Bishop Robert Eden, after whom Eden Court was named, was born on this day in 1804.
Robert Eden was the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and Primus (most senior Minister) of the Scottish Episcopal Church. He founded Inverness Cathedral in 1866 and in return for all his work for the church, his generous congregation donated the funds to build him an official residence.
Eden Court, a 12 bedroom house with its own private chapel, was completed in 1878. Bishop Eden had 10 children and would surely have appreciated the space but by the time he moved in, his family was grown up. He died in 1886 and Eden Court remained the official residence until 1947, when Bishop Piers Holt Wilson decided it was just too big and cold to be a home.
Following nearly 20 years as a residential training centre for nurses and 10 years lying empty, the house finally became part of the new arts centre for the Highlands, Eden Court, which opened in 1976. The Bishop’s Palace, as we now know it, was almost demolished to make way for the new theatre but thankfully it was kept, with the bedrooms repurposed as dressing rooms and the chapel as a green room for visiting performers.
In 2007 the generosity of Eden Court’s new ‘congregation’, our audiences, once again played a part, helping us to restore the house to some of its former glory. The Bishop’s Palace is open to the public with interpretive panels to explain the history so pop in the next time you visit and explore the original Eden Court.
Happy Birthday Bishop Eden!
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