For more information about the history of Castle Eden, archive photos and stories from the area, contact the Castle Eden Society. There are also more pictures from around Castle Eden and Castle Eden Dene in the photo gallery section of our website.
Castle Eden has its origins in the 10th century when King Reinwald led a campaign of Danish raids and land acquisition. Sometime around 916 (AD) he gave lands known as Joden or Yoden, meaning Yew Dene, to his captain Scula. Later the land was taken by Bishop Cutheard and redistributed to Ealfrith who had to forfeit Yoden to flee from pirates. The last person to hold the estate prior to the Norman Conquest was Tilred who managed to win back the lands “South of Eden”
Post Norman Conquest 1066
In the middle of the 12th century, Castle Eden became the seat of Robert de Brus who owned a number of lands including a substantial part of the original Hartlepool situated near the Headland. It is most likely that he may have had his castle near the original settlement of Castle Eden. De Brus is known to have granted lands for a” chapel of Eden” to the monks of St Cuthbert.
16th – 18th Centuries
Letters dated 1553 in the time of Edward VI grant the Lordship of the Manor of Castle Eden to Simon Welbury and Christopher Moreland. The Welbury family had the manor until 1614 when it was handed on to Sir John Carey.
By 1678 the estate was in the hands of William Bromley of Baignton whose family held it for almost a century. William’s great grandson also called William was responsible for the first map of the area which is now housed in the County Records Office at Durham.
In 1758 William Throckmorton Bromley sold the estate to Rowland Burdon. By this time Castle Eden was in a ruinous state and it is largely thanks to Rowland Burdon and subsequent generations of the family that Castle Eden is as it is today with many of the buildings dating to the Burdon family tenure. During this time the most famous local artefact was discovered, the Castle Eden Vase, a glass vase thought to date back to the Saxon period, and currently on display at the British Museum.
19th Century Onwards
The 1800s was the heyday of Castle Eden and it was during this time that the toll road, (now part of the old Stockton road), the railway, coal mine and schools were established. The national census shows that the village supported several shops, a brewery, blacksmiths, corn mill, police station and courthouse, a post office, a pub and hotel with a cattle mart held regularly in what is now the car park of the Castle Eden Inn.
Earlier in the 19th century there was a brief period of sail and rope making, which gave rise to the houses still known as The Factory, The Bleachery and The Ropery.
During the two world wars Castle Eden housed army personnel and evacuees and gun emplacements to combat invasion are still in evidence on the coast at nearby Blackhall.
Sadly the village declined after the war when the railway was closed and Nimmos Brewery was gradually run-down.
In recent times the village has expanded with the building of new houses on the site of Nimmos brewery known as Butterknowle Green, and the site formally occupied by the steam corn mill and the old egg factory near the Castle Eden Inn. The old railway has a new lease of life as a well-used walkway and cycle route, whilst Castle Eden Dene has regained its reputation as one of the most spectacular places to visit in County Durham and is a National Nature Reserve.
The old brewery offices have been renovated and house a number of small businesses and a popular restaurant.
The Castle Eden Inn has also seen a recent refurbishment and is now a lively food and drink venue.