Public schools helped preserve or enhance the social status and wealth of the families who sent their offspring to them. Several sons of Preston families benefited from this path to privilege. Here those who attended Eton College are considered.
And information on Preston pupils at other schools can be found at the following links:
The published on-line registers of entrants to Eton College cover the period 1441-1909 and can be found at https://archives.etoncollege.com/authenticated/Browse.aspx?BrowseID=249&tableName=ta_registers:
Austen-Leigh, Richard Arthur, ed. The Eton College Register 1698-1752. Eton: Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co., 1927. .
———, ed. The Eton College Register 1753-1790. Eton: Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co., 1921. .
Stapylton, H. E. C., ed. The Eton School Lists from 1791 to 1850. 2nd ed. London: E. P. Williams, 1864.
Sterry, Wasey, ed. The Eton College Register 1441-1698. Eton: Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co., 1943.
The Eton Register Part I 1841-1850. Eton: Spottiswoode & Co., 1903.
The Eton Register Part II 1853-1859. Eton: Spottiswoode & Co., 1905.
The Eton Register Part III 1862-1868. Eton: Spottiswoode & Co., 1906.
The Eton Register Part IV 1871-1880. Eton: Spottiswoode & Co., 1907.
The Eton Register Part V 1883-1889. Eton: Spottiswoode & Co., 1908.
The Eton Register Part VI 1889-1899. Eton: Spottiswoode & Co., 1910.
The Eton Register Part VII 1899-1909. Eton: Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co., 1910.
There are 25 pupils in the registers between 1617 and 1908 whose fathers lived in the Preston area or whose later career brought them to the district. There will be more: the ones listed here were found by simply searching the on-line registers for occurrences of the word ‘Preston’. The first three such entries are doubtful because the registers give only a name and year of entry for two and with the addition of a place of birth for the third; the editor proposes possible candidates. Of the other 22, whose identities are better documented, members of long-established county families include four Rawstornes and three Stanleys, local gentry are represented by two members of the Pedder family, and the cotton lords by three sons of the Hollins family.
Social status of the families of the pupils is indicated by their home addresses and the houses they themselves settled in. These included Ashton Park, Croston Rectory, Hutton Hall, Penwortham Priory and Cuerden Hall. Henry Stanley, brother of the Earl of Derby, gives his address as Stanley Hall, Preston: an alternative name for Patten House in Church Street? That other indicator of social status, employment, is supplied only for four parents: three clergymen and a physician. Career details are provided for twelve of the pupils: army officer (2), cotton merchant (2), MP (2), farming (2), agricultural lecturer (1), banker (1), barrister (1), journalist (1). Nine pupils are listed as attending Oxford University, five went to Cambridge, another to Cirencester Agricultural College and one to Sandhurst.
Eton College Registers
Blundell 1679-1681. Edward; b. at Prescot co. Lancaster; K.S. 1679 aged 10. His name is not to be found in Prescot parish register; it is possible it is a mistake for Preston where there was a family of Blundell and that he was a son of Henry B. and Martha dau. of Alexander Johnson of Rushton Grange co. York. Eton Collegers. 
Johnson mi. 1617. K.S.; perhaps Alexander 3rd s. of William J. of Welch Whittle co. Lancaster gentleman pensioner to King James I and Eulalia dau. of — Wood of Wood co. Oxford and brother of Richard (1616-21); b. c. 1603; perhaps adm. at Gray’s Inn 26 Feb. 1617/18; J.P.; pensioner to King Charles I; of Preston co. Lancaster and Rushton Grange co. York; mar. Anne dau. of William Turner merchant of London and of Highway co. Wilts; d. after 1664. Bursars’ Accounts (Allen) 1616-17; Chetham Soc. Ixxxv. 164; Harl. Soc. xvii. 
Fazakerly 1698. Perhaps Nicholas, s. William F., of Preston, Lancs; matric. at Oxford, from Brasenose College, 12 Mar. 1701/2, aged 17; admitted student of Middle Temple 13 May 1700; M.P. for Preston 1732-67; recorder of Preston 1742-67; m. Ann Lutwyche; d. Feb. 1767 in Grosvenor Street, London. (Foster, Alumni Oxon.; Dict. Nat. Biog.) 
