James Hutton describes farming as ‘in a manner the story of my life’. He inherited two Berwickshire farms (Slighhouses and Nether Monynut), from his father William. Slighhouses belong to the Huttons for three generations. James Hutton’s great-uncle, John, bought it from John Renton in 1713 for 9850 merke, which was then equivalent to 13.5 old pennies. James Hutton’s father bought Nether Monynut in 1710 before he had Slighhouses
With income deriving from his sal ammoniac business, Hutton’s decision to farm will not necessarily have been driven by the need to earn a living. While there is some speculation as to why Hutton left Edinburgh as a young man to pursue life as a farmer, he is (in the opinion of his biographer, John Playfair), likely to have been influenced in his decision by Sir John Hall of Dunglass. Sir John owned Godscroft adjacent to Nether Monynut and had a poor opinion of Slighhouses. It is apparent that Hutton was reluctant to farm but never-the-less adapted to rural life with ease.