Durnford took a position as tutor to Edward Vernon Harbord, for which he was recommended by Stephen Lushington. With a presentation from Edward Harbord, 3rd Baron Suffield, he was then from 1835 Rector of Middleton, Lancashire. He became its Rural Dean.
In 1840 he married Emma, the daughter of his old Eton headmaster, John Keate. In 1867 he became Archdeacon of Manchester and in the following year Canon Residentiary at Manchester Cathedral. In 1870 he was elevated to the Episcopate of Chichester.
He died in Basel.
Durnford House at Brighton College was named after him. The Durnford House at Eton is named after his brother, Francis Edward Durnford, who taught there from 1839-1877.
- "Consecration Of Three Bishops In Whitehall Chapel". The Times. May 9, 1870. p. 8; col E. Issue 26745.
- "The Funeral Of The Late Bishop Of Chichester". The Times. Oct 21, 1895. p. 11; col B. Issue 34713.
- Sutton, Charles William (1901). Dictionary of National Biography (1st supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 170–171. .
- Stephens, W.R.W, ed. (1899). A memoir of Richard Durnford, sometime bishop of Chichester (with selections from his correspondence). London: John Murray. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- Bacon, Richard Mackenzie (1838). A Memoir of the Life of Edward, Third Baron Suffield. Bacon, Kinnebrook and Bacon. p. 229.
|Church of England titles|
| Archdeacon of Manchester
| Bishop of Chichester
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