Mount St Mary's College

Mount St Mary's College is an independent, co-educational, day and boarding school situated at Spinkhill, Derbyshire, near Sheffield, England. It was founded in 1842 as 'The College of the Immaculate Conception at Spinkhill' by Fr Randal Lythgoe, the Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus (better known as the Jesuits), and is still under the trusteeship of the Society. Although most teaching staff are lay members, the school still retains its Catholic ethos and values.[1]

Mount St Mary's College
Entrance to Mount St Mary's College
Former name
College of the Immaculate Conception (1842-)
MottoSine Macula (Latin)
Motto in English
Without Blemish
TypeIndependent day
with boarding Public School Co-educational
Established1842 (1842)
FounderRandal Lythgoe
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
ChairmanAdrian Porter
HeadmasterNicholas Cuddihy
Administrative staff
Approx. 180
College Road
, ,
S21 3YL
53.3043°N 1.3158°W / 53.3043; -1.3158
Campus70 acres
Preparatory schoolBarlborough Hall School
Former pupilsOld Mountaineers (OMs)
ColoursRed, Yellow, Green

Its affiliated preparatory school is Barlborough Hall School, just 2.2 miles down the road.[2]


The Jesuit mission to England began in 1580 with the secret arrival of Robert Persons, Edmund Campion, and Ralph Emerson. After Campion’s arrest the following year, Persons slipped back to the European mainland where he spent most of the rest of his life preparing others for the Jesuit mission to England. One of the first things he did was to set up a school for English boys who had no hope of receiving a Catholic education in their own country. Many of its students went on to become priests, returning to England to work and in some cases were killed when discovered by the authorities. In England, there were several clandestine schools, one of them was at Stanley Grange in Derbyshire. When this school was discovered and dispersed by the authorities, it did not cease to exist, but was moved to Spinkhill. Spinkhill had been a centre of Jesuit activity from the 1600s.

The Jesuit English Province was organised territorially into a number of "colleges", the North Midlands area being designated the college of the Immaculate Conception. In 1842 it was decided to found a school here in the hamlet of Spinkhill, a property of the Pole family, and that school was designated "The College of the Immaculate Conception at Spinkhill" after the nearby parish church. The founder of the college was Randall Lythgoe, Provincial of the Society of Jesus in England.

The college buildings date, in part, from the 16th and 17th centuries, the Sodality Chapel being the earliest remaining building. The Jesuits had a college at Holbeck Woodhouse, near Welbeck, which was raided by the soldiers of Charles II and the furnishings brought to Spinkhill. Joseph Hansom, an architect and inventor of the Hansom Cab, built the first college buildings in 1840. His son was also one of the first pupils at the college. In 1850 the Hopkins wing (girls) was constructed. The new college was begun in 1876 and completed in 1912. The school chapel, designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott, was completed in 1924 as a memorial to former pupils killed in World War I. In the atrium to the chapel can be seen more than 100 names of former pupils of the school killed in the Second Boer War, World War I, and World War II.

In 1939 Barlborough Hall, an Elizabethan manor some two miles from Spinkhill, was acquired to serve as a preparatory school to Mount St Mary's College. On 16 July 1939 the then headmaster, Ralph Baines successfully petitioned the College of Arms to give the college its own coat of arms. This is still used by the college today. During Baines' Headmastership from 1939 to 1945, he was also accepted into the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, thus establishing the college as a Public School.

The school was boys-only until the 1970s, when girls were admitted as day students for the first time in 1979. Girls were allowed to board in 1984.

In September 2006, the constitution of the college and its preparatory school, Barlborough Hall, changed to that of a charitable trust called "Mount St Mary's" whose board of trustees form the present governing body. The Society of Jesus formally transferred property of the two schools, their capital, business and other assets to this trust. While legally separate from the Jesuits, the college is true to the Jesuit traditions, ethos and approach to education.

Old Boy of the school, Carlos Reygadas, returned to the college to film a scene for his 2012 film Post Tenebras Lux. Boys from the school were used to film a rugby match, reminiscent of the director's days as a boy at the school. The film went on to earn the director the award of Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival.

School years

Each of the school years are named after different stages of elementary skills:

  • Upper Elements (Year 7)
  • Figures (Year 8)
  • Rudiments (Year 9)[3]
  • Grammar (Year 10)
  • Syntax (Year 11)[4]
  • Poetry (Lower Sixth—Year 12)
  • Rhetoric (Upper Sixth—Year 13)[5]

Each year is now individually monitored and supported by a "Head of Line".

