Stonyhurst College is an internationally famous Roman Catholic boarding school, situated on the Stonyhurst Estate near Hurst Green in the Ribble Valley.
It was originally founded in 1593 in Saint-Omer in French to provide education for English Catholics at a time when they were suffering abuse and suppression at home. French oppression led to a move to Bruges in 1762 and to Liege in 1773. In 1794, when Liege was under threat from the advancing French Revolutionary Army, the school was again forced to move. Its new home was the Stonyhurst estate in Lancashire, donated by Thomas Weld of Lulworth, a former pupil of the school.
In the 19th century the school developed a great reputation for scientific studies. An observatory built in 1838 was managed and operated by the priests at the school and produced meteorological and astronomical data of such a high standard that it became one the Meteorological Office’s seven key stations when it was established in 1854.
Former pupils include seven recipients of the Victoria Cross, Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes), Eduardo Lopez de Romana (President of Peru), Sir Frederick Weld (Prime Minister of New Zealand), Mark Thomson (Director General of the BBC), Bruce Kent (Chairman of CND), and Joe Ansbro (Scottish rugby player). Tolkien regularly stayed in a guest house in the grounds while his son was studying to be a priest at the school. Large parts of the Lord of the Rings were written here.
Stonyhurst College is open to visitors during the summer holiday period. Guided tours include the dormitories, library, chapels, classrooms and historical apartments. For further information visit the official Stonyhurst College website.
The school is situated near the village of Hurst Green, around 4 miles by road from Clitheroe. Drivers with satellite navigation systems can use the postcode BB7 9PZ to find it. The nearest railway station is at Clitheroe. From here there are regular services to Manchester Victoria train station.
Map showing location of Stonyhurst College.
Address and postcode