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Cemetery of St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, Durham

Description: Cemetery of St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw

Grade: II
Date Listed: 9 January 2014
Building ID: 1407274

OS Grid Reference: NZ2179043779
OS Grid Coordinates: 421815, 543768
Latitude/Longitude: 54.7883, -1.6623

Locality: Durham
County: Durham
Postcode: DH7 9RH

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Listing Text


Cemetery cloister and boundary wall, 1852, designed by Joseph Hansom with memorials and later extension.

Reason for Listing

The cemetery is listed at Grade II (incorporating the Memorial Cross and the Chadwick Tomb) for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the cloister and boundaries were laid out by Joseph Hansom, one of the leading architects of the Gothic Revival;
* Artistic interest: the cemetery contains a number of good quality gothic memorials which add to the stylistic unity of the cemetery. Of particular note are the Memorial Cross and the Chadwick Tomb;
* Historic Interest: the cemetery was laid out as part of the flourishing of St Cuthbert’s College, Ushaw as the Roman Catholic seminary for the north of England;
* Group Value: the cemetery has a strong visual and functional relationship with the nearby listed college buildings.


St Cuthbert's College was opened in 1808 to serve as the Catholic diocesan seminary for the Northern District. It continued a lineage of training for the English priesthood established at Douai, France by Cardinal William Allen following Elizabeth I's Protestant Religious Settlement of 1559; its students and professors having been driven out by the French Revolution. The early buildings by James Taylor of Islington were formed around a courtyard with its final, west range completed in 1819. However, the middle years of the century saw Catholic ambition and confidence burgeoning after the Emancipation Act (1829), the arrival of Oxford Movement converts, the Irish immigration and the Restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy (1850). Both lay boys and "church students" were taught, the faith according to the requirements for diocesan seminaries, laid down at the Council of Trent (1545-63). This was reflected in the college's remarkable expansion led by its 5th President, Monsignor Charles Newsham (1837-63). Newsham brought Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, Joseph and Charles Hansom and Edward Welby Pugin to build or rebuild chapels, the Exhibition Hall, the library, the Junior House, the museum, the infirmary, the laundry, the kitchens, the laboratory, the Bounds walls, the farm, the cemetery cloister and to carry out numerous alterations and additions to the existing buildings.

The cemetery had been first laid out at the opening of the college and received its first burials during a typhus outbreak in the winter of 1808-9. In 1852 the cloister was added to the cemetery and in 1865 Rev. Thomas Crowe of Formby provided funds for the extension of the cemetery and the memorial plaques in the cloister. The memorial cross designed by Canon Scruton was in c.1870. Bishop James Chadwick’s tomb was erected in 1884 to a design by the architect, Archibald Dunn based on that of Godfrey de Bouillon in the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Chadwick and Dunn had visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre together and Chadwick had said he thought that tomb was the kind he would like to have for his own tomb.

The reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-5) to the formation of Catholic priests placed an increased emphasis on contact with communities and starting training later. As a result Ushaw experienced a sharp drop in numbers but developed strong links with the University of Durham, providing degree courses accredited by the University. The Junior College closed in 1973 and the college itself closed in 2011 although proposals are being developed for new uses related to Catholic education.

The Chadwick Tomb and the Memorial Cross were previously listed separately.


Cemetery with, memorials, cloister and boundary wall, 1852, designed by Joseph Hansom with later extension.

MATERIALS: Gothic coursed squared sandstone with sandstone copings to the boundary wall (cast iron railings to the west) and the cloister formed by a timber colonnade beneath a slate roof. Individual monuments are largely sandstone but with some polished granite and marble and some wrought and cast iron.

PLAN: the cemetery is rectangular in plan with a convex west boundary. Opposed gateways are roughly midway along the north and south sides. The L-plan cloister occupies the east end and part of the north side with its entrance on the central east-west axis which runs through the cemetery. Gothic style.

CLOISTER: the cloister is 9 bays long along its east elevation and 8 bays along the north. The bays are formed by simple braced timber uprights rising off a plain wall matching the boundary to the south. The gabletted entrance occupies the central bay of the east elevation. Inside the cloister the walls are lined with marble and brass memorial plaques with further brass plaques on the inside of the wall of beneath the colonnade. At the south end of the cloister stands a Crucifixion with a marble statue of the Sacred Heart by A. B. Wall at the west end. Brick floor incorporating memorial slabs.

CEMETERY: both entrances to the cemetery are fitted with low Gothic timber gates, with that to the South surmounted by a timber lychgate. The cemetery contains a number of substantial C19 Gothic grave markers, many with tomb covers. including the grave tomb of Henry Marsland designed by Edward Welby Pugin in 1861.

The cemetery contains a number of good quality tombs, almost entirely gothic in style. Among the monuments the Chadwick Tomb and the Memorial Cross are of particular note.

The MEMORIAL CROSS, c. 1870 was designed by Canon Scruton commemorating Rev. Thomas Crowe. It has a sandstone ashlar base, with a wrought iron cross. The chamfered plinth sits above 3 steps and supports a high square pedestal with chamfers and broach stops; bronze plaques in west and east faces have Latin inscriptions. The elaborate cross has flower decoration.

BISHOP CHADWICK'S TOMB, 1884 by Archibald Dunn of Dunn and Hansom is a table tomb consisting of an ashlar grave slab (with raised decoration of a Bishop's crosier, chalice and Host) with a cross-coped canopy with fishscale decoration supported on 4 pink granite shafts. It is a free copy, with some reconstruction, of damaged parts of Godfrey de Bouillon's tomb at Jerusalem.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.