Mount St Mary's College

Mount St Mary's College
Mount St Mary's College
Motto Sine Macula
Established 1842
Type Independent school
Religion Catholic
Headmaster Laurence McKell
Founder Fr Randal Lythgoe
Location Spinkhill
England England
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Campion, Claver, Southwell.
Preparatory School Barlborough Hall

Coordinates: 53°18′15″N 1°18′57″W / 53.3043°N 1.3158°W / 53.3043; -1.3158

Mount St Mary's College is an independent coeducational boarding school situated at Spinkhill, Derbyshire, near Sheffield, England. It was founded in 1842 by Fr Randal Lythgoe, the Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order commonly known as the Jesuits. The current Headmaster is Mr. Laurence McKell.

The pupils range in age from 11 to 18, (Year 7 to Year 13). Each of these years are named after different stages of elementary skills: starting at Upper Elements (Year 7) to Figures, Rudiments, Grammar, Syntax, Poetry and Rhethoric (Year 13). The school is the senior school to Barlborough Hall School, and the schools are closely linked, with Barlborough only 2.2 miles away (by road).



The Jesuit vocation, in the words of St Ignatius, is to ‘go anywhere and do anything for the greater glory of God.’ The Society was founded in 1540 and almost immediately it became clear to those first companions that the work of education would constitute one of their most effective ways of furthering God’s kingdom on earth.

The Jesuit Mission to England began in 1580 with the secret arrival of Persons, Campion and Emerson. After Campion’s arrest the following year, Persons slipped back to the Continent where he spent most of the rest of his life preparing others for the English Mission. One of the first things he did was to set up a school for the education of 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 sometimes to give their lives, for the Faith. In England itself there were several clandestine schools, one of them at Stanley Grange in Derbyshire. When this school was discovered and dispersed by the authorities, it did not cease to exist, and there is strong evidence to suggest that, for a time, it found a home here at Spinkhill. Spinkhill had been a centre of Jesuit activity from the very earliest times, and it is almost certain that Persons and perhaps even Campion, spent some time here.

The Jesuit English Province was organized 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’, or more familiarly, Mount St Mary’s College. The founder of the College was Rev. Randall Lythgoe, SJ 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 were brought to Spinkhill. Joseph Hansom, an architect and inventor of the Hansom Cab, built the first College buildings in 1840. The Hopkins wing (girls) was constructed a little later (1850) and 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 those 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 the Mount.

The school was a boys only school until the 1970s, when girls were admitted as day students. Girl boarders started in 1984, and remain until today. Old scholars of Mount St Mary's are known as 'Old Mountaineers'.

The move-away from the Society of Jesus

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 forms the present governing body. The Society of Jesus formally transferred property of the schools, their capita, business and other assets to Mount St Mary's Trust, so that, from a legal point of view, the schools are independent of the Society of Jesus.[citation needed]

Sports and Recreation

The school has an excels in sports especially rugby and some of its older students have joined the England Rugby teams along with Scotland, Ireland, Italy and many other countries. The school has had exchanges in the past with Notre Dame St Sigisbert in Nancy, France as well as Joan 23 which is in Barcelona. In 2009, the school began a French Exchange with the school St.Michel in St.Etienne, France.

The school also features an in-door shooting range, and is involved with the Combined Cadet Forces (CCF), with all students in Years 10 and 11 taking part in either the Army or (from 1984 onwards) RAF section. The school CCF had its own army regiment until 1986, when it was amalgamated into the Sherwood Foresters regiment.

Music and drama are also of an extremely high calibre with the departments joining together to put on large shows. This term the school is putting on Sweet Charity from 24 to 27 November 2010 in the College Theatre.

The Mounts new art department combining design and technology, fashion, fine art and photography makes this subject a popular choice with pupils.

Extra-curricular activities are a central part of the schools ethos of supporting a well rounded education and activities include Shooting, Airfix Club, Choirs, Sports Groups, Duke of Edinburgh, Young Enterprise, Debating, Textiles, Creative Writing, Clay Model Animation Club and many more.

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

School Facilities

Along with a Grade 1 Olympic Athletics track, there are 9 rugby pitches, 3 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 also open to the general public for use at specific times.

Sixth Formers now have 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 of well-known outside speakers that encourages Sixth Formers to realise their ambitions.

There are brand new boarding facilities with additional houses to accommodate the increase in boarders at the school and opportunities to try out various activities in the local area on the weekend.

Notable Mountaineers

Old Boys (or alumni) are known as "Mountaineers"
  • Fr Tom Conlan SJ, papal medal vatican II, captured first German ship WWII, founder of colleges in Rhodesia, historian, classicist, shakespearean scholar, teacher stoneyhurst (briefly), captain rugby at Mount St Mary's, captain Irish English Schools rugby team/ (Jesuit archives active in south America, southern Africa and England). Born Belfast, died London.


External links

Coordinates: 53°18′11″N 1°19′09″W / 53.3030°N 1.3191°W / 53.3030; -1.3191

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