EDEN, Sir Robert, 1st Bt. (c.1644-1720), of West Auckland, co. Dur.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. c.1644, 1st s. of John Eden of West Auckland by Catherine, da. of Sir Thomas Layton of Layton, Yorks. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. matric. 2 Aug. 1661, aged 17; M. Temple 1664, called 1670. m. aft. 7 Apr. 1669, Margaret (d. 2 July 1730), da. and h. of John Lambton of Durham, 8s. (at least 2 d.v.p.) 6da. cr. Bt. 13 Nov. 1672; suc. fa. 1675.1

Offices Held

J.p. co. Dur. by 1669-Apr. 1688, Nov. 1688-?d., Stockton-on-Tees 1683, Northumb. 1685-July 1688; commr. for assessment, co. Dur. 1673-80, 1689-90, recusants 1675, dep. lt. by 1701-?d.2


Eden’s ancestors were established in the county of Durham by the 15th century, though none had entered Parliament. His grandfather, a Royalist in the first Civil War, compounded for £132 in 1644, and was nominated a knight of the Royal Oak after the Restoration with an estimated income of £1,000; but no evidence has been found to determine the role of his father during the Civil War and Interregnum.3

Eden qualified as a barrister, but he was created a baronet in his father’s lifetime two years later, and is unlikely to have practised. In the first county election in 1675, he supported Thomas Vane, the country candidate; but he was himself returned at the first general election of 1679 as a court supporter at the head of the poll and marked ‘base’ on Shaftesbury’s list. A moderately active Member of the first Exclusion Parliament, he was appointed to four committees, including those to investigate the conduct of the sheriff at Eden’s own election and to inspect the Journals. He voted against exclusion, and did not stand again until 1690, though in February 1684 he was recommended by Bishop Crew. He gave evasive answers on the repeal of the Penal Laws and Test Act, declaring:

If I shall be chosen to serve in Parliament when his Majesty thinks fit to call one, I shall give my vote according to the reasons of the debate in such matters as shall there be treated of. ... If I concern myself in electing Members to serve in Parliament, I will vote for those who I hope will consent to such matters as will be for the honour and safety of his Majesty’s royal person and welfare of the Government both in Church and State.

He was accordingly among the ‘prime justices’ removed from the commission of the peace. He sat as a Tory in five further Parliaments under William III and Anne, being succeeded as knight of the shire in 1713 by his son. He was buried at Auckland St. Helen on 17 May 1720.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Gillian Hampson / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Vis. Dur. ed. Foster, 111; Pepys Diary, 7 Apr. 1669; Collins, Peerage, viii. 288.
  • 2. Dur. RO, Q. Sess. Order Bk. 6; HMC Le Fleming, 210; CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 255.
  • 3. Hutchinson, Dur. iii. 339-40; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 1266; Royalist Comps. (Surtees Soc. cxi), 185.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1675-6, p. 184; July-Sept. 1683, p. 435; Durham Cathedral Lib. Sharp mss 82/10; HMC Le Fleming, 210.