Ushaw College trained men for the Roman Catholic priesthood for more than two centuries, from its establishment in 1808 until 2011. For much of that time it also functioned as a boarding school for boys as well as a seminary for men destined for the priesthood.
This unique system of educating future lay and clerical students alongside each other was at odds with both the spirit and the letter of the seminary legislation of the sixteenth-century Council of Trent, which aspired to create a separate clerical caste, free from worldly contacts, lay ambitions and lay habits of life.
Ushaw’s mixed system was inherited from the English Roman Catholic colleges established in Europe, and particularly at Douai College, of which Ushaw was the descendant in northern England.
635 St Aidan founds the monastery on Lindisfarne
664: Synod of Whitby; St Cuthbert (635-687) is sent to Lindisfarne
681: Foundation of St Paul’s Church, Jarrow
725: St Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People
1093: Foundation of Durham Cathedral
1529: English Reformation: Henry VIII declares himself Supreme Head of the English Church
1533: Pope Clement VII excommunicates Henry
1559: Elizabeth I Act of Supremacy, declares herself Supreme Governor Church of England
1568: William Allen founds The English College at Douai
By 1700: 160 Douai Priests martyred in England.
1778 Catholic Relief Act: removed penalty of life imprisonment
from Catholic bishops, priests and schoolmasters.
1791 Catholic Relief Act: the Catholic Mass became legal in registered chapels
1794 Douai staff and students occupy Crook Hall, near Consett
1808 Ushaw opens
1829 Catholic Emancipation Act: Catholics could sit as MPs and hold most public offices
1837 Charles Newsham develops Ushaw
1850 Restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy by Pope Pius IX
1859 Junior Seminary opens at Ushaw 1902
1978 Ushaw students attend Durham University
1988 Ecumenical links with partners in Anglican and Methodist Colleges
2008 Ushaw Bicentenary