The Setting
The History

The History

Stonyhurst has a distinguished history. Founded in 1593 at St Omer in what is now northern France, it was established to provide a Catholic education for English families unable to educate their children in their Faith at home.


In 1762 the College moved to Bruges and in 1773 to Liege. In the aftermath of the French Revolution the Jesuits made what was to prove their final move in 1794 when they settled on the Stonyhurst estate given to them by a former St Omer pupil - Thomas Weld.

In subsequent centuries the Jesuits added to the College on a grand scale so that today it is one of the largest buildings under one roof in Europe and is Grade1* listed by English Heritage for its architecture and setting. Inevitably over a 400 year period there have been many fine achievements and distinguished former pupils. Three have been declared Saints and 7 designated Beati. The Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery in battle, has been gained by no fewer than 7 of the College's former pupils.


Today men and women educated at Stonyhurst are achieving distinction in all walks of life: the media, theatre, politics, the sciences, public services, the armed forces and the professions. The College's foundation on the continent of Europe is reflected in the distinctive and unique nomenclature used at Stonyhurst to this day. A few samples might suffice: the 5 academic years of the school are called Lower Grammar, Grammar, Syntax, Poetry and Rhetoric. The head pupil is called Head of the Line, the year groups are called Playrooms, with junior pupils being in Lower Line and the sixth form in Higher Line. The school prefects are called The Committee.

Stonyhurst College, Clitheroe, Lancashire, England BB7 9PZ
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