Hutchinson & Buchanan were established in 1919 by the formation of the partnership of William Hanley Hutchinson and Robert Chilton Buchanan.

William Hutchinson had qualified in 1876 and joined in partnership with a Mr Bateson at offices in Pateley Bridge, Harrogate and Ripon. Upon Mr Bateson’s retirement in 1883, William Hutchinson joined the firm of S Wise & Son (previously J W Coates, and established in 1834). The records of S Wise & Son and J W Coates are held in our library and date back to the 17th century. The oldest book in our library goes back to 1607!

In 1889 S Wise & Son bought our premises at 77 North Street, Ripon for £1,425 from the Trustees of the Ripon Savings Bank. These premises were ideal for a solicitor, possessing as they did a substantial bank strongroom which today houses many deeds and wills.

In 1919, William Hutchinson (by now the sole practitioner of S Wise & Son) combined S Wise & Son with the practice of Robert Buchanan, who had separate premises in Market Place, Ripon. The combined practice was named Hutchinson & Buchanan and traded from S Wise & Son’s old premises at 77 North Street, Ripon, from where Hutchinson & Buchanan continues to trade to this day.

Second Generation

William Hutchinson died in 1930 and Robert Buchanan died in 1946, however the second generation of the Hutchinson and Buchanan families had already joined the firm.

William Hutchinson’s son, Charles Hutchinson joined the firm in 1929. Charles Hutchinson founded the Alton Group of Companies to provide employment for the people of Ripon. He died in 1978 aged 74 years, without ever retiring.

Robert Buchanan’s son, Chilton Buchanan, joined the firm in 1936. Chilton Buchanan served during the war in the Judge Advocate’s Department and later became Clerk of the Justices of Ripon, Wath and Pateley.

Incorporation of Edmundson & Gowland

In 1957 Hutchinson & Buchanan merged with Edmundson & Gowland of Millgate, Masham, following the retirement of Thomas Stockton Gowland the previous year. Tom Gowland was a keen painter and three of his paintings hang in the reception of our offices. Edmundson & Gowland were established in 1887 and house files going back to 1830. Edmundson & Gowland traded as a separate partnership until 1995 and their offices are presently our Masham courtesy office.

Third & Fourth Generations

The third generation of the Hutchinson and Buchanan families arrived when Michael Hutchinson and Richard Buchanan joined Hutchinson & Buchanan in 1958 and 1967 respectively. In 1979 and 1987, first Michael Hutchinson and then Richard Buchanan had the honour to be the first and second third generations to hold the office of President of the Harrogate and District Law Society. Michael Hutchinson retired in 2007 and Richard Buchanan in 2010, by which time the fourth generation of the Hutchinson family had arrived when Andrew Hutchinson joined the firm in 1994.


Today, Hutchinson & Buchanan is a thriving high street practice comprising three partners and two associate solicitors. Our historic premises have benefited from a programme of modernisation and extension over the years and now provide modern and spacious accommodation for staff and clients. We have extensive computer and paper library facilities, which are second to none in the area. We provide legal services to a large and varied client base and pride ourselves on the quality of the legal service we offer to our clients. Most recently, we have converted the Partnership to a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) as this is the preferred corporate structure for professional services firms and we believe it is right for us to convert to this structure, to provide the firm with a transparent and modern business platform for the future.