Historical Collections & Archives


The long and colourful history of the College has led to its possession of a considerable collection of historical treasures and artefacts. The origins of the Collections can be traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries, when a number of precious and sacred objects were entrusted to the Jesuits and the College. Many of these items survived the College’s turbulent history and are at Stonyhurst today.  

Since the Renaissance our Collections have grown and expanded. Stonyhurst has received a number of generous donations from various benefactors who include former pupils and  parents, and people who have a special interest in Catholic history. Items from scientists, missionaries, archaeologists, antiquarians, soldiers, naturalists and civil servants have been entrusted to the College for safe-keeping; the granddaughter of the 19th naturalist and OS, Charles Waterton, for example,  bequeathed his collection of preserved birds and animals from all over the world to Stonyhurst. The College’s art collection hangs beside the contemporary creations of current pupils. Every item, be it a book or a butterfly,  is catalogued and carefully preserved by the College’s Curator, and students are also given the opportunity to take an active role in preserving the Collections for future pupils.

CollectionsThe Collections provide a tangible link with the history of Stonyhurst. The different objects help to connect  current pupils to the school’s past as well as to the lives of many of its most famous pupils, priests and associates.