Born 11th February 1756, Catherine was the only daughter of William Hutton (1723-1815) poet and seventeenth century topographer of Birmingham. Catherine was a writer with many literary connections. She wrote a memoir of Robert Bage (1730-1801), the eighteenth century novelist, for Sir Walter Scott, in the series of works published as Ballantyne's "Novelist's Library."
During her lifetime she wrote to many famous people and collected over two thousand valuable letters. A selection of these were published after her death by her cousin, Mrs Catherine Hutton Beale, in 1891.
One of her novels, The miser married, is also based on a series of letters from Charlotte Montgomery to Harriet Castlemain, discussing her woes of being a daughter living with an attractive but spendthrift mother, married for the second time to a miser, now Charlotte's step-father. It is lightened throughout by comic characters but also includes some literary criticism of well known figures of the day, such as Maria Edgeworth. In one of the letters the character Charlotte writes:
The idea of Miss Edgworth's Castle Rackrent is original. In making an old servant relate the history of the family in which he has spent his days, she gives a finished picture of the manners of the Irish, from the peasant to his lord. The character of the old steward himself is well conceived, and well preserved. Half honest, half a rogue; much attached to his own interest, a little to that of this master's; and the panegyrist equally of their vices and their virtues. All is interesting, because all is natural. Castle Rackrent determined me to read every thing of Miss Edgworth's that I could find.
Although Catherine suffered from ill health throughout her life she lived until she was ninety. She died on 13th March at the family's home in Bennett's Hill, Birmingham.
She never married.
The miser married
The Welsh mountaineer (part of the Birmingham Authors Collection)
The life of William Hutton (1816)
The history of Birmingham (1819)
The Birmingham Authors Collection is a reference collection housed within Birmingham Central Library. Books within this collection are available for loan only through the inter-library loan system. Contact your nearest library for details about inter-library loans or follow this link for more details about Birmingham Central Library.
A sample chapter and the complete text of The miser married are available on this website.
The following books give background information:-
Reminiscences of a gentlewoman of the last century
(1891) C. H. Beale (ed).
The life of William Hutton and the History of the Hutton family. L. Jewitt (ed).
Page created 7 May 2002 and last updated 11 March 2004
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