Graphical version

Westminster Diocesan Archives

St Edmund's College


Reference code(s): GB 0122 SEC

Held at: Westminster Diocesan Archives

Title: St Edmund's College

Date(s): [1527-1968]

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 617 items

Name of creator(s): St Edmund's College


Administrative/Biographical history:

St Edmund's College was originally founded in Douai, in 1568, by Cardinal William Allen. Originally intended as a seminary to prepare priests to work in England, it soon also became a boys' school for Catholics, debarred from having such institutions in their own country. During the French Revolution, the College transferred to England to the 'Old Hall Academy' in Hertfordshire, 1793. The Academy was then renamed St Edmund's College. The era of Vicars Apostolic ended in 1850 with the restoration of the Hierarchy. In 1869 the Archbishop of Westminster, Henry Edward Manning, set up a seminary in Hammersmith, and so for the first time St Edmund's ceased to be a theological college. In 1874, during the Presidency of Monsignor James Patterson, the junior boys were separated from the rest of the College into Saint Hugh's Preparatory School, in a house originally built by Pugin for the Oxford convert WG Ward. In 1893, his son, Bernard Ward, was appointed President of the College and he started a scheme of rebuilding and improvements.

The College continued as a boys' school and seminary until 1975, around the same time as girls from the adjacent Poles Convent were first admitted into the Sixth Form. The College became fully co-educational in 1986.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of St Edmund's College, [1527-1968], covering the period as a seminary in Douai, its transfer to England in 1793 and its development at Old Hall Green as a school and a seminary first for the London District and finally for the Archdiocese of Westminster.

Papers include: transcripts relating to the life of St Edmund; papers relating to the history of the College; College funds, account books and ledgers; papers of the College presidents and staff; printed pastoral letters of Popes and Bishops; papers relating to the Martyrs and Confessors; theological papers; clergy, mission and poor funds and accounts; church music; seminary papers; sermons and papers relating to education.


Language/scripts of material: English, French and Latin.

System of arrangement:

Arranged into 2 sections: Section 1 consists of the volumes bound in 1901 and a number of ledgers and documents that 'could be conveniently shelved with them' and Section 2 comprises papers not sorted and listed by 1901. Section 1 comprises 12 series and Section 2, 9 series.

Conditions governing access:

Open for consultation by appointment only between 12:00-5:00, Mondays and Wednesdays. Call: 0207 938 3580 or email: for appointments.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only on the undertaking of a copyright declaration. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to St Edmund's College.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue available, produced for the Royal Commission of Historical Manuscripts, 1972. The catalogue includes a person index.



Archival history:

The work of sorting the College archives was begun in 1890 and the papers were bound into volumes in 1901.

Immediate source of acquisition:

On loan to the Westminster Diocesan Archives from St Edmund's College.



Archivist's note: Compiled by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Sep 2008

Catholicism | Christianity | Ancient religions | Religions
Religious education | Social science education
Religious music | Musical styles
Sermons | Religious texts | Religious doctrines | Theology
Educational administration

Personal names
Rich | Edmund | 1175-1240 | Saint | Archbishop of Canterbury x Saint Edmund

Corporate names
Roman Catholic Church
St Edmund's College

Douai | France | Western Europe | Europe
Hertfordshire | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe