Arguments could be had as to whether there has ever been a more scenic setting for an AGM, but I would argue that this year’s 99th AGM at Hutton-in-the-Forest would be in the top 3.
We had been invited to Cumbria by our President, Lord Richard Inglewood, both to hold our meeting and to visit his wonderful home, not far from Penrith.
The meeting itself took place in St James Church and was attended by 33 staff, trustees, and members. The meeting looked back at the achievements of 2022, as well as forward to the next steps for the charity’s governance. Full minutes of the meeting will be available on the website and printed in next year’s Journal.
Once the meeting had concluded, Richard gave a short introduction to the history of the area and the role that his family has played over many generations, as well as the resulting impact on the architecture of both the church and the house.
The rain just about managed to stay at bay while we all walked across the field to the house, where afternoon tea was served, giving us all a great opportunity to chat and get to know each other well. Many members had travelled to be with us, and it was wonderful to find out more about them and their interests. The tea was delicious, and I think it’s fair to say we all had at least one sweet treat too many!
Tea was followed by a full tour of the house, which Richard led with great enthusiasm and knowledge, answering the many questions about all aspects of the house, including the architects, inspirations, as well as the many wonderful paintings and ornaments that fill the rooms.
Of particular delight was the collection of porcelain, which the family is still adding to, with many interesting contemporary pieces.
Hutton-in-the-Forest is such an extraordinary property, with the oldest part of the house being the Pele Tower, built around 1350. We got to stand in the area where the cattle would have been gathered if there had been a threat from the Scots, now reused as a porch. The house has six distinct architectural periods spanning 600 years, as over that time family members added to and adapted the house to their needs. The result is a striking façade and a wonderful history to tell.
An enormous thank you to Lord Inglewood, his family and team for such a warm welcome. We highly recommend a visit to this stunning house next time members find themselves in the area.
The full minutes from the day are downloadable here.