‘I hereby give you notice…’
In fairness, when A F Huddleston, of Hutton John, signed the slip of paper in August 1857, it did give his tenants seven months’ notice he wanted them out of their farms.
And maybe there was some kind of meeting beforehand. One can only hope it wasn’t a case of his agent calling at the farms in question and handing over the notice to quit, out of the blue.
But it may still have been very unwelcome news.
And if so, the ‘to let’ adverts that appeared in local newspapers subsequently must have seemed like rubbing salt into the wound:
Great opportunity, seldom offered…
…most desirable farm..
..excellent farmhouse… 300 acres of good quality. Much of the grazing is not to be surpassed in the county…
Only tenants ‘of capital and respectability’ need apply.
The Hutton John estate’s history
The blue paper slips, by the way, are standard wording, insert name and farm and dates to suit. That’s it. No reason. After years as a tenant, you’re out.
The two farms in question were Dacre Banks, Dacre, and High Gate (Highgate), at Hutton John, between Penrith and Keswick on the modern A66.
The manor of Hutton John was held of Greystoke barony by the Hutton family from the13th century until the death of Thomas Hutton c.1628, when it passed to his sister Mary, who married 1564 Andrew Hudleston of Farington (Lancs.), a younger son of Hudlestons of Millom. Their descendants sold the manor to the duke of Norfolk (lord of Greystoke barony), in 1787 but retained demesnes (source).
It was noted, in 1847: ’Hutton John is a small township with only three houses. The principal inhabitants are Andrew F. Hudleston, Esq. magistrate, Hutton John, and Christopher Pears, farmer, High-gate. Population in 1841, 25 souls.’
They may have been your landlords, but with so few families, if you didn’t want to leave, it must have felt ‘personal’ being given notice by one of your few neighbours.
High Gate Farm (Highgate Farm)
By 1857, when they got the notice to quit, Christopher Pears had been farming Highgate for 16 years. The family were there on the 1841 census (which is just a single page for Hutton John, with Andrew F Hudleston at the Hall).
In the 1830s, Christopher Pears had been farming at Black Sykes, on the Hutton-in-the-Forest estate (the Fletcher Vane family estate).
1835: Farm to let. A farm called Black Sykes… consisting of an excellent dwelling house and convenient farm buildings, with about 90 acres of excellent arable, meadow and pasture land, 56 acres of which are tithe-free, in a high state of cultivation and now in the possession of Christopher Pears, as farmer thereof.
The family moved to Tongue Farm, Watermillock for a few years, then:
1840: Sept 12. To let. High Gate farm. Farmhouse, buildings, about 300 acres of land, lime kiln and stone. Free of all tithes, taxes, landowner to keep fences in repair.
The half-yearly rent in 1842 was roughly £170.
Of course, when Christopher Pears left High Gate in March 1858, he was aged 70, and it’s no surprise the farm sale notice says he is ‘declining farming’. So maybe he was okay with leaving – assuming none of the adult sons living with him in 1851 had wanted to take over the reins at High Gate when he retired. (In fact, Christopher Pears ‘downsized’ to Newton, with son Thomas – who was and continued to be a farmer.
The sale included 60 head of cattle, ten horses, 175 sheep, 12 stacks of grain, and all the farm equipment, implements etc.
So what of the other notice to quit?
The Sander family at Dacre Banks got the same, blunt message, dated the same day. Worse, in fact: it’s to ‘Joseph Sander’. Then the Joseph has been crossed out and something else scribbled above.
The 1851 census (took some digging!) found a Robert Sander, 32, at BANKS HOUSE, Dacre. Farmer, 132 acres.
Perhaps it’s unfair to suggest the person who filled in the slip had the attitude of: “We’re kicking you out and care that little we can’t even get your name right.” For sure, whoever wrote it (A F Hudleston just signed it) couldn’t be bothered to tear it up and start again
Robert Sander was only 32 in 1851, with a wife and three small children (and two servants), so would have have wanted to ‘decline farming’ six years later? For sure, in 1861, he was farming 250 acres at Stainton, so maybe he had been looking to move on to something bigger.
Poor Robert died in 1864, at Stainton, leaving his widow Sarah and six children, three of them under 12 years. Sarah is in Penrith in 1871, ‘retired farmer’s widow’
A F Hudleston, of Hutton John
Andrew Fleming Hudleston, born Hutton John 1796, had himself died in 1861, at Brighton, Sussex – he’d gone there ‘for the benefit of his health’.
The Carlisle Journal, in its obituary, said:
As a landlord, Mr. Hudleston was held in the highest estimation by his tenants; whatever was required to be done for the improvement of the property, he did it. In him the poor in the neighbourhood of Hutton John have lost their best friend. He would not allow any labourers to be idle; he found them work, and paid them for their labour, whether that labour was productive of any benefit to the estate or otherwise. In summer, if they could make more money elsewhere, they were at liberty to go; but in winter they were always sure of employment at Hutton John. In private life he was hospitable, affable, lively in conversation, and full of anecdote.
Having never married, the estate would ‘pass to a distant relative of the same name, now in the East Indies.’
High Gate/Highgate rebuilt
In a folder in Carlisle Archives, there are undated plans: a ‘ground plan for Hutton John’. That’s for a substantial house, looking at the front/back/side external sketches. Other’s a floor plan for a kitchen, parlour and ‘house’ (another room), with stairs, and an external sketch showing a house with two windows (ground floor level) and not looking like there’s much room for an upstairs.
For sure, the Hutton John Estate today says that Highgate ‘was built in 1870 by Andrew “the Counsellor” Hudleston.’
Re-built, then. Which means while you (and nine others) can stay at Highgate today for three nights for £750, you would be staying in the ‘modern’ (and modernised) farmhouse. (Link below – no affiliation with Cumbrian Characters!). With nothing to show how the original looked.