Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Eden, Charles Page

EDEN, CHARLES PAGE (1807–1885), clerical author and editor, born in or near Bristol in 1807, was third son of Thomas Eden, curate of St. George's, Bristol, who died when Charles was an infant, leaving a widow and young family in poverty. Charles was educated at a day school at Bristol, and at the Royal Institution School at Liverpool. Afterwards he was teacher for a time in a private school, conducted by his cousin, the Rev. J. Prince, and at Michaelmas 1825 went to Oxford as a Bible clerk at Oriel College. He was appointed to this office by the provost, Dr. Copleston [q. v.], and afterwards spoke of it as ‘a position calculated to guard him from idleness and expense.’ He proceeded B.A. with a first class in classics in 1829; in the two following years gained the prizes for the Ellerton theological essay and the chancellor's English essay; and in 1832, after two failures, was elected a fellow of his college, which was still one of the highest honours in the university. After his ordination (deacon 1833 and priest 1834), he held several university and college offices, and in 1843 succeeded Mr. (afterwards Cardinal) Newman as vicar of St. Mary's. In 1850 he was presented by his college to the vicarage of Aberford, near Leeds, where in 1852 he married Miss Landon, a daughter of his predecessor, and where he continued to discharge his duties as a parish priest with admirable zeal and activity till the close of his life in 1885. He was elected proctor three times in the convocation of the province of York (1869–74–80), and in 1870 was preferred by the archbishop to the prebendal stall of Riccall, whence he was popularly called Canon Eden. His name is favourably known in the theological and literary world for his editions (for the Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology) of Gunning on the ‘Paschal or Lent Fast,’ 1845, and of Andrewes's ‘Pattern of Catechistical Doctrine,’ 1846; and also especially in connection with the trade edition of Jeremy Taylor's Works, in 10 vols. 8vo. This Canon Eden began while he was residing at Oxford, and he finished vols. ii–viii. before he left the university in 1850; vols. ix. and x. were then published under the superintendence of the Rev. Alexander Taylor, who had previously assisted him; and Eden finished the work by the publication in 1854 of the first volume, containing Heber's ‘Life of Jeremy Taylor,’ indexes, &c. The text of this edition is the most critically correct; a great number of references unnoticed by Bishop Heber have been added and verified; it also includes two short pieces not found in Heber's edition, and omits three which have been pronounced to be spurious. In 1855 Eden published a volume of sixteen ‘Sermons preached at St. Mary's in Oxford,’ the first of which had been privately printed in 1840 under the title of ‘Early Prayer,’ and had excited much attention in the university from its tone of earnest and practical piety. He contributed to the ‘Tracts for the Times,’ No. 32, ‘On the standing ordinances of religion,’ but was never a prominent member of the (so-called) Tractarian party, though in his theological opinions he was more inclined to that school than to any other in the Anglican church. It is probable that certain peculiarities of manner, more than temper, prevented his being appreciated so much as his abilities, learning, and piety deserved. He died 14 Dec. 1885.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Obituary in Yorkshire Post, repr. in Guardian, 16 Dec. 1885; Oxford Univ. Herald, 26 Dec. 1885; the late Dean Burgon in Guardian, 27 Jan. 1886, to be reprinted with additions in Burgon's Lives of Twelve Good Men, as the earnest parish priest.]

W. A. G.