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Stonyhurst College, Old Quadrangle, Aighton, Bailey and Chaigley

Description: Stonyhurst College, Old Quadrangle

Grade: I
Date Listed: 14 January 2015
Building ID: 1419714

OS Grid Reference: SD6902239026
OS Grid Coordinates: 369020, 439055
Latitude/Longitude: 53.8468, -2.4723

Locality: Aighton, Bailey and Chaigley
Local Authority: Ribble Valley Borough Council
County: Lancashire
Postcode: BB7 9PZ

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Listing Text


School buildings,1592 and later, by C.A.Buckler and others.

Reason for Listing

The Front Quadrangle and West Front buildings at Stonyhurst College are listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons:* Architectural Interest: the buildings contain elements of late C16 Elizabethan Renaissance design, notably the Gatehouse and first-floor hall and apartments around the Front Quadrangle augmented by highly sympathetic C19 revival additions; * Historical Interest: the C16 and C17 country house is associated with a prominent recusant Catholic family, the Shireburns, then being transformed under the Jesuits to play a central role in the growth of the Roman Catholic Church in England throughout the C19 and C20, as the principal school and college for the Society of Jesus in England; * Group Value: the main buildings form part of a strong group with other elements of the complex at Stonyhurst.


The buildings at Stonyhurst College grew out of a courtyard plan house commenced by Sir Richard Shireburn in 1592, on or close to the site of a medieval house. Work continued under his successors, including Sir Nicholas Shireburn who added classical features and a formal landscape setting after 1690. The Shireburns and their descendants were a notable recusant Lancashire Catholic family. Mary, the daughter of Sir Nicholas married the 8th Duke of Norfolk, inheriting the estate in 1732, but the house was largely unoccupied during the rest of the C18. In 1794 the Society of Jesus fled from a temporary school in Liège, and came to Stonyhurst at the invitation of Thomas Weld, the Shireburns’ descendant. In 1809, Weld gifted the buildings and estate at Stonyhurst to the Jesuits. In 1803, the Society of Jesus was re-established in England at Stonyhurst under the Provincial Marmaduke Stone, although the Society was not formally recognised by the English Bishops until 1829. In this location, the school continued the lineage of Catholic boys’ education and the training of Jesuit priests for the English Mission established at Saint-Omer (St Omers), France by Father Robert Persons in 1593, following Elizabeth I's Protestant Religious Settlement of 1559. In affiliation to the University of London, from 1840 to 1916, Stonyhurst provided degree-level education for men (known as the Philosophers) at a time when Catholics were excluded from Oxford and Cambridge. As the centre for the Society of Jesus in England a seminary was maintained at St Mary’s Hall (NHLE 1362219) from 1828 to 1926. Stonyhurst has been co-educational since 1988, continuing to expand on the site and to adapt existing buildings. This long history of Catholic education is reflected in an important collection of Catholic and Jesuit artefacts, devotional relics and works of art, many in-situ within the college buildings since the C19. The Jesuits adapted the Shireburn domestic buildings and added new school ranges including Shirk, as well as striving towards self-sufficiency with its own gas plant for lighting and later a corn mill. As Catholic ambition and confidence grew after the Emancipation Act (1829), the Jesuits built (and still own) St Peter’s Church (1833-35), to serve local Catholics as well as the college. The college buildings expanded in the mid-C19 with the completion of the north side of the Front Quadrangle and the Sodality Chapel (1859). Further development in the mid-C19 included an infirmary, new kitchens, the Ambulacrum and extended chemistry laboratories. More ambitious rebuilding culminated in the new South Front and Boys Chapel designed by Dunn & Hansom, 1875-1888. Early C20 development included a gymnasium and physics laboratory and, in the 1960s, an accommodation block known as the New Wing.This building was previously Listed under an entry on the NHLE which covered the entire complex of school buildings at Stonyhurst (NHLE 1072336).


Roman Catholic boarding school, comprising dormitories, chapel, libraries, communal and circulation areas, collection display rooms, archive stores and offices.SOUTH RANGE of WEST FRONT AND GATEHOUSE 1592-5, for Sir Richard Shireburn, with embellishments to Gatehouse 1712 for Sir Nicholas Shireburn, NORTH RANGE OF WEST FRONT AND NORTH SIDE OF FRONT QUADRANGLE rebuilt in similar style, 1843-56 by Fr Richard Vaughan, including the ARUNDELL LIBRARY. THE SODALITY CHAPEL 1856-9 by C.A.Buckler. EAST HALL RANGE 1590s for Sir Richard Shireburn, completed 1690-1718 for Sir Nicholas Shireburn, extended to north 1856 by Vaughan. MATERIALS: sandstone, ashlar or coursed dressed stone, with deep moulded plinths, string courses, hoodmoulds, cornices and parapet copings; pitched roofs of graduated Lakeland or Welsh slate, mineral felt. Elizabethan, Jacobean, Baroque and Elizabethan revival style. PLAN: buildings enclose a rectangular quadrangle with the principal historic entrance in the GATEHOUSE on the WEST FRONT, facing south-west and axial to The Avenue; (in this description south-west is referred to as west). The HALL RANGE encloses the east side of the quadrangle, with the long gallery range to the south. Libraries at first floor level in the NORTH SIDE of the WEST FRONT and to NORTH SIDE OF FRONT QUADRANGLE.

