Windlestone Hall shown within County Durham
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The Eden family who held the manor of Windlestone in the 17th century were Royalists during the English Civil War and Colonel Robert Eden who had served in the King's army was obliged to compound for the return of his confiscated estate. Following the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, his grandson, also Robert Eden, was created a baronet in 1672, (see Eden baronets).
In 1835, the fifth Baronet, Robert Johnson Eden, replaced the 16th-century manor house with a new mansion designed by architect Ignatius Bonomi. The two-storey house presents a twelve-bay balustraded frontage to the east. A balustraded Doric order colonnade extends across nine bays of the ground floor. The north ends in a large apse. A billiard room was attached to the north east in the mid-19th century.
On the death of the fifth Baronet in 1844, the estate and Baronetcy passed to his first cousin once removed, Sir William Eden, who was already the fourth Eden of Maryland Baronet. He was High Sheriff of Durham in 1848.
The house was the birthplace in 1897 of Anthony Eden, who entered parliament as a Conservative Party Member of Parliament in 1923, later serving as a cabinet minister before serving as prime minister from 1955 to 1957. At the time of his death in 1977, he was living in Wiltshire.
The house and estate were used as a prisoner of war camp during World War II, a satellite camp of Harperley POW Camp 93. Between 1957 and 2006, it was occupied by Windlestone Hall School, a local authority residential special school. The school closed in 2006, and was sold for £240,000 by Durham County Council to William Davenport, a private investor, in 2011.
Davenport, the investor, was jailed for 6 years in 2016 for using forged documents to purchase the house and estate.
Windlestone Hall was listed for auction with an entry guide price of £400,000 in July 2017. On the 17th July 2017 it was removed from the auction and marked as "sold prior to auction" to an, as yet, unknown buyer.
- English Heritage: Images of England, photograph and architectural description
- The Baronetage of England Containing a Genealogical and Historical Account of all the Baronets now existing, Edward Kimber and Richard Johnson, Vol 2 (1771) pp. 368-70
- "Sir Anthony Eden".
- "Windlestone Hall up for £2.5m after Durham County Council sale". 4 November 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
- "William Davenport jailed for Windlestone Hall mortgage fraud". 28 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016.