Police inquiry teacher leaves £1m to Edinburgh school

James Rainy Brown had taught for 52 years at Edinburgh's Merchiston Castle School. Picture: TSPL
James Rainy Brown had taught for 52 years at Edinburgh's Merchiston Castle School. Picture: TSPL
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A TEACHER found dead as police investigated claims of “inappropriate conduct” towards pupils left £1 million to the private boys school where he worked.

James Rainy Brown, 75, who had taught for 52 years at Edinburgh’s Merchiston Castle School, hanged himself at his home after being told of the inquiry into his alleged actions.

It has now emerged that Mr Rainy Brown amassed a fortune of almost £1.5m, the bulk of which he bequeathed to the fee-paying school where he both studied and taught. His wealth was mainly made up of stocks and shares worth almost £1m and his £330,000 home.

The veteran teacher, affectionately known by colleagues as JRB, asked for the legacy to be split into three parts.

He hoped to improve the school’s junior boarding house, help pupils in financial difficulty and contribute to the general running of the school.

A spokesman from Merchiston Castle School said it would be up to the school’s board of governors and finance committee to determine if the money would be accepted.

After Mr Rainy Brown’s suicide, head teacher Andrew Hunter described his death as “a tremendous blow to the entire Merchiston Castle community”.

He added: “Boys, parents, staff, Merchistonians and former parents have expressed their shock and deep sorrow that this seemingly ever-present figure will no longer be seen on our sports fields or in our classrooms. He was an outstanding teacher and academic, sports coach, outdoors enthusiast, housemaster and tutor, and leaves an indelible mark across so many aspects of the history of this place.”

It is understood the claims of “inappropriate conduct” involved lewd and inappropriate comments to pupils rather than any physical abuse.

Mr Rainy Brown took his life after police officers went to the school to speak to Mr Hunter about the allegations, which involved comments of a lewd nature made to pupils. It was repored that he hanged himself at his home in the Colinton area of Edinburgh only an hour after learning about the allegations.

One of five brothers educated at Merchiston Castle School in the 1950s, he gained a physics degree at Edinburgh University. He returned to the school to teach science in 1960.

At the time of his death, a spokesman for Mr Rainy Brown’s family said: “We are 100 per cent confident that, when the police have finished their work, his name will be cleared – but that won’t bring him back and we miss him terribly.”

It is understood the school committee which can oversee the donation meets next month.

The teacher also left bequests to charities including Christian Aid, Scripture Union Scotland and Age Concern Scotland.