EXTERIOR: central 4-stage GATEHOUSE tower with semi-circular arched gateway, Doric frieze and recessed roundels with classical heads to the ground floor (from lead garden statuary by van Nost); each floor framed by paired columns of Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite orders, articulated by moulded cornices and string courses. Stone-carved cartouche of Shireburn arms to first floor, 4-light moulded mullioned and transomed windows. Battlemented parapet and external stacks to returns. Iron gates, 1955, by Vincent Hall and Wilfred Mangan. Segmental-vaulted stone ribbed outer passage, with moulded steps and grotesque keystones to inner arch. Rear elevation is plainer, flanked by octagonal stair turrets with 2-light mullioned windows and narrow moulded doorways with C19 panelled doors, gilded clock face to north tower; Baroque domed cupolas added 1712.

WEST FRONT SOUTH RANGE, 3 storeys, 4 irregular bays, with projecting block to south. Moulded plinth, 2 or 3-light mullioned windows to ground and second floor, tall mullioned and transomed windows to first floor, all with hoodmoulds, string course to plain parapet. Block to right breaks forward as squat tower with 5-light pointed window with interlaced tracery to ground-floor former chapel, 2-light and 3-light mullioned windows to first and second floors above.

WEST FRONT NORTH RANGE mirrors south range, 3-storeys, 4 regular bays. North block breaks forward to left, with tall oriel with mullioned and transomed window to first floor, hipped roof. Two ashlar ridge stacks. Rear elevations have moulded plinth, mullioned windows to ground and second floors, tall mullioned and transomed windows to first floor, blocked door to left.

FRONT QUADRANGLE: SOUTH RANGE, 3-storey, 5-bay range with canted central bay with string courses, corner pilasters and moulded friezes. Pedimented doorway c1690-1700. Lead rainwater hoppers with shields of c.1694. Four blocked Tudor-arched doorways, and 3-light mullioned windows to ground floor, large mullioned and transomed windows to first floor, 4-light mullioned windows to second floor.

HALL RANGE encloses east side of quadrangle, 1590s for Sir Richard Shireburn, altered c1700, extended to north in similar style, 1856 by Father Richard Vaughan. 3-storey, half-octagonal bay to right, mullioned windows to ground and second floors, mullioned and transomed windows to first-floor hall. Raking mid-C19 buttress to centre conceals basement staircase, with above a moulded hoodmould, re-set on site of external staircase. Plain parapet, pitched Lakeland slate roof. Square bay projecting to left added c1856, flat roof. 3-storey canted bay window on the east side of the hall is visible in the Shireburn Quadrangle (qv).

FRONT QUADRANGLE: NORTH RANGE built in form and style to match the south quadrangle range, c1856 by Fr Vaughan, doorway to central canted bay. Double-pile plan with felted flat roofs. SODALITY CHAPEL, 1856-9 by C.A.Buckler projects to outer north-east angle of quadrangle on upper floor; canted apse has pointed windows with Perpendicular tracery, square-headed cusped mullioned and transomed windows to east and west elevations, plain parapet to Welsh slate roof. C20 infill on north side of north range not of special interest.

INTERIORS: In the south range, PIETA GALLERY has flagged floor, deep chamfered plastered beams and arcaded alcove by Edmund Kirby, 1889 containing a plaster Pieta by Achtermann, 1862. BAYLEY ROOM in former chapel to south-west corner has three late-C16 traceried windows, blocked to south and east, and decorative plasterwork of c1800. Adjoining offices have deep chamfered plastered beams and moulded corbels. First-floor LONG ROOM in south range, and STAFF ROOM in west range have late-C16 plasterwork with scrolled or foliage friezes, compartmentalised ceilings with strapwork decoration, partly restored, C19 bolection-moulded marble fireplace to Long Room, C19 panelled doors and late-C19 chimneypiece incorporating re-set C16 oak mullioned window to Staff Room. First-floor hall, known as the Top Refectory, has early-C17 geometric ribbed plaster ceiling with plaster frieze dated 1606, restored and north bay added 1850s, lateral C16 segmental-arched stone fireplace to east, arcaded oak screen and gallery balustrade to north incorporates re-used C16 joinery with Latin inscription and date MCCCCCXXII, diagonally-laid grey marble floor, 1840s, with stepped upper end, oak dado panelling 1910, stained glass by Willement, 1851 and P.Woodroffe 1920. GATEHOUSE has newel staircase with stone treads and newel, chamfered stone doorways, third floor rooms with fitted Neo-classical cupboards and joinery of c1800.

In the north-west range to Front Quadrangle the 1840s STUART PARLOUR has oak panelling and Renaissance-style oak chimneypiece. 8-panelled doors with brass fittings and plaster cornices to this and adjoining rooms. North Range has ENTRANCE HALL with black and white marble tiled floor, moulded plaster cornices and panelled doors, C17 style open-well timber staircase to north-east corner has closed string, turned balusters, ball finials, wide handrail, top light (blocked) with glazing bars and coved plaster ceiling. First-floor SQUARE AND BAY LIBRARIES in north-west range have 1840s fitted shelving and display cases, timber galleries with brass handrails, ornate radiator cover, Elizabethan style decorative plaster ceilings. First-floor ARUNDELL LIBRARY in North range, 1850s, has fitted bookcases and Elizabethan-style ceiling plaster. First-floor SODALITY CHAPEL designed by C.A.Buckler, 1856, remodelled by him 1899; pointed vaulted ceiling, carved stone gothic altar by Earp, feretory by Buckler, dado panelling and pews, stained glass to apse by Hardman and side windows by Paul Woodroffe, c1920.

Ancillary features: sandstone setts to the Front Quadrangle, laid c1850s, with geometric footways.

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