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Report - Ushaw College and Chapel, March 2012

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by Krypton, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Krypton

    Krypton 28DL Regular User
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    The suppression of the "Grands Anglais" at Douai the seminary which for 200 years had meant the Catholic Faith to England, was only one of the many far-reaching results that the French Revolution brought in its train. The immediate necessity under which the English Catholics found themselves of providing for the continuation of its work led to a project of establishing one college for the whole of England on English soil. Many difficulties supervened and finally the question arranged itself by the division of the refugee students from Douai into two bodies, one of which found shelter at Old Hall near Ware, while the remainder (mainly composed of students who were destined for the Northern Vicariate), after temporary sojourns at Tudhoe and Pontop, two villages in the vicinity of Durham, settled on 15 Oct., 1794, at Crook Hall, about eleven miles N.W. of that city. There they re-established Douai for the north of England, and it lived its life under the guidance of one of its former professors, Thomas Eyre, of John Lingard, the future historian, and of John Daniel, the actual president of Douai at its suppression, who seems to have been formally installed as president for a few days. Ten years' growth made Crook Hall inadequate for its purpose, and in 1804 Bishop William Gibson began the buildings at Ushaw to which four years later, the colony finally migrated, the first detachment on 19 July, the rest on 2 August, 1808. There they found three sides of a massive quadrangle, with a frontage of about 170 feet and a depth of 220, ready for their habitation. The fourth side of this quadrangle was not added till 1819, under the president who succeeded Eyre in 1811, Dr. John Gillow; but no further material addition was made to the buildings until the fourth president, Charles Newsham, succeeded in 1837. He realized that, if Ushaw was adequately to continue its career, no pains nor expense must be spared to enlarge its capacity and to bring its arrangements into line with more modern requirements. The pioneers of the Gothic revival were at hand to assist him in this, and from the plans of the two Pugins and the two Hansoms the second church with its attendant chapels, the library, infirmary, museum, exhibition hall, lavatories, kitchens, and farm buildings, and a separate establishment for the younger boys, all sprang up around the old Georgian quadrangle.

    In much more than a convention sense Monsignor Newsham may be called the founder of modern Ushaw; and the best evidence of how far-seeing were his plans and achievements lies in the fact that for twenty years after his death, in 1863, practically no addition was made to the fabric. In 1883 Monsignor Wrennal found it necessary to build a third church. Under Bishop Wilkinson, who assumed the presidency in 1890, which he held conjointly with the Bishopric of Hexham and Newcastle till his death in 1909, a fresh period of activity began. A covered swimming bath, a gymnasium, two new dormitories, and over forty new living rooms, the enlargement of the exhibition hall, the elaborate decoration of the church with the erection of a new high altar, are all the products of his nineteen years of presidency. Two presidents have held office since his death: Monsignor Joseph Corbishly, who survived him only a year, and Monsignor William Henry Brown, under whom new lecture rooms have been erected to accommodate the largely increased numbers of philosophy and divinity students. Altogether the present blocks of buildings, with their enclosed courts, cover a rectangle 880 feet long by 420 feet broad; the outbuildings, grounds, and campus cover over 100 acres, and the whole estate, with its home and outlying farms, includes between 1200 and 1300 acres.

    One of Ushaw's most impressive buildings is St. Cuthbert's chapel. It is said to have been very "handsomely done" since its architects were Hansom and Dunn. It replaced an earlier Pugin chapel on the same site and was first used in 1884.

    The college is half derelict and half maintained. The derelict side is the former Junior House, which closed in 1972. However, it appears that parts of this site were in use up until the late 90's, possibly as an NVQ Training Centre, from paperwork that was found lying around. Ushaw announced that in Summer 2011, the Seminary was to close and was to merge with St Mary's Seminary, near Oscott. Part of the site was operating as a conference center until very recently. I now believe Durham University (who own the site) are setting it up for study once again as part of their religious studies school.

    Personally, i found this a little dissapointing. The Chapel is superb, but after that, just empty corridors, empty rooms, dodgy floors and no real essence of its former use.

    I do fancy the 'live' bit, so watch this space :thumb

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    The Chapel

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    In one part of the college, all the doors and sections of corridors had all these weird gates on them. No idea why though...

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    Sorry for no externals, by the time we had left it was pitch black.
     

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