The following is taken from Revd. Alfred Suckling’s book, ‘Memorials of the antiquities and architecture, family history and heraldry of the County of Essex’ (John Weale, London, 1845).
This village is in the hundred of Barnstable. From the Saxon At-a-how, and How-tun, we have the modern Hutton, signifying the village on the hill. The manor has been held in late days by the families of Cory and Forbes; and on the death of James Forbes, Esq., in 1820 was purchased by the late Alderman Scholey. The entire parish is rated at £758 towards the land tax.
The church is dedicated to All Saints, and was formerly appropriated by the monks of Battle Abbey, in Sussex, who enjoyed its revenues till the dissolution of religious houses, and subsequently to that important event they have passed with the manor.
The advowson of the vicarage has been possessed by the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s ever since the year 1325.
As to the architecture of this very small edifice, it may be described in a few words. A roof of tile covers at one slope a nave with its two aisles, separated by an arcade of pointed arches, resting on columns composed of four cylindrical clustered shafts, having plainly moulded capitals, and corresponding bases. Attached to the eastern extremity is a chancel of suitable proportions, but having no pretensions to architectural embellishment or taste. At the west end is a small wooden turret, supported internally by beams of timber, which contains five bells. The font is a modern circular bason, presented in 1719, standing on an ancient octangular base. A north and south door, opening into the centre of the walls of their respective aisles, originally afforded entrance to the congregation, and each was furnished with a picturesque porch of carved wood-work. That on the south side is, however, now closed with masonry, and its porch demolished.
On a small parchment, inclosed in a black frame and covered with glass, are recorded the following benefactions to the parish of Hutton:-
“WHITE’S CHARITY – 20th of June, 17th of Queen Elizabeth. By indenture, George White of Hutton, Esquire, did enfeoff and convey unto John Payne and George Wharton, arid other persons, and their heirs, all that croft of land called Portgere, containing 9 acres, lying in Hutton. In trust, to receive yearly for ever the rents and profits, and according to their discretion to give and dispose thereof to such poor people as now do, or shall in time to come, inhabit in the parish of Hutton, as live in great poverty, necessity, or want. Also, in repairing the parish church of Hutton from time to time as it is required.
“7th December, 1813. - By deed, then dated, the following persons were appointed trustees of the above charity: James Forbes, Esqr.; James Mabbs, Gentleman; John French, ditto; Edward Abrams, Farmer.”
“Also, the interest of one thousand pounds, three per cent, redeemed stock, bequeathed to the minister and churchwardens of the parish of Hutton, for the benefit of the poor of the said parish, by the late Mr. Stephen Martin, Gentleman, of Brentwood, who died the 9th of January, 1805.”
Of these Hutton Church furnishes but few. On a stone, now lying transversely on the floor of the chancel, and near the first step of the communion rails, are two figures in brass, representing a warrior and his lady. At their feet appears a family group, consisting of eight sons and as many daughters. The inscription and armorial cognizance originally appertaining to these are lost, so that we cannot recover the names of these persons, though their dress unequivocally refers the period of their existence to the latter portion of the fifteenth century, and probably to about the reign of Richard the Third.
The value of these sepulchral brasses, as faithful specimens of costume, is exceedingly great; and their fidelity in this point is most decidedly proved, by comparing those of parallel dates in various quarters of the kingdom. From Northumberland to the Land’s End, we shall find a wonderful similarity, as well in execution as in design. I may further observe, of these sepulchral monuments, that their origin and decline are marked by very distinct and remarkable differences. They seem to have been introduced at once, large and bold, yet simple and elegant. They ended in complicated design, and tasteless execution. Within a century of their first appearance, they had nearly reached their perfection, and as the arts are justly thought to be ever on the increase or the wane, they gradually declined from that period in size and elegance. Indeed, after 1500, we rarely meet with a beautiful example of this species of decoration. Half a century later and they had wofully degenerated; innumerable scratches supplying the place of bold and sweeping outlines, and destroying that breadth of effect which is equally pleasing in these monumental effigies, as in the higher art of painting. I find the usage of this species of monument lingering on, still reduced in size, till so low a date as 1685, when they had become mere caricatures. I have met with no examples later than this period, nor is it probable that many exist. It may he mentioned, in addition to these observations, that at the era of the first introduction of these monuments, the figures were single and large; and the only ornament, independent of that attached to the person, was a shield or two of arms, placed near the head of the warrior. But these were soon extended to four escocheons, one laid at each corner of the stone. Next followed a slight canopy; the figure still remaining single, and principally, if not entirely, appropriated to males. The next change in the progress of this kind of funereal decoration was the introduction of female effigies, the wife being represented as standing beneath an arched canopy by the side of her husband, and in the devotional attitude adopted from the first. The curve of the arches in these canopies accorded strictly with that used in the buildings of a like era, and may at last be found nearly flat. The legend, commemorative of the actions and obituaries of the deceased, was usually a circumscription of brass, deeply engraven, and placed near the figures, if on a flat stone; but round the edge, bevelled off, if laid on an altar-tomb. About the year 1400, however, this usage fluctuated a little, and soon after gave way entirely to an inscription, sometimes placed at the head, but most commonly at the feet of the effigies.
