Ushaw College

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Ushaw College
St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw
St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, Durham
Ushaw College is located in County Durham
Ushaw College
Ushaw College
Location of St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw
Coordinates: 54°47′17″N 1°39′40″W / 54.78818°N 1.66116°W / 54.78818; -1.66116
Location Ushaw Moor, Durham
Country UK
Denomination Roman Catholic
Former name(s) English College, Douai
Founded September 29, 1568 (1568-09-29)
Founder(s) Bishop William Gibson
Dedication St. Cuthbert
Consecrated September 1808
Status Theological College
Functional status Closed
Heritage designation Grade II*[1]
Designated 17 January 1967

James Taylor

Dunn and Hansom
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 23 April 1804
Completed 2 August 1808
Closed 2011
Parish St. Joseph's, Ushaw Moor
Deanery St. Cuthbert
Episcopal area Sunderland and East Durham
Diocese Hexham and Newcastle
Province Liverpool
College Arms

Ushaw College, a former Catholic seminary and Licensed Hall of Residence of the University of Durham, covers 400 acres in the village of Ushaw Moor in the UK. It was founded in 1808 by scholars from English College, Douai, who had fled France after that college had been closed during the French Revolution. Ushaw College had been affiliated with the University of Durham since 1968. Until 2011, Ushaw was the principal Roman Catholic seminary in the north of England for the training of Catholic priests; finally closing in 2011 due to the shortage of vocations. The buildings and grounds are now occupied and maintained by the Ushaw charitable trust, and Durham University Business School is using the buildings from April 2012 for two years, whilst its own site is redeveloped.



The English College, Douai was founded in 1568 but was forced to leave France in 1795 following the French Revolution. Part of the college settled temporarily at Crook Hall northwest of Durham. In 1804 Bishop William Gibson began to build at Ushaw Moor, four miles west of Durham. These buildings, designed by James Taylor, were opened as St Cuthbert's College in 1808. There was a steady expansion during the nineteenth century with new buildings put up to cater for the expanding number of clerical and secular students. In 1847, the newly built chapel, designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was opened.[2] This was followed by the Big Library and Exhibition Hall designed by Joseph Hansom, 1849-1851.[3] The Junior House, designed by the distinguished architect, Peter Paul Pugin, was added in 1859. St Cuthbert’s Chapel, designed by Dunn and Hansom, was opened in 1884, replacing an earlier one by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, which the seminary had then outgrown. The Refectory was designed and built by E. W. Pugin. The final development came in the early 1960s with the opening of a new East wing, providing additional classrooms and single bedrooms for 75 students. The main college buildings are grade II listed, however the College Chapel is grade II* and the Chapel of St Michael is grade I.

University of Durham[edit]

The College became a Licensed Hall of Residence of the University of Durham in 1968. It was independent of the University but offered courses validated by the University, and both Church and lay students studied at the college. The Junior House closed in 1972, its younger students being transferred to St Joseph's College, Upholland in Lancashire.

21st Century[edit]

In 2002 the College rejected a report from the Roman Catholic hierarchy that it should merge with St Mary's College, Oscott, near Birmingham.[4] However, in October 2010 it was announced that the college would close in 2011 due to the shortage of vocations in the Roman Catholic Church, and that the site might be sold.[5] Following a detailed feasibility study by the college's Trustees and Durham University (and with the full support of Durham County Council and of English Heritage)[6] during 2011;[7] it was announced in January 2012 that Durham Business School would temporarily relocate to the College during rebuilding of the School’s buildings in Durham. This is seen as the first step in a long-term education-based vision for the site.[8] The University have also agreed to catalogue and archive the Ushaw library and inventory the other collections to ensure their preservation and specialist conservation,[9] with a view to creating a proposed Ushaw Centre for Catholic Scholarship and Heritage.[6]


The College armorial bearings are "Per pale dexter Argent a Cross Gules on a Canton Azure a Cross of St Cuthbert proper sinister impaling Allen Argent three Rabbits couchant in pale Sable."

Various emblems on shield represent the college's history and foundation, for example:-

  • Three coneys are from the family coat of arms of William Allen, the founder of English College, Douai. See Three hares.
  • The small cross of St Cuthbert represents the College's patron saint (it is modelled on St Cuthbert's own pectoral cross, which is kept in the Treasury at Durham Cathedral).
  • The large cross of St George honours the English Roman Catholic Martyrs.



Early drawing of Ushaw designed (1804-1808) by James Taylor
The Death of St. Bede, the monastic clergy are wearing surplices over their cowls (original painting at St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw).


Former Presidents[edit]


  1. ^ British Listed Buildings
  2. ^ Gillow, Henry Chapels at Ushaw, with Historical Introduction (George Neasham, 1885) p. 55
  3. ^ Harris, Penelope, "The Architectural Achievement of Joseph Aloysius Hansom (1803-1882)," The Edwin Mellen Press, 2010, p.157, ISBN 0-7734-3851-3
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ VOX, ed. (2007-07-14). "Charles Bruzon: From Priesthood To Parliament". Retrieved 2012-10-11. 

External links[edit]