|The descent of Eyam Hall and its surrounding estate has passed through succeeding generations of the Wright family from the 17th century to the present day. The village of Eyam is famous for the actions of its vicar, William Mompesson, in quarantining the inhabitants during the devasting bubonic plague of 1665-1666. By this time the Wright family of Great Longstone were already landowners in the village. William Wright of Great Longstone (1603-1656) settled the Eyam portion of his estate on his second son, Thomas Wright of Unthank in the parish of Dronfield, who is said to have built the Hall. Thomas's son John Wright (1648-1693) sold the Unthank property in 1678 and moved permanently to Eyam. The Hall and Eyam estate passed to his son and grandson during the 18th century.
Meanwhile, the Great Longstone estate had passed through six generations of another branch of the family, until the childless deaths of Thomas Wright of Great Longstone (1755-1770) and his great-uncle Colonel William Wright (d 1771). In 1771 the entire Great Longstone and Eyam estate was reunited in the hands of John Wright (1700-1780).
The estate was inherited by John's eldest surviving son Captain Robert Wright (1731-1803) and then by Robert's son eldest John Thomas Wright (d 1838). However, this branch of the family was based in Devon, and in 1796 Eyam Hall was sold by John Thomas Wright to his uncle, James Farewell Wright (1738-1805). Further portions of the Eyam estate were sold by John Thomas Wright to his cousin Peter Wright (1781-1862) in the early 19th century, leaving the Wright family lands again split between an Eyam branch and the Great Longstone branch.
Peter Wright was resident at Eyam Hall, along with his unmarried sisters Dorothy and Mary, until his death in 1862, and administered the estate on behalf of his elder brother John William Wright (1771-1853). John William Wright and his son James Farewell Wright (1800-1879) both lived in Sheffield. James Farewell Wright was succeeded in ownership of the estate by his eldest surviving son the Revd Charles Sisum Wright (1840-1903).
Charles was also an absentee landlord, the Eyam estate being overseen by his cousin Harriet Elizabeth Wright (1845-1915), daughter of John Wright, a solicitor in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Harriet resided at the Hall with her sister Margaret Jane (d 1906). In 1903 the estate passed to Charles's son the Revd William Peter Wright (1864-1944), a clergyman in Yorkshire. William retired from the ministry in 1923, upon which he and his wife Charlotte and daughter Dorothy moved into Eyam Hall.
On William's death in 1944, the estate passed to his only son, Charles Sisum Wright (born 1894), who moved to the Hall with his wife Irene two years later. Charles died without issue in 1985, upon which Eyam Hall devolved to Robert Wright, a descendent of the Great Longstone branch of the family.
This collection is principally composed of title deeds, estate and legal papers, but also contains many personal papers collected by the Revd William Peter Wright, his two children, and their spouses.
|The collection was deposited in Derbyshire Record Office in April 2001.