Hutton, James, 1726-97, Scottish geologist, chemist, and naturalist. He was initially attracted to chemistry; he entered the legal profession at the Univ. of Edinburgh; turned to medicine, as it closely resembled chemistry; and then became a farmer to allow him to study rocks and be able to pursue his interests in geology. He formulated controversial theories of the origin of the earth and of atmospheric changes (see uniformitarianism) that paved the way to modern geological science. After 1768, he moved to Edinburgh to discuss his ideas with other scholars including the physician and mathematician John Playfair, and chemist Joseph Black. Hutton started a controversy by standing against the popular Neptunists (rocks developed in a great flood) and the Plutonists (all rocks are of igneous origin) schools, proposing the theory of uniformity of causes, concluding that the earth's history can be explained by observing the geological forces now at work, because these forces are identical to the ones that operated in the past. By studying the Devonian Old Red Sandstone along the Scotland coast, he discovered that sedimentary rocks originated from, not a single flood, but a series of successive floods; noted that the intrusion of igneous rocks were distinct from sedimentary deposits; recorded the gradual actions of geomorphic processes; and discussed the lengths of geologic time. His ideas influenced Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, which in turn influenced Charles Darwin's theories of adaptive evolution. Hutton's great work was The Theory of the Earth (2 vol., 1795; MS fragment for Vol. III ed. by Archibald Geikie, 1899); it was simplified by John Playfair as Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth (1802).

See study by E. B. Bailey (1967).

Hutton is a village in south Essex. It is situated to the east of Brentwood and to the west of Billericay. The village is very close to Shenfield being largely built-up but with a substantial rural element as well.

Hutton Poplars

Opened in 1905. The name given to the Training School or Residential Home situated near the village of Hutton for destitute children from the district of Poplar in the east end of London. Capable of housing anything from 400 - 700 children at any one time. Like much of London during the Victorian era the Borough of Poplar faced high poverty levels. As the 19th century drew to a close the workhouses and orphanages in the borough were trying to cope with significant overcrowding. The chairman of the Board of Guardians for the region, George Lansbury, saw an opportunity to expand their operations into the Essex countryside, and convinced the Board to acquire 100 acres of land situated between Hutton and Shenfield on the Rayleigh Road. In 1906 the Board completed work on a self-contained community with its own stores, school, indoor swimming pool and an array of ancillary buildings. alongside the accommodation for the staff and a significant number of orphans living in small groups.

The final cost of the project caused uproar in the Houses of Parliament when it first opened. Some MPs complained that with their parquet flooring and central heating the buildings were more of the comfort levels of a public school like Eton than an orphans training school. However once operational the project received recognition for it's good work, with a Governmental inspection in early 1914 rating the facilities as "among the best in Britain" with the children "well cared for by an efficient staff of specially selected teachers." A Royal visit followed in 1918.

The placement of such an establishment was predictably controversial with the local residents. The hostility dragged out some time, with the children referred to as "outsiders" and thought best avoided by the local residents. Towards the end of the 20th century this attitude is regarded as having mellowed.

The administration of Hutton Poplars passed to the London County Council in the 1920s subsequently opening its doors to children from all parts of East and North London.

Several thousand children passed through its gates over the next six decades. Inevitably the cost of running such an establishment came under scrutiny and an eventual policy shift saw the responsibility for child care passing to the individual borough councils with smaller care homes springing up to replace these victorian monoliths.

The creation of the Greater London Council in 1966 replacing the London County Council resulted in the Borough of Hackney in London taking administrative control of the residential home. Charged with emptying it of non Hackney residents and ultimately selling it off to property developers children began leaving for smaller establishments in and around London. Hackney continued to house its children there until 1982.

Hutton Poplar remained open until 1982 The buildings then witnessed various fates under Essex County Council. The swimming pool was demolished despite local residents pleas for it to become a facility for the wider community. The school hall, known as Bishops Hill, has been maintained as an Adult Community Learning centre for the Mid Essex Adult Community College. Hutton Poplar Hall was restored in 1991 and may now be hired from Brentwood Borough Council.

The new housing development on the old site was modelled largely on the original layout with houses forming a oval around central open spaces. The Essex Dining Hall remains as a traditional village hall.

Whit Monday was traditionally a reunion day when former residents were encouraged to visit for the annual open fete day. A reunion still takes place in the Essex dining hall on Whit Monday every year. Centenary celebrations took place in 2006. Former residents or anyone with connections to Hutton Poplars are most welcome at the annual event.

Additions to build on

Hutton has a country park bound on one side by the River Wid.

Hutton All Saints' Church is a small ancient structure, with a wooden steeple, containing five bells. It has a more modern subsidiary church, St. Peter's, which was originally built in the 1950s as a dual purpose church and hall - a daughter church of All Saints', to serve the newly-developing housing estates in the centre of Hutton. In 1990, it was possible to extend the building to provide separate worship and community areas. In 2001, generous grant funding enabled a complete refurbishment of the whole building to improve the facilities available to church and community organisations.


Hutton has four primary schools: Long Ridings, St Joseph the Worker (Roman Catholic), All Saints (C of E) and Willowbrook (previosly known as Hutton County Primary School, and Brookfield Primary School).

The town also has two preparatory schools: Herington House School and Woodlands School Hutton Manor.

The nearby secondary school St Martin's in Brentwood also serves the area.


  • It has 4 main pubs; The Hutton, The Chequers, the Plough, and The Woodpecker.
  • There is also a co-op, londis and lords newsagents.
  • the first police officer of the Essex Constabulary to be killed whilst on active duty was Robert Bambrough, who was drowned in a pond in Hutton by the criminal that he was escorting from Billericay Magistrates Court on 21st November 1850.


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