In 1426, Little Eden Estate (situated near modern day Peterlee and Horden) had been owned by the Hawick family for some time. Apart from local farms, Little Eden’s main asset was its manor house built on the north side of the Castle Eden Dene (possibly on the site of the now ‘Castle’ of Castle Eden Dene).
In 1426, the last of the Hawicks, Walter Hawyk, settled the estate on his trustees declaring his intention to go and fight for King Henry VI in France who had laid claims to the French throne. Not surprising, the French disputed Henry’s claim and the final stages of the hundred years war began with the French rallying to the banner of Charles VII.
When Walter Hawyk left for France, England’s fortunes were riding high but things were soon to change. Just four years later, the Burgundians captured Joan of Arc and handed her to the English who promptly burnt her at the stake. Joan was martyred and the French fought harder than ever. Walter Hawyk never returned from France and the English began to suffer the set backs which eventually forced them to abandon France altogether.
Walters daughter, Joan, married a local gentleman by the name of Robert Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes outlived his wife and on her death, the manor and the land of Little Eden under the terms of her fathers will, was passed to John Trolloppe of Thornley.
After the decline of the Trolloppe family, the estate became the property of the Heath family. Over the next few years, Little Eden changed hands twice. First Mr. George Heath sold the estate to Major-General John Lambton. The land remained the property of the Lambton’s for a number of years before Mr. Ralph Lambton gave in to the inevitable and sold what remained of the Little Eden to the inescapable Rowland Burdon in 1800.
On the 13th May 1804, Little Eden, Sigeworth, Eden Hall, Black Hill and Cotsford Grange were all leased by Rowland Burdon for twelve years at the rent of £550 per year. When looking into local history, it is almost impossible to avoid the name of Burdon in general and Rowland Burdon in particular.