Colleges: Darlington

Pages 125-126

A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.

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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)

Robert de Royston, occ. 1309

Richard de Hadington, occ. 1344

William de Welton, coll. 1354, p.m. Hadington

Robert de Hunmanby, occ. 1361

William Hoton, occ. 1398

William Hesel, occ. 1411

Stephen Austell, occ. 27 March, 1416

Richard Wytton, coll. 1428, p.r. Austell

Richard Bicheburn, occ. 1436

Richard Wytton, first dean

Deans of Darlington

Richard Wytton, nominated 1439

Roland Hardgyll, occ. 1451

Robert Symeson, occ. 14 August, 1466

Ralph Lepton, coll. 9 November, 1497, p. m. R. Symeson (fn. 12)

Cuthbert Marshall, occ. 1548, (fn. 13) dean at the dissolution


  • 1. Leland, Coll. i, 385.
  • 2. Angl. Sacr. i, 724.
  • 3. Surt. Hist. Dur. iii, 361.
  • 4. Reg. Palat. Dun. (Rolls Ser.), i, 101, 245.
  • 5. They were great pluralists. William of Kildesby, prebendary in 1343, held at one and the same time seven prebends, a church, a chapel, and a hospital. Pat. 17 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 31.
  • 6. Reg. Eccles. Dun. iii, fol. 244. This plan was found to be inconvenient, so in 1451 it was ordered that the dean was to keep the prebend of Darlington permanently. Ibid. iv, 77-8.
  • 7. Surt. Hist. Dur. iii, 362.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. Chant. Cert. Surt. Soc. Publ. vol. 22, App. vi, p. lxx.
  • 10. Surt. Hist. Dur. iii, 362.
  • 11. The following list is taken from Surt. Hist. Dur. iii, 362, except where otherwise stated.
  • 12. Dur. Epis. Reg. Fox, fol. 15 d.
  • 13. Chant. Cert. Surt. Soc. Publ. vol. 22, App. vi, p. lxx.