The school is split into three houses, Loyola named after Ignatius of Loyola, Xavier named after Francis Xavier, and Campion named after Edmund Campion. Every pupil is assigned to one of these houses and remains in it for the duration of their time at the college. There is a rivalry between the houses which manifests itself between inter-house competitions and sports matches. There is a Head Boy and Girl, a Deputy Head Boy and Girl, and a group of 'Captains', all of whom are in Rhetoric.

For each year, there are three forms and each form applies to one of the schools houses.

Sports and recreation

The school takes part in sports, notably rugby, and some of its older students have joined the England Rugby teams along with Scotland, Ireland, Italy, and many other countries.[6] The school also receives rugby honours, winning the NatWest Schools Cup in 1994, after being runners up in 1992. The college also won the National Schools Sevens in 1988. The annual invitational Sevens competition held every year at the college sees the rugby schools from around the UK compete. There is an extremely strong sporting rivalry against fellow Catholic Public Schools, Stonyhurst College and Ampleforth College.

The school has had exchanges in the past with Notre Dame St Sigisbert in Nancy, France, and with Col·legi Casp and Joan 23 school which are in Barcelona. In 2009, the school began an exchange with St. Michel in Saint-Étienne, France.

Mount St Mary's Combined Cadet Forces (CCF) is 100-years-old. Pupils in Year 10 upwards can join either the Army or (from 1984 onwards) RAF section.[7] The school CCF had its own army regiment until 1986, when it was merged into the Sherwood Foresters regiment.

Music and drama departments combine for productions, as with Me and My Girl in November 2012.[8]

The college's art department includes design and technology, fashion, fine art, and photography.

Extra-curricular activities include: shooting, airfix club, choirs, sports groups, Duke of Edinburgh, Young Enterprise, debate, textiles, creative writing, fencing, Clay Model Animation Club, and many more.[9]

The school also holds fund-raising events for the Chikuni Mission in Zambia: the connection is known as "Mwabuka", a Tonga word for "Good morning" or "You have arisen".

School facilities

Along with a Grade 1 Olympic Athletics track, there are nine rugby pitches, three cricket squares, an astro-turf, two sports halls, and a leisure centre with indoor swimming pool, cardio room, and two weights rooms. The latter is open to the public for use at specific times and is run by Nuffield Health.

There is a dedicated Sixth Form Centre for individual study and relaxing, bridging the gap between school and university. A new teaching and learning programme also supports and develops individual learning along with an enrichment programme – called the Bellarmine Society – of well-known outside speakers that encourages Sixth Formers to realise their ambitions.

The boarding community comprises UK and international pupils who choose to board either full-time, on a weekly or flexi basis. Hopkins House, which accommodates the girl boarders, was refurbished during summer 2016 as part of an ongoing programme of investment to maintain high standards of living for the boarders.

The school has various other facilities open to all pupils;[10]

  • ICT Suites
  • Learning Resources Centre
  • Swimming pool
  • Indoor gym for team games
  • Gyms for fitness training
  • A floodlit, outdoor, all-weather playing surface
  • School grounds and pitches
  • Four school common rooms
  • Tuck shop available to all years
  • Music practice rooms and a recital hall
  • Theatre
  • Infirmary: 8 am – 7 pm weekdays, otherwise 24/7 "on call"[11]

Notable alumni

Old boys (or alumni) are known as "Mountaineers".

Notable staff


  1. Mount St. Mary's Spiritual Life Archived 15 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Barlborough Hall site
  3. Mount St. Mary's College Academic Life p.10 Archived 4 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Mount St. Mary's College Academic Life p.19 Archived 4 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Mount St. Mary's College Academic Life p.10 Archived 4 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. MSM - SPORT "MSM - SPORT", Mount St Mary's College, Retrieved on 19 April 2013.
  7. MSM - CCF (RAF&ARMY) "MSM - CCF (RAF&ARMY)", Mount St Mary's College, Retrieved on 19 April 2013.
  8. MSM - DRAMA "MSM - DRAMA", Mount St Mary's College, Retrieved on 19 April 2013.
  9. MSM - EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES "MSM - EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES", Mount St Mary's College, Retrieved on 19 April 2013.
  10. MSM - Pastoral Care - Facilities "MSM - Pastoral Care - Facilities", Mount St Mary's College, Retrieved on 19 April 2013.
  11. MSM - Health Care "MSM - Health Care", Mount St Mary's College, Retrieved on 19 April 2013.
  12. "Person - National Portrait Gallery". Retrieved 7 August 2017.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.