Thomas Campbell Eyton

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Thomas Campbell Eyton
Born(1809-09-10)10 September 1809
Eyton Hall, near Wellington, Shropshire, England
Died25 October 1880(1880-10-25) (aged 71)
EducationSt John's College, Cambridge
Known forHistory of the Rarer British Birds, Natural history museum at Eyton
SpouseElizabeth Frances Slaney
RelativesRobert Aglionby Slaney (father-in-law)
Scientific career
Author abbrev. (zoology)Eyton

Thomas Campbell Eyton JP, DL (10 September 1809 – 25 October 1880) was an English naturalist whose fields were cattle, fishes and birds. He was a friend and correspondent of Charles Darwin though he opposed his theories.[1]

Eyton was born at Eyton Hall, near Wellington, Shropshire. He studied at St John's College, Cambridge,[2] where he was a contemporary and friend of Charles Darwin.

After succeeding to the estate in 1855 Eyton built a large natural history museum at Eyton Hall that included a range of bird skins and skeletons, described as "one of the finest in Europe". Besides Darwin, Eyton enjoyed a correspondence with other naturalists including Louis Agassiz, Asa Gray and Alfred Russel Wallace.[2]

Eyton published History of the Rarer British Birds (1836), A Monograph on the Anatidae, Or Duck Tribe (1838), A History of Oyster and Oyster Fisheries (1858) and Osteologia Avium (1871–78). He established in about 1842 the Herd Book of Hereford Cattle, which he edited until 1860[2]

Eyton was married in 1835 to Elizabeth Frances Slaney, the eldest daughter and co-heiress of Robert Aglionby Slaney MP. She pre-deceased him by ten years.[3]

He was a justice of the peace (JP) and a deputy lieutenant of Shropshire.[3] He served in the South Salopian Yeomanry Cavalry, entering as cornet in 1830, and promoted lieutenant in 1838.[4] He also played county level cricket for Shropshire between 1844 and 1854.[5]


A collection of letters sent to Eyton are held at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham. This archive collection also contains the correspondence of his father-in-law, Robert Aglionby Slaney, and other family members.[6]


  1. ^ Darwin, Charles; Gillian Beer (1998). The Origin of Species. Oxford University Press. p. 400. ISBN 0-19-283438-X. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "Eyton, Thomas Campbell (ETN827TC)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ a b "Obituary: Thomas Campbell Eyton". The Times. London. 29 October 1880. pp. 6, col A.
  4. ^ Gladstone, E.W. (1953). The Shropshire Yeomanry 1795-1945, The Story of a Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. The Whitethorn Press. p. 38,42.
  5. ^ Percival, Tony (1999). Shropshire Cricketers 1844-1998. A.C.S. Publications, Nottingham. pp. 13, 44. ISBN 1-902171-17-9. Published under Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians.
  6. ^ "UoB Calmview5: Search results". Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  • Mullens and Swann – A Bibliography of British Ornithology