Heys 1780-84. John, e.s. John H., physician, and Ann H.; b. 4 Aug., bap. 20 Sep. 1765 at Preston, co. Lancaster; K.S. 1780; admitted pensioner at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, 24 Apr. 1785; migrated as pensioner to Trinity College, Cambridge, 23 Jan. 1786; scholar 1787; B.A. 1789; M.A. 1792; fellow 1790; Craven scholar 1787; chancellor’s medallist 1789; admitted student of Lincoln’s Inn 22 Jan. 1793. (E.G. Bap. Cert.; Pembroke Coll., Camb., Adm.; Trin. Coll., Camb., Adm.; Lincoln’s Inn Rec) 
Oliver 1753-58 (Hint). Thomas, s. Rev. Robert O.; b. 4 Jan. 1739/40 at Preston, co. Lancaster; K.S. 1753; admitted sizar at Christ’s College, Cambridge, 3 July 1758; scholar 14 Feb. 1759; resided till Dec. 1759. (E.G. Bap. Cert.; Christ’s Coll., Camb., Biog. Reg.) 
Stanley 1764-70. Edward Smith, entered 6 Sep. 1764 (M. Young), fee £3-3-0; e.s. James Smith S., styled Lord Strange of Preston, by Lucy, 2nd dau. Hugh Smith, of Weald Hall, co. Essex; b. 12 Sep. 1752; admitted fellow-commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1 Feb. 1771; re-admitted as nobleman 15 Dec. 1771; M.A. 1773; M.P. for Lancashire 1774-76; succeeded his grandfather as 12th Earl of Derby 22 Feb. 1776; m. (1) 23 June 1774 Elizabeth, only dau. James (Hamilton), 6th Duke of Hamilton and Brandon: she d. 14 Mar. 1797; (2) i May 1797 Elizabeth, dau. George Farren, apothecary, of Cork; he d. 21 Oct. 1834. (Burke, P. and B.; Trin. Coll., Camb., Adm) 
Stanley 1789-92. Edward Smith, s. Edward Smith S., 12th Earl of Derby (see previous entry); b. 21 Apr. 1775; admitted nobleman at Trinity College, Cambridge, 4 July 1792; matric. 1793; M.A. 1795; M.P. for Preston 1796-1812; for Lancashire 1812-32; created Baron Stanley of Bickerstaffe 22 Dec. 1832; succeeded as I3th Earl of Derby 21 Oct. 1834; K.G. 1839; president of the Linnaean and Zoological societies; m. 30 June 1798 Charlotte Margaret, 2nd dau. Rev. Geoffrey Hornby (q.v); d. 30 June 1851; portrait by Lawrence in the provost’s lodge at Eton. (Burke, P. and B.; Trin. Coll., Camb., Adm.; Cust, Eton Portraits.) 
Parker, Robert Townley. Of Cuerden Hall, Lancashire; M.P. for Preston, 1837-57; half bro. of Sir H. Bold-Hoghton. 
Pedder, William. Was a Banker at Preston, Lancashire.
Shuttleworth, Thomas Starkie. Of West Cliff, Preston, Lancashire. B. N. C. Oxford. 
Stanley, Henry Thomas. Of Stanley Hall, Preston; J.P. and D.L.; M.P. for Preston, 1832-7; was in the Guards; next bro. of Lord Derby. 
Pedder, Richard Newsham Pedder. Of Ashton Park, Preston; 2nd son of E. P. of Ashton Park: 1851-1853; served with the 7th Hussars in Indian Mutiny 1858 (Med. and Clasp), aft. exchanged to 10th Hussars, and Capt, 8th Hussars; m. Mary Elizabeth, d. of Sir William Henry Feilden, 2nd Bt., of Feniscowles, Blackburn; died 1863. 
Bates, Arthur More. 4th son of T. B. of Heddon-on-the-Wall, Wylam, Northumberland; 1878-1882; Med. of Cirencester Agricultural Coll.; Lecturer in Agriculture for Lancs County Council and Harris Institute, Preston; died unm. April 22, 1894. 
Lowry, Arthur Belmore. Son of Rev. C. H. L. of Stanwix House, Carlisle; 1881-1887; Newc. Select 1887; Coll. Wall 1886; Exhibnr. of Trin. Coll. Oxf.; M.A.; 2nd Cl. Mods. 1889, 2nd Cl. Lit. Hum. 1891; in the Civil Service; Private Secretary to President of Local Govt. Board (Rt. Hon. W. H. Long) 1900; General Inspector Local Govt. Board; m. Ellinor, d. of James Armit Miller, Fleet Surgeon, R.N. Broughton, nr. Preston, Lancs. 
Cave-Brown-Cave, Cecil Beckwith. Eld. son of Rev. F. A. C.-B.-C., Vicar of Longridge, Preston; 1885-1889; B.N.C. Oxf.; B.A.; m. Sarah Eleanor, d. of J. W. Nicholson of New Brunswick. Chesham Bois Place, Chesham, S.O., Bucks. 
