Errington, William (DNB00)

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ERRINGTON, WILLIAM (1716–1768), catholic divine, born 17 July 1716, was son of Mark Errington, gentleman, of Wiltshire, and his wife Martha (Baker). He was sent to the English college, Douay, in or about 1737, and after his ordination remained in the college for some time as a professor. He then came on the English mission and resided for many years in London with Bishop Challoner [q. v.] At the bishop's request he attempted about 1760 to establish a middle-class boys' school, first in Buckinghamshire and then in Wales, but no record of either of these academies has been preserved. In January 1762 he removed for another trial to Betley, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. Of this school no particulars are known except that he appointed the Rev. John Hurst as the master. Soon afterwards Errington secured a more suitable place for the establishment, and in March 1763 the scholars, twelve in number, were removed to Sedgley Park in the same county. This was the humble beginning of an academy which flourished on the same spot for more than a century, and which became the place of education for many of the catholic clergy, for thousands of catholics in the middle ranks, and for not a few in the higher grades of the laity. The house, usually called in the neighbourhood the Park Hall, was the residence of John, lord Ward, who removed from it soon after he was created Viscount Dudley and Ward in 1763. Lord Ward was assailed in parliament because he had let his house for a ‘popish school,’ but he ably vindicated his conduct. Errington appears to have been chiefly engaged in the general arrangements of the house, and soon after the appointment of the Rev. Hugh Kendall as first president of the school in May 1763, he returned to the mission in London, where he became archdeacon of the chapter and also its treasurer. After his death, which occurred in London on 28 Sept. 1768, his legal representatives being unwilling to take charge of the establishment at Sedgley Park, of which he was the founder and proprietor, solicited Bishop Hornyold, vicar-apostolic of the midland district, to undertake its management. That prelate complied with their request, and the school flourished greatly under his superintendence.

[Husenbeth's Hist. of Sedgley Park, pp. 9–17; Barnard's Life of Challoner, p. 139; Kirk's Biogr. Collections, manuscript quoted in Gillow's Bibl. Dict.]

T. C.