Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Eden, Thomas

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EDEN, THOMAS, LL.D. (d. 1645), master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, the youngest son of Richard Eden of South Hanningfield, Essex, by Margaret, daughter of Christopher Payton, esq., of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, was born in the south part of Sudbury, within the county of Essex. From Sudbury school he was sent to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, whence he migrated to Trinity Hall, of which house he was admitted a scholar 31 Dec. 1596. He was elected to a fellowship 10 July 1599, and afterwards he held for many years the office of reader of the civil law in his college. On 10 Nov. 1613, being then LL.B., he was chosen to succeed Dr. Clement Corbet as professor of law in Gresham College, London (Ward, Gresham Professors, p. 240). In March 1614-15 he held a disputation for the degree of LL.D. with great applause before James I at Cambridge, and he was created doctor in the following year. On 4 Nov. 1615 he was admitted a member of the College of Advocates at Doctors' Commons (Coote, English Civilians, p. 73).

He was returned as one of the burgesses for the university of Cambridge to the parliament of 6 Feb. 1625-6, and subsequently re-elected to the parliaments of 17 March 1627-8, 13 April 1640, and 3 Nov. 1640 (the Long parliament). On 4 Sept. 1626 he was chosen master of Trinity Hall on the resignation of Dr. Corbet. He was appointed chancellor of the diocese of Ely in 1630, and he was also commissary of Westminster, Bury St. Edmunds, and Sudbury, and one of the masters in chancery. He resigned his professorship at Gresham College 27 July 1640. On 3 May 1641 he joined with those members of the House of Commons who took the protestation. The speaker informed the house on 7 Sept. 1642 that he had received commission from Dr. Eden, who had been long sick of an ague, to acquaint the house that as formerly he had lent the house 1,000l 'in time of streight,' and had adventured 500l. for Ireland, so he was also willing now to lend 200l. for the service of the king and parliament according to the propositions (Commons' Journals, ii. 76). On 28 Feb. 1643-4 he took the solemn national league and covenant (ib. iii. 410). In April 1645 he was one of the committee of parliament, consisting of six peers and twelve commoners, which was appointed by the two houses to manage the affairs of the admiralty. He died in London on 18 July 1645, and was buried on 2 Aug. in the chapel of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where a mural monument with a Latin inscription was erected to his memory. The Latin oration delivered at his funeral by Thomas Exton, afterwards a knight, is printed in Ward's 'Gresham Professors,' appendix, p. 69, and two English elegies on his death are preserved in the British Museum (Lansd. MS. 98, ff. 195, 196).

Eden, who is highly commended as an advocate by Fuller, was a munificent benefactor to Trinity Hall. He left in manuscript:

  1. ‘Notæ in regulas juris.’
  2. ‘Liber observationum.’
  3. ‘Liber articulorum.’
  4. ‘Loci communes.’

[Cole's Athenæ Cantabr. E. 7; Cole's Manuscripts, vi. 88, 93, 94, 108, 109; List of Members of Parliament (official return), i. 468, 474, 480, 485; Willis's Notitia Parliamentaria, vol. iii. pt. ii. pp. 230, 241; Carter's Cambridge, pp. 101, 106, 109; Calendars of State Papers, Dom. (1635-6) index, (1636-7) p. 432, (1637) pp. 188(2), 423, (1637-8) p. 316, (1638-9) p. 590, (1639) p. 367, (1639-40) pp. 270, 272-4, 277, 278, 281, 285, 287, 562, (1641-3) pp. 4, 34, 529; Lloyd's Memoires (1677), p. 593; Fuller's Worthies (Nichols), i. 357; Hearne's Textus Roffensis, append, p. 403; Harl. MSS. 376 art. 30, 378 art. 36, 589 art. 18; Kennett's MS. 51, f. 44; Hervey's Visitation of Suffolke (Howard), pp. 13-16. 19.]

T. C.