Rawstorne, Lawrence. Eld. son of L. R. of Hutton Hall, Preston, Lancs; 1887-1890; Capt. 7th Hussars 1900-6; formerly A.D.C. to the Governor of Newfoundland; died unm. of enteric fever at Gibraltar on his way back from S. Africa, Dec. 4, 1905. 
Hollins, Arthur Meyrick. Eld. son of Sir F. H., 1st Bt., of Greyfriars, Preston, Lancs; 1890-1895; Eton XI. 1894-5; Opp. and Mixed Wall 1894; Hertford Coll. Oxf.; Oxf. XI. 1899; a Cotton Spinner and Manufacturer; m. Mary Prudence, d. of John Thwaites of Troy, Blackburn. Greyfriars, Preston, Lancs. 
Rawstorne, Thomas Geoffrey. 2nd son of L. R. of Penwortham Priory and Hutton Hall, Preston; 1893-1898; won Junior Mile Race 1895, School Mile 1898; Magd. Coll. Oxf.; B.A.; formerly farming in Australia; 2nd Lieut. Lancs Hussars Imp. Yeo. since 1908; m. Margery, d. of Sir William Wyndham Portal, 2nd Bt., of Laverstoke House, Micheldever, Hants, and Malshanger, Basingstoke. Hutton Hall, Preston, Lancs. 
Hollins, Philip Leslie. 3rd son of Sir F. H., 1st Bt., of Greyfriars, Preston, Lancs; 1893-1898; Field XI. 1897; Keeper of the Field 1897; Opp. anal Mixed Wall 1897; Trin. Hall, Camb.; Fruit Farming in Adelaide, Australia. Koonowla, Auburn, Adelaide, S. Australia. 
McMinnies, William Gordon. Son of W. P. McM., of Farington, Preston, Lancs; 1900-1905; Magd. Coll. Oxf.; B.A.; Journalist; served as Maj. R.A.F. in France in the War 1914-19 (Despatches twice, A.F.C.). Royal Automobile Club, 89 Pall Mall, S.W. 
Hollins, John Chard Humphrey. 4th son of Sir F. H., 1st Bt., of Greyfriars, nr. Preston, Lancs; 1903-1909; Eton XI. 1909; Opp. Wall 1908; Magd. Coll. Oxf.; Cotton Manufacturer; served as Capt. 4th T.F. Bn. N. Lancs. Regt. in the War 1914-19; m. Ruth A., d. of John Kiel Tullis, of Glasgow. Crooke Hall, Chorley, Lancs. 
McMinnies, Harry Gordon. Son of W. P. McM. of Farington, Preston, Lancs; 1905-1907. Farington, Preston, Lancs. 
1906Rawstorne, Richard Atherton. Eld. son of Rt. Rev. A. G. R., Bishop of Whalley, Blackburn, and Rector of Croston, Preston, Lancs; 1906-1912; Ch. Ch. Oxf.; B.A.; served as Capt. 6th Service Bn. East Yorks Regt. in Gallipoli in the War 1914-19. Croston Rectory, Preston, Lancs. 
Tatton, Thomas Arthur. Eld. son of R. A. T., C.E., of Wythenshawe, Northenden, Cheshire 1906-1911; Univ. Coll. Oxf.; B.A.; joined Rifle Bgde. 1914, Lieut. 1914, Capt. 1916-21; served att. Scottish Rifles in France in the War 1914-19 (M.C.); Agriculture; m. Muriel Charis Maye, d. of James Arthur Palethorpe. Cuerden Hall, Bamber Bridge, Preston, Lancs. 
Rawstorne, George Streynsham. 2nd son of Rt. Rev. A. G. R., Bishop of Whalley, Blackburn, and Rector of Croston, Preston, Lancs; 1908-1914; Eton XI. 1912-14, Capt. 1914; Opp. Wall 1918; Editor “Eton Coll. Chronicle” 1912-14; Secretary Musical Society 1912-14; President of Eton Society 1914; R.M. Coll. Sandhurst, King’s Med. 1914-15; joined Seaforth Highlrs. 1915, Lieut. 1916, Adjt. 1918, Capt. 1921; served in France in the War 1915-19 (Despatches twice, M.C.); A.D.C. to Governor of Bombay (Sir G. A. Lloyd, G.C.I.E., D.S.O.) 1921. Croston Rectory, Preston, Lancs.