Eden Papers

Scope and Content

The collection mainly reflects the landowning activities of the family, consisting almost entirely of deeds recording the lands and mineral rights of the Eden family of West Auckland, Co. Durham (and of families related to them) in Co. Durham, Yorkshire and Northumberland, also in Herefordshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Westmorland, London. A substantial number of the Co. Durham documents, especially in the first deposit, relate to land leased from the Dean and Chapter of Durham. Co. Durham places which occur most frequently are Aycliffe, West Auckland, St Helen Auckland, Kirk Merrington, Middlestone, Middridge and Windlestone. A bundle of deeds relates to the mansion in Annapolis of the then Governor of Maryland, Sir Robert Eden, which was confiscated at the time of the American War of Independence.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Eden family, baronets of West Auckland (created 1672) held estates in Co. Durham mainly in the area to the south-east of Bishop Auckland. As well as taking an active role in military and political life, they were engaged in farming and coal mining interests in the area. The Eden family had links by marriage with other important Durham landowners, notably the Shafto and Davison families.

Sir Robert Eden (1741-1784), second son of the third baronet, was the last Governor of Maryland, USA before the War of Independence, and was created baronet of Maryland in 1776, which was later united with the Eden of West Auckland title.


The materials are arranged by deposit. While the 1956 deposit has been thoroughly sorted and listed, that of 1958 has only been done at bundle level.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

The papers arrived in two batches:

  • 8 bundles of documents belonging to Sir Timothy Eden deposited through the National Register of Archives, 1 November 1956
  • 111 bundles deposited by Messrs. Gates & Co., Brighton through the National Register of Archives, 26 March 1958

Other Finding Aids

Online catalogue available at online catalogue

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

DUL Add.MS. 850: A survey and plan of land in the township of West Auckland ... belonging to Sir John Eden, Bart., ca. 1760.

Shafto (Beamish) Papers

Corporate Names