A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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31. THE COLLEGE OF DARLINGTON
It has been stated that when Bishop William removed the secular clergy from Durham, he established some of them at Darlington; (fn. 1) but the church received its collegiate form and constitution from Bishop Pudsey, or at least was entirely remodelled by him. (fn. 2) The college consisted of a dean, or as he was at first styled a vicar, and four prebendaries. In the Taxation of Pope Nicholas (1291), the revenues are rated at £73 6s. 8d. (fn. 3)
In 1312 Bishop Kellaw made an inquiry into the defects of the prebendal houses, and gave orders for their repair. (fn. 4)
Bishop Neville materially altered the constitution of the college. In his time the prebendaries, though richly endowed, neither resided themselves nor provided deputies, (fn. 5) so that the whole charge of the parish fell on the vicar, Master Richard Wytton. He was no longer able to sustain the burden, his revenues being greatly diminished, as well by the pestilence (the Black Death) which was rife among the people as by other misfortunes and accidents, in consequence of which the name of vicar was no longer so much honoured among the people. The bishop accordingly (8 November, 1439) ordained that the vicar should thenceforth be called dean; and for the support of that dignity he erected one additional prebend to be held with the deanery, to consist of the oblations, mortuaries, altarage, and offerings which the vicar then held, together with his ancient manse. He also made an arrangement by which the dean was to receive the tithes of each of the other prebends in succession for three years. (fn. 6)
In addition the bishop ordained (1443) that every prebendary should provide one officiating clerk, or in default forfeit five marks to the dean. (fn. 7)
In 1535 (fn. 8) and 1548, (fn. 9) the revenues of the college were valued at £53 6s. 11d. It was dissolved in 1550, and the whole of the lands and tithes vested in the crown, except a small stipend reserved for an officiating minister. (fn. 10)
Vicars of Darlington (fn. 11)
Deans of Darlington
Ralph Lepton, coll. 9 November, 1497, p. m. R. Symeson (fn. 12)
Cuthbert Marshall, occ. 1548, (fn. 13) dean at the dissolution