Stonyhurst Collections and Historic Libraries


Pupils at Stonyhurst have access to our unique Collections, which are made available to them through the work of our Curator and Assistant Curator. There are a number of ways in which our pupils are able to experience all the benefits that our Collections can offer them.

For more general information on the Collections, please see the Collections web page by clicking here

Around the campus

Many of the finest paintings, prints, and statues in the Collections are on display throughout the buildings at Stonyhurst. Pupils can see works on display by notable artists including Albrecht Dürer, Quentin Matsys, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, Allegretto Nuzi, Bernard Partridge, Frank Brangwyn, John Nost, Peter Lely, Jacob Huysmans, and Godfrey Kneller.


Objects from the Collections are used regularly in lessons to broaden and deepen the curriculum experienced by pupils at Stonyhurst.

Among such a vast collection, students of history view objects and books linked to members of the royal family during the Wars of the Roses, and possessions associated with important figures of the English Reformation including Thomas More and Thomas Cranmer. Pupils learning English can access the First Folio of Shakespeare and manuscripts by Gerard Manley Hopkins as part of their lessons. Artists can gain inspiration from the many works of art around the buildings in lessons on many artistic techniques.


Rhetoric (Upper Sixth) pupils can apply to gain access to our Historic Libraries during restricted hours as a place of silent study. Pupils who take up this opportunity are subject to the usual rules of comparable special collections libraries at universities. The curatorial staff are on hand to advise and guide personal study projects and to explain how to use rare books and access manuscripts for primary research.

The Bay Library is a quiet and inspiring space. For many, this is an ideal place to focus on essays and other set work.

Research and Volunteering

Pupils are encouraged to use books and objects in the Collections as inspiration and source material for research projects or simply for their own extra-curricular interest. With the guidance of curatorial staff, the Historic Libraries are available to pupils for research and reference, and objects can be retrieved from the store for careful study, if requested. The curatorial team are all experienced researchers in their own fields and can support and advise pupils in their research.

Pupils often also give some of their free time to volunteer to help the Collections with specific projects. Recent projects by pupils have included: museum photography, learning palaeography, digital transcription of 16th century manuscripts, metalwork conservation, research using fossils, and cataloguing the College stamp collection.



Our pupils have access to the oldest working school observatory in the UK. It was built in the 1860s to accompany the nearby meteorological observatory which had been built 30 years before.



Shooting range

Housed within the historical buildings of Stonyhurst, is an indoor shooting range. With state-of-the-art features, this facility provides a space for our pupils to practice and improve their shooting skills whilst under the watchful eye of our trained members of staff.

Cricket pavilions

Golf course

Swimming pool

Opened in 1987 by Olympic gold medallist David Wilkie, our sports centre features a 25 metre, six-lane swimming pool, heated to 28 degrees.
Our swimming pool is very much at the heart of the Centre, with our gym overlooking the 25m pool area, and a viewing balcony for parents and supporters.

Pupils can take swimming as a games option, as well as a co-curricular activity and our swimming team takes part in regular galas and competitions around the UK.


Professional Theatre

The Academy Room is a fully functioning professional theatre space encompassing an auditorium for approximately 400 audience members.  The Academy Room is well used by the whole community for College assemblies and talks by visiting speakers, as well as for our whole school drama and dance productions.

Surrounded by a beautiful proscenium arch, the deep stage provides performance opportunities for both large and small scale productions.  The space is flanked by wings on both sides with ladder access to the grid above the stage.  There are two lighting rigs in the Academy room, with both generic and intelligent lights. The space has a state of the art lighting desk and a modern sound system and pupils are encouraged to become part of the Lights and Sound team, led by a College staff expert. The entire school community will get involved with our productions, through set painting and design, costume and make-up as well as multiple performance opportunities.

Sports Centre

The Sports Centre situated on the Stonyhurst estate, provides state-of-the-art facilities for our pupils and the wider community. The Stonyhurst Sports Centre boasts a 25 metre, six lane swimming pool, an all-weather pitch, tennis dome, gym and fitness studio. 


More Library



The Ambulacrum, built in 1851, was one of the first indoor sports halls of its kind. This large sports hall, situated centrally in the main building, lends itself to a variety of sports including badminton; basketball and netball. In addition this facility is used by the CCF for drills, Rhetoric for their annual fair and for a range of social events such as the Poetry Banquet and Rhetoric Ball. 

New Ref

The New Ref is the bright and modern refectory in which our pupils dine. Breakfast, lunch and supper are taken in the New Ref and are available to our day pupils as well as our boarders. Our excellent catering team prepare a wide choice of main meