Richard Durant  [Obituary]

Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1878 , Vol. X, p. 51.


Rev. W. Harpley

Prepared by Michael Steer

Richard Durant of Sharpham, near Totnes, was the High Sheriff of Devon in 1851. In 1869 he very generously gave Salcombe its first Lifeboat, "The Rescue" which served from 1869 - 1887. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Richard Durant was born at Exeter, January 11th, 1791. The tomb of his parents may be seen in Bartholomew Yard, in that city. He was educated in the school at Tucker's Hill, then conducted by Philip Goye, a poet, whom he afterwards pensioned. As head of the firm of Durant and Co., silk merchants, having amassed an enormous fortune, he purchased the lovely Sharpham estate, upon the banks of the Dart, near Totnes, about the year 1840, at the cost of £110,000, where he settled down, but retained until a recent period his connection with the firm.

Mr. Durant was an active county magistrate, and a deputy-lieutenant for the county of Devon. He had also for several years occupied a seat in the Town Council of Totnes, having on more than one occasion been nominated by both political parties. He served the office of High Sheriff of the county in 1851. He was a liberal subscriber to the volunteer force, and at all the schools at Totnes he paid for the boys being drilled by the volunteer drill-sergeant He was not prominent in political matters; but he helped forward many social reforms in the district.

Mr. Durant became a member of the Association in 1866, and for some years manifested a lively interest in its proceedings, offering hospitality on the occasion of its meeting at Dartmouth. He died July 17th, 1878, at the advanced age of nearly eighty-eight, at Sharpham, and his remains were interred in the family vault in the churchyard at Ashprington.