Worth a visit: September 2019

By Lucy Oliver

Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe is a centuries-old Catholic school renowned for its archive collections. After the Jesuits had created colleges in Saint-Omer and then Bruges for boys unable to be educated in the Catholic faith in England, they eventually established Stonyhurst in late 1794. The college saw much growth subsequently – a seminary was added and an observatory and meteorological station were erected in the gardens.

The school, now a Grade 1-listed building, retains its strong mission of education. It is home to carefully curated relics of Tudor martyrs, including priests who were captured and tried for treason for celebrating Mass during the Reformation. As well as offering powerful reminders of the persecution of Catholics in the 17th century, there are other items recalling the struggles of more recent times: a small piece of the blood-soaked alb of Saint Óscar Romero (pictured), who was shot dead while celebrating Mass in San Salvador in March 1980, is also carefully preserved there. Canonised by Pope Francis in 2018, Romero was an outspoken opponent of poverty and social injustice and today inspires the college’s students and visitors to find their own ways to create a more just, more peaceful world.