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Our History

From the echoes of the past to the promise of tomorrow, the Hutchinson & Buchanan legacy is bound by the unbreakable bonds of family, fidelity, and the pursuit of justice.


Our legal practice has origins that can be traced back to the 18th century. Many of our solicitors have come from families who have been practising as solicitors for several generations. Our extensive legal library goes back even further, to 1635.

We were founded by William Hanley Hutchinson and Robert Chilton Buchanan in 1919, each having previously been a sole practitioner in the legal profession.

Mr. Hutchinson’s eldest son Hanley had qualified in 1913 but died during the first world war in 1917. Meanwhile, Mr. Buchanan’s own partner, Mr. Whitham, had bid farewell to the legal realm in 1914, leaving behind a void to be filled.

At 77 North Street, their practices intertwined, creating a legal practice that endures to this day, an unbroken thread spanning four generations. 

The origins of this legacy trace back to a Mr. Whitham who went into legal practice in 1875. He held the office of Clerk to the Justices until passing the mantle to Mr. Buchanan upon retirement in 1875 when the office was merged with the Harrogate Clerkship.

Mr. Hutchinson was part of the Hutchinson lead mining family, who moved to Ripon in 1884. He had qualified as a solicitor in 1876 and joined Mr F D Wise in partnership in 1883. Mr Wise’s father, Samuel, had founded their family firm of S Wise & Son, having joined the firm of Mr J W Coates upon qualifying in 1834. Mr Coates’ records in the firm’s library go back to the previous century, but little is known of him.

Our Founders

In the ebb and flow of generations, the torch passed from father to son. In 1889 the firm bought the premises at 77 North Street for £1,425 from the Trustees of the Ripon Savings Bank. These premises were ideal for a solicitor, possessing a substantial bank strongroom which today houses many deeds and wills.

Mr F D Wise retired in 1914 to concentrate on his appointment as Diocesan Registrar. He had succeeded in this office from his father, who became Registrar when the Diocese was recreated in 1836. He had served the first three Bishops of Ripon, the first of whom, Bishop Longley, went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

Mr Hutchinson was appointed Company Secretary when Ripon Race Company was formed in 1899 and Ripon Spa Hydro Ltd (as it was then known) in 1906, and the family still retains an interest in both companies.

Mr Hutchinson’s son, Charles Hutchinson, qualified in 1929 and his father died in 1930. In 1932 he married Mary Cheston, herself the daughter, granddaughter and niece of solicitors. He expanded the horizons of the firm and on his father’s commercial interests with a vision to shape the contours of its future. He founded the Allton Group of Companies to provide employment for the people of Ripon.

Alongside Charles stood Mr Buchanan’s son, Chilton Buchanan, a scion of legal lineage who qualified in 1936 and joined the family partnership. He served during the war in the Judge Advocate’s Department. After the war, he returned to the family practice, and then his father died in 1946. He added the Clerkships of Wath and Pateley Bridge to the Clerkship of the Ripon Justices.

In 1957 the firm merged with a long established Masham practice, Edmundson & Gowland. Mr Edmundson qualified in 1876, the same month as William Hutchinson, and was joined in practice by Mr Frederick Gowland in 1887 and later by his son, Tom, in 1915. Mr Edmundson’s own son was killed in the First World War.

Tom Gowland was always a reluctant lawyer, preferring to study local history, of which he was acknowledged to be the leading authority in his day, and to paint. Three of his paintings hang in the North Street reception office. He retired when the two firms merged.

Wax Melt
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Tiled Floor and Bookcase

In the ebb and flow of generations the torch passed from father to son.

Tony Storey

The third generation joined the practice respectively when Michael Hutchinson qualified in 1958 and Richard Buchanan in 1967. Charles Hutchinson died in 1978 aged 74 years, without retiring.

In 1979 and 1987, Michael Hutchinson and Richard Buchanan respectively had the honour of being the first, second and third generations to hold the office of President of the Harrogate and District Law Society.

The family tradition was set on a new path with the entry into partnership of County Durham born Tony Storey in 1982.

Donald later emigrated to Australia to join his brother and mother, and Ripon born William Kinread joined the partnership in 1988. John Lewis became partner number six in October 2001.

Michael Hutchinson retired in 2007 and Richard Buchanan in 2010, by which time the fourth generation of the Hutchinson family had already arrived when Andrew Hutchinson joined the firm in 1994. Tony Storey’s son, Richard Storey, joined the firm in 2004 and today is a partner alongside managing partner, Andrew Hutchinson.

Hutchinson & Buchanan is a thriving high street practice comprising two partners, two associate solicitors and a legal and administration support team that keeps our work flowing and our clients happy. 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.

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77 North Street
North Yorkshire HG4 1DP


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