Eden, Castle (St. James)

EDEN, CASTLE (St. James), a parish, in the union of Easington, S. division of Easington ward, N. division of the county of Durham, 5½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Hartlepool, and 10½ (E. by S.) from Durham; containing 558 inhabitants. This place, which appears to have derived its name, originally Yewden, from its baronial castle and its situation near a valley abounding with yew-trees, was during the heptarchy of considerable importance, and formed part of the territories of Tildred, by whom the manor was given to the monastery of Chester-le-Street. After the Conquest, it was granted, with numerous other lordships, to Robert de Brus, who annexed it to the endowments of the priory of Guisborough, which he had founded in 1129, on condition of the prior's erecting and endowing a chapel here within ten years from the date of the grant, which was subsequently confirmed by his descendant, Peter de Brus. The manor remained in the possession of the priory till its dissolution, and about a century afterwards passed to the Bromley family, in the county of Warwick, from whom it was purchased by Rowland Burdon, Esq., whose descendant, of the same name, is the present proprietor.

The parish is situated on the road from Stockton to Sunderland, and within a mile of the sea-coast, comprising an area of 1933 acres, of which about 440 are arable, 1085 meadow and pasture, 350 woodland and plantations, and the remainder roads and waste. On the north and south boundaries are denes, extending in nearly a parallel direction from the western confines of the parish for about four miles, and terminating on the coast: Castle-Eden dene, on the north, presents a striking combination of picturesque and romantic scenery. The soil is generally a strong fertile clay well adapted for all kinds of grain, with moderate portions of excellent turnip-land: limestone of inferior quality is procured for burning into lime; and coal is also found, at a great depth beneath the limestone, and of very superior quality. There are an iron-foundry and a large brewery; and great facilities are afforded by railways. Pettysessions are held monthly. Castle-Eden House, the seat of Mr. Burdon, is a handsome and spacious modern mansion, erected on the site of the ancient castle, and finely situated on an eminence commanding a good view. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150; patron, Mr. Burdon; appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Durham, whose tithes have been commuted for £91. The church, which is near the village, was rebuilt in 1764, by the grandfather of the present patron, and is a neat structure, with a tower surmounted by a spire. A church has been built in the western portion of the parish, which is noticed under the head of Wingate-Grange.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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