and Christopher.

Richard, is the present Lord Inglewood and lives today at Hutton with his wife Cressida and they have three grown up children. They have continued to work on the house and gardens, including turning the Walled Garden into the spectacular flower garden that we see today, planting many trees (in the arboretum around the Dove Cote), and great clearing works in the Low Garden to open up the pond.

William and Mary, Lord and Lady Inglewood
Lord and Lady Inglewood with Miranda and Caspar the dog
Walter Vane and Famil
Walter Vane and Family
Sir George Fletcher
Sir Henry Fletcher
Sir Henry Fletcher, 1st Baronet
Lyonel Wright Vane
Lyonel Wright Vane
Sir Henry Vane the Younger
Sir Henry Vane-Fletcher
Sir Henry Vane Fletcher