The history of Richard Durning’s Endowed Primary School and Charity are intertwined. Richard Durning was born in 1616. He lived through a turbulent century which saw the civil war, restoration of the monarchy and the overthrow of the Stewart dynasty in the glorious revolution. His marriage to Margaret Wainwright is recorded in the parish records of Ormskirk Parish Church in 1655. By all accounts he was a yeoman farmer who is said to have lived in Brandreth House above the “Meanwood Common in Parbold” which still stands much altered today. As a Yeoman he held lands, houses and farm buildings as a free man.
Richard Durning made his will on 30th September 1691. The original is kept at Lancashire Records Office and a contemporary, handwritten, copy exists in Charity Records in the same location. His burial is recorded, in accordance with his wishes, in the chancel of Croston Parish Church on 9th October 1692. Reading between the lines it would appear that he died childless, his wife “long agone” having predeceased him. This would explain the philanthropic nature of his will. The will inventory puts the total value of his estate at £826 1s 3d. Surprisingly this included the value of rents from property but not the capital value of the buildings and land which would have to be declared today. Some interesting items in the inventory are “one old horse valued at 15s, a ladder 5s, woollen table cloth 7s, a pair of curtains valued at 7s as well as £5 owed by Hannah Conce.” He made various individual bequests including “chairs, stools, irons there belonging to my carts harrows and likewise my best suit of apparel to Richard Durning son of John Durning (brother) late of Bispham.”
His first trustees were:-
Thomas Ashurst of Ashurst Esquire
Nicholas Rigbye of Harrock, Yeoman
Thomas Wilson of Tunley, Gentleman
John Wilson of Parbold, Yeoman
James Scholefield of Parbold, Shoemaker
Thomas Whalley of Parbold, Husbandman
Hugh Ashton of Bispham, Yeoman
Henry Carter of Bispham, Yeoman
Peter Wrennall of Wrightington, Yeoman&
Jonathan Wrennall of Wrightington, Yeoman
Thomas Entwistle of Bispham, Husbandman
William Bannister of Longton, Schoolmaster
Richard Durning’s Will
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An enlightened choice of people, I think you will agree, including lowly positions such as husbandman and shoemaker up to yeomen and a gentleman. Note particularly William Bannister, the master of Hutton Grammar School.
The bulk of his estate which was in the form of land, buildings, moneys and bonds he left in the care of his trustees with specific instructions as to its application. See the next page for more details.