History of The Hutt & Newstead Abbey
The Hutt was built in 1400 as part of the spectacular Newstead Estate, on the site of a Royal Hutt, one of seven built to house the men patrolling Sherwood Forest to protect the King’s deer - King John himself is said to have stayed there.
Just across from The Hutt stands the majestic Newstead Abbey - a stunning 12th Century Grade I Listed Building. Purchased by the Byron family in 1540, it was passed through the generations of the family until 1817, which included notorious English poet and leading figurehead of the Romantic Movement, Lord Byron.
A true historic and literary landmark, the tomb in the middle of Newstead Abbey Gardens features ‘Epitaph to a Dog’ – also referred to as ‘Inscription on the Monument to a Newfoundland Dog.’ Written in 1808 in honour of his Newfoundland dog, Boatswain, who died of rabies, the opening lines were long thought to have been written by Byron himelf. However, it was later found to have been written by Byron’s friend, John Hobhouse.
Visitors to The Hutt and Newstead Abbey may also want to keep an eye out for one of its very famous and very old residents! During the late 17th Century, there was allegedly a tunnel connecting The Hutt to Newstead Abbey. A monk who used to travel along the tunnel is thought to haunt the Estate after being chained to the tunnel wall and left to perish.
The Hutt stands on a highway that has been important since medieval times, when it was known as the King’s Highway, connecting the castles at Bolsover and Nottingham, an important route for merchants, pilgrims visiting Newstead Priory and even monarchs. Originally built to accommodate visitors to the priory, by the 17th century The Hutt was an important hostelry where travellers would gather in numbers for protection before braving the notorious Thieves Wood, just north of the inn on what was by then known as The Packman’s Way.
History of Ravenshead
Following the murder of Thomas à Becket, King Henry II, supposedly to make up for this terrible deed, gave the Canons of the Order of St Augustine the land at Ravenshead where they set up a priory, the walls of which can still be seen today.
Here, Ravenshead is first mentioned: ‘Ravenshead begins at the aforesaid way which lies from Papilwyke (Papplewick) to Blydeworthe, along the hollow road eastward which is called Thefestyghe: and this leads to the King’s highway which is called Nottinghamgate.’
Of course, the legend of Robin Hood centres around Sherwood Forest too, and it is possible one of Robin Hood’s followers, Friar Tuck, was inspired by the priory. Will Scarlet is also thought to be buried at nearby Blidworth Church.
The Hutt and Newstead Estate are as popular today as they have been for generations. It’s an idyllic country retreat, as well as a historic and literary landmark where you can savour the past, as well as the here and now, by way of delicious traditional pub food, excellent service, and vast selection of fine wines and cask ales. Simply perfect!
Directions to The Hutt
You can find The Hutt just off Nottingham Road in Ravenshead, Nottingham opposite Newstead Abbey. Just key NG15 9HJ into your satnav to find us.