A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
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MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
In 1066 Wighe and Ouiet held EYTON as two manors. In 1086 Eyton was one of the numerous manors held of Roger, earl of Shrewsbury, by William Pantulf. (fn. 1) By 1242 it was described as a member of the barony of Wem, which Pantulf's heirs had held in chief since the early 12th century. (fn. 2) The overlordship of Eyton remained with the barons of Wem, the feudal tie being recorded in 1582; (fn. 3) Eyton manor still owed suit to the leet court of Hinstock in 1851. (fn. 4)
Warin, the undertenant of Eyton in 1086, was possibly a cadet of the Pantulf family and probably the ancestor of the Eyton family that held the manor until 1954. (fn. 5) The earliest known members of the family were Robert of Eyton, who granted land at Buttery (in Edgmond) to Shrewsbury abbey during Henry II's reign, (fn. 6) and Peter of Eyton, who witnessed charters to Wombridge priory between 1180 and 1194. (fn. 7) Peter's son, Peter of Eyton (II), who was referred to between c. 1220 and 1238, is known to have held land in Eyton. (fn. 8)
Peter (II) was dead by 1242 when William of Eyton, presumed to be his son, held 1 knight's fee in Eyton. (fn. 9) By 1255 William had been succeeded by his son Peter (III), a minor in ward to Peter Peverel. (fn. 10) Peter of Eyton (III) was of age in 1272 (fn. 11) and lived until at least 1301 when he was returned as a knight of the shire. (fn. 12) He was succeeded by his son Peter (IV), who was in possession of the manor in 1311 and lived until at least 1324. (fn. 13)
John Eyton, whose relationship to Peter (IV) is not known, had probably succeeded to the manor by 1327 (fn. 14) and held it until 1346 or later. (fn. 15) He appears to have been followed by Peter Eyton (V), who is generally accepted to have been his son and occurred between 1354 and 1384. (fn. 16) He held the manor by 1366. (fn. 17) Peter (V) is thought to have been succeeded by John Eyton, presumably his son, who was sheriff in 1394 (fn. 18) and appears to have died without issue. (fn. 19) The descent of the manor during the 15th century is not clear. Thomas Eyton, a tax collector in Shropshire in 1414 and 1415, (fn. 20) was lord between 1420 and 1431 (fn. 21) but his relationship to his 14th-century predecessors and to the 16th-century lords of Eyton is uncertain. (fn. 22)
Lewis Eyton, referred to from 1491, (fn. 23) was in possession of the manor by 1506. (fn. 24) He was dead by 1514 (fn. 25) and was succeeded by his son Henry, who was lord in 1529 and died in 1537. (fn. 26) The manor passed to Henry's grandson and heir Thomas Eyton, who held it until his death in 1582, when his son Robert obtained livery. (fn. 27) Robert died in 1604 having devised his estates to his son Richard Eyton for life. (fn. 28) On Richard's death without issue the manor passed to his uncle William Eyton (d. 1612); (fn. 29) William was succeeded by his nephew Philip Eyton (kt. 1619), who obtained general livery in 1614. (fn. 30) On Sir Philip's death in 1636 Eyton passed to his son Thomas (kt. 1642), a royalist whose estates were sequestrated in 1647; he compounded in 1650 and died in 1659. (fn. 31) The estate then passed to his son Philip (d. 1672), who conveyed Eyton Hall and demesne to his mother Margaret (d. 1679) for her life. (fn. 32) Eyton passed successively to Philip's sons Philip (d. 1689) and Soudley (d. 1701). (fn. 33) On Soudley's death without issue the estate passed to his uncle, the Revd. John Eyton of Wellington (d. 1709), (fn. 34) who was succeeded by his son Soudley, a minor. (fn. 35)
