James Hutton (1726-1797)

James Hutton (1726-1797)

Geologist

James Hutton, the father of modern geology, was a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. He studied at the University of Edinburgh before moving to Paris in 1747 following the birth of a son, James Hutton. He never married. On his return to Edinburgh he set up a successful manufacturing business but later moved to Berwickshire where he tested crops, made meteorological recordings and introduced the Norfolk two-horse plough to the Scottish Borders. During travels throughout Scotland, England and Wales he collected evidence for his major work 'Theory of the Earth with Proofs and Illustrations' (1795).

Birth in 1726

James Hutton was born on 3 June 1726, the son of William Hutten (note spelling), late Town Treasurer and Sarah Balfour. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Edinburgh gives the date of baptism as 9 June and includes the names of four witnesses.

Birth and baptism entry for James Hutton

Birth and baptism entry for James Hutton (35 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/17

A second entry is found in volume 24 of the Edinburgh scroll registers of births and baptisms which are held in the collection of Miscellaneous Manuscript Records of the Registrar General for Scotland (National Records of Scotland, MR 4-24, top entry).

Death in 1797

Dr James Hutton was buried on 28 March 1797. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Edinburgh starts with H as the initial letter of his surname,  the column for designation has been left blank and the site of interment is given as Mr Gray's Ground close to Keiss House.

Burial entry for James Hutton

Burial entry for James Hutton (12 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/98, page 278