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The Heritage of Rivington Shared

Several students from year 7 and year 8 are spending a week of their summer finding out more about the heritage of Rivington and Blackrod High School in preparation for the school celebrating its 450 year anniversary in 2016.

A heritage lottery funded summer school has given students the opportunity to explore the history of the school through the years. Young people have spent time listening to former students’ memories from oral histories that have been recorded and viewed old photographs and archives. They have undertaken several historical trips as part of the summer school including a visit to Bolton Museum and Preston Museum to find out more about keeping archives safe and to view archives relating to the school’s history.  A pivotal moment in the week was the visit to Durham Cathedral, where they met the current Bishop of Durham.  Rivington and Blackrod was founded by Bishop Pilkington, the Bishop of Durham in 1566 when it was originally known as the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth at its charter of foundation (which was granted to James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham on the 13th May 1566).  This visit has given the opportunity for the school to further develop their links with Durham.

The school was originally established in 1566 as a Grammar School intended to teach mainly classics to educate pupils for entry to colleges and then into priesthood. Therefore entry was restricted to boys, with girls being taught at home by parents. The school played host to many children from both landed gentry such as the Standishes, the Norrises and the Sherburnes, and educated the sons and heirs of knights alongside those of humble birth.

Students explored further the link to James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham, retracing the steps of the journey that he took from Durham to Rivington.  Their final day was spent looking at the schools link to the local church, ‘Rivington Church’, a church which was built in 1540 by Richard Pilkington and consecrated in 1541 by the Bishop of Chester.

Judith Marsden, Chair of Governors at Rivington and Blackrod High School commented, “Our School has held an important place in this community for centuries, and has a great deal of heritage.  It is a delight to see so many of our young people enjoying finding out about its history in anticipation of the 450 year celebrations in 2016.”

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