English College, Valladolid

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The front view of the College

The Royal English College, Valladolid, for the training of Catholic priests for the English and Welsh Mission, is under the patronage of St Alban, and was founded by Robert Persons in 1589 during the Protestant Reformation. [1]

Today, men of varying ages and backgrounds spend a Propaedeutic Year in Valladolid, to discern their vocation and begin formation for Catholic priesthood. They are exposed to spiritual and human formation, which roots their faith in Jesus Christ, and prepares them to go on to other seminaries either in the United Kingdom or Ireland—and some to Rome and other places.

Our Lady Vulnerata[edit]

The Vulnerata on a paso before a procession

The image of Our Lady venerated in the College Chapel is that of La Vulnerata, or The Wounded One. The story of the Vulnerata goes back centuries; but in 1596, as Spain was recovering from the defeat of the Armada and was gathering another fleet in the city of Cadiz, the Earl of Essex together with Sir Walter Raleigh led an English fleet into the harbour, defeating the Spanish fleet and taking possession of the city. Some of the English troops started a riot and dragged a statue of the Virgin Mother and Child from a church to the market square where they desecrated it. They cut off both arms, and all that remained of the child were parts of his tiny feet on his mother’s knee.

The mutilated statue was taken to Madrid, and given a place of honour in a private chapel of a Countess. The priests and seminarians of the English College in Valladolid asked the Countess if they might make reparation for the behaviour of their fellow countrymen who had desecrated the statue. She agreed and the statue was brought to Valladolid and installed with great solemnity in the College Chapel in 1600.

Every year during Holy Week the statue is processed along the street, where it is met by a huge paso or float, which has a large depiction of the Crucified Christ resting on top of it. The two images meet, and dance to each other for a brief period—then the Vulnerata comes back to the College. [2]

College Martyrs[edit]

The following alumni of the College gave their lives as martyrs for the Catholic Faith during the Protestant Reformation in England and Wales:

Saint Ambrose Barlow OSB Saint Thomas Garnet SJ Saint John Lloyd Saint John Plessington Saint John Roberts OSB
Saint Henry Walpole SJ Blessed Ralph Ashley SJ Blessed Edward Bamber Blessed Mark Barkworth OSB Blessed Arthur Bell OSF
Blessed Thomas Benstead Blessed Thomas Bullaker OSF Blessed Roger Cadwallador Blessed Ralph Corby SJ Blessed Robert Drury
Blessed Roger Filcock SJ Blessed Thomas Holland SJ Blessed Thomas Palaser OSF Blessed Richard Reynolds Blessed William Richardson
Blessed Thomas Whitaker Venerable Edward Morgan SJ

English College, Seville[edit]

The College inherited the assets of the English College of St Gregory, Seville upon the closure of the latter: the Seville College had been founded by Robert Persons in 1592, was bankrupt by 1645, and was closed on the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain in 1767.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.valladolid.org
  2. ^ Williams, M., St Alban's College, Valladolid: Four Centuries of English Catholic Presence in Spain (London: C Hurst & Co, 1986)
  3. ^ Martin Murphy, St Gregory's College, Seville 1592-1767, Catholic Record Society, 1992

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°39′01″N 4°43′04″W / 41.65028°N 4.71778°W / 41.65028; -4.71778