Increasing in ornament with the increasing fashion for architectural enrichment, we at length find these figures attended with their children, and kneeling before faldstools or low altars, and not unfrequently splendidly enamelled and gilt. In this case, however, they were attached to the walls, as walking over them would speedily have destroyed their beautiful finishing. Occasionally, about this period, the conjoined position of the hands is opened, and the figures thrown into a more lively attitude. After the middle of the fifteenth century, the custom of placing the figures on the bodies of lions and dogs seems to have gone by; and they are represented as either kneeling on cushions or standing on a plot of ground, which finally became highly ornamented with leaves and flowers. Subsequently to the reign of Henry the Seventh, we rarely, if ever, meet with canopies; and the usage, as well as the execution of brass sepulchral monuments rapidly declined, till the time of Queen Elizabeth, after whose reign they are below criticism.
To develope, by a series of drawings, the gradual and successive changes in these very beautiful monumental memorials, would be a pleasing, though laborious, task; yet one which the second consideration would not deter the writer from undertaking, had he still possessed the sketches from which his drawings were originally made. His present mass of materials, however, though considerable, must be still enlarged, which his almost daily occupation and increasing love of the subject is rapidly effecting; and it is not improbable, that should health and eyesight be continued to him by the gracious Dispenser of these blessings, he may eventually produce a volume, in MS., at least*, exhibiting, in distinct classes, the progressive changes which all-powerful fashion has wrought in the military, ecclesiastic, and feminine costumes of our ancestors. And surely the simplest notices of those men must ever be delightful and instructive, whose wisdom has formed the groundwork of our excellent constitution, and whose valour achieved the glories of Crecy, of Poictiers, and of Agincourt.
But to return from this long digression. The next monument to be noticed in the church of Hutton lies also in the chancel. It is a small plate of brass thus inscribed, in black letter:-
Here lyeth George White, Esquier, the sonne of Richard White, the sonne of Richard White, Esquiers, which George died the xiv day of June, in the yere of our Lord God 1584.
This is undoubtedly the monument of the George White, mentioned in a former page, as a benefactor to the poor of Hutton.
On mural slabs, in the south aisle, are the two following memorials:-
1. To the memory of Thomas Cory, Esqre, Lord of this manor of Hutton, borne at Greate Fransom, in county of Norfolke, one of the Benchers of the Inner Temple, London, Chiefe Protonotory of the Court of Common Pleas at Westminster, who, after 18 yeares faithfull discharge of that office, devoutly resigned up his soule into the hands of God his Saviour, the 16 Of December, 1656, aetatis suae 65. This monument was erected by his most sad and deere wife, Judith, one of ye daughters of Sir Christopher Clitherow, Knight, and sometimes Lord Major of the city of London.
Also, the saide Judith departed this life the sixth day of June, 1663, and lies interred by her most deere and lovinge husband neere this place.
2. Sacred to the memory of James Forbes, Esquire, of this parish, and of Kingerlock, in the county of Argyle, in North Britain, who departed this life on the 23rd of March, 1829, aged 76 years.
Also, of Charlotte, (his first wife,) who departed this life on the 17th of July, 1794, aged -- years.
And also of Sarah, (his second wife,) who departed this life at Cheltenham on the 7th of Feb. 1831, aged 49 years.