YOUNG historians visited Durham Cathedral to discover the origins of their school.

Pupils from year seven and eight are spending part of their summer break finding out about the heritage of Rivington and Blackrod High School in Horwich in preparation for the school’s 450th anniversary next year.

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.

Its "charter of foundation" was granted to James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham on May 13 1566.

The visit provided the opportunity for the school to further develop their links with Durham.

The school was originally established to teach mainly classics to educate pupils for entry to colleges and then into priesthood.

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.

The young people explored the link to James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham, retracing the steps of the journey that he took from Durham to Rivington.

They explored the school’s 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, said: “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.”

As part of the project young people at the school have spent time listening to former students’ memories from oral histories that have been recorded and viewed old photographs and archives.

Pupils 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.