Rev Robert Eden
The Rt Rev Robert Eden, Rector of Leigh became Rector of Leigh in 1837.
Robert was an energetic priest with high-church principles and a commitment to overseas missions and elementary education. Whilst Rector of Leigh he received a very large legacy from a friend amounting to about £100,000 in plate, money, furniture and estates. He restored the church and built the Rectory (Library) and schools on Church Hill and during the cholera epidemic of 1849 he was ‘indefatigable and rubbed the collapsed sufferers with his own hands’.
In 1851 he left Leigh to become Bishop of Moray and Ross, accepting a poor Scottish Episcopal church and giving up a comfortable English living worth approximately £600 a year for a position of no more than £150 with no Bishop's residence other than a small cottage, fitted up as a mission chapel, on the bank of the River Ness.
During his time there he founded the cathedral of St Andrew in Inverness and is described as dignified and firm in character, and a capable but not brilliant preacher.
Robert Eden moved in interesting circles for in a 1936 sale held by the American Art Association, a copy of Samuel Clemens' (Mark Twain's) Scrap Book inscribed to the Reverend Robert Eden in Sept. 1878 was sold and in August 2007 a first edition of Mark Twain’s ‘Punch, Brothers, Punch and other sketches' was sold for $7500. It bore the inscription ‘To Rev R Eden, with the author’s kindest regards, Mark Twain Sept 5/78.
Another interesting snippet about the Rev Eden was his connection to Edward Feild,Church of England clergyman, inspector of schools and bishop of Newfoundland The bishop’s diocese included not only Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador, but also the Bermudas and he consistently protested that this forced him to divide his time between two areas 1,200 miles apart, whose problems were completely different. Reverend Robert Eden presented an 80-ton brig to the diocese to be used as a church ship.
Leigh's Rev Eden was the great great grandfather of Sir Laurence Olivier, our greatest actor and a cousin to Sir Anthony Eden, Prime Minister during the Suez crisis.