On Soudley Eyton's death without issue in 1719 (fn. 36) the manor passed to his brother Thomas and thereafter until 1904 Eyton passed from father to son, (fn. 37) the following being lords: Thomas (d. 1776); Thomas (d. 1816), banker and receiver-general of the county; (fn. 38) Thomas (d. 1855); Thomas Campbell (d. 1880), a distinguished naturalist; (fn. 39) Thomas Slaney (d. 1899); and Ralph Aglionby Slaney (d. 1904). On R. A. S. Eyton's death the estates at Eyton and Bratton passed to his mother Isabel Sarah Dashwood Eyton (née Ruxton), who married her first husband's cousin, Archibald Cumberland Eyton, in 1907. Mrs. Eyton remained lady of the manor until her death in 1941 and Eyton then passed to her widower, who died without issue in 1954. He was succeeded by his kinsman, Charles Llewellyn Grant MorrisEyton, great-grandson of Isabel by her first marriage. (fn. 40)
The estate remained intact until 1963 when Eyton Hall and Eyton farm were sold to R. G. Murphy of Shifnal, chairman of the Wrekin Brewery Co. (fn. 41) Eyton House farm and other property in the parish were purchased from the trustees of the Eyton estate by T. H. Udale & Sons, who later bought Eyton farm from Murphy's son, R. G. R. Murphy of Eyton Hall. (fn. 42)
No trace of the medieval manor house survives. It is thought to have stood at the north end of the village near the church, (fn. 43) its existence being recorded in the name of Eyton House Farm, the house described in 1776 as 'the capital messuage called Eyton Hall'. (fn. 44) Thomas Eyton (d. 1776) had moved his seat to Wellington by 1757 (fn. 45) and the old hall at Eyton had become ruinous by 1763. (fn. 46) The family remained in Wellington until 1816 when, after his father's suicide, Thomas Eyton (d. 1855) returned to live in Eyton. (fn. 47) By 1825 he had built the central five-bayed portion of the present Hall by enlarging an 18th-century farmhouse of three bays. (fn. 48) The north and south wings were added later in the century, (fn. 49) probably by T. C. Eyton (d. 1880), who also built a galleried museum wing on the west and imparked c. 70 a. south-east of Eyton Hall and stocked it with fallow deer. A half-mile drive, lined by a walnut avenue, led to the house through the park from the south. (fn. 50) After 1963 the avenue was felled and the house reduced in size.
The Eytons' interest in the manor of Horton, more especially in those parts (the Hoo and Horton's wood) that became the township of Hortonwood in Eyton parish, is substantiated by their grants of land and easements in the vicinity of Humber brook at Lubstree moor from c. 1200 to the later 16th century. (fn. 51) Peter of Eyton owned wood in Horton in 1271, (fn. 52) and in 1620 the family consolidated its landed property in Horton's wood. The Eytons are not, however, known to have owned land in Horton's wood after the 17th century. Hoo Hall in Preston parish and 24 tenements in Preston, Horton's wood, and the Hoo were sold in 1659 by Sir Thomas Eyton's widow, Margaret, and son, Philip, to Edmund Waring, (fn. 53) the Anabaptist sheriff of Shropshire. (fn. 54) On Waring's death in 1682 the property was divided equally between his daughters, Hannah, who that year married George Ashby of Quenby (Leics.), and Elizabeth, wife of William Colemore. Hannah's share was sold in 1719 to Richard Higgins of Wappenshall, from whom it was purchased by the trustees of Preston hospital in 1731. At the same date the trustees also acquired Elizabeth's moiety. (fn. 55) The hospital enlarged its holding in the township in 1750 by buying two tenements, former Eyton family property, from Humphrey Pitt of Shifnal. (fn. 56)
By 1772 the trustees owned the whole of Hortonwood township except c. 30 a. near Hortonwood Farm. (fn. 57) The hospital remained the principal landowner until the mid 20th century; c. 1937 and in 1942 extensive areas were bought by the War Department for the construction of the Central Ordnance Depot, Donnington, and a further 7 holdings totalling 301 a. in Hortonwood and Preston were sold by the trustees c. 1953. (fn. 58) Between 1973 and 1978 much land in the township was purchased by Telford development corporation for Hortonwood industrial estate. (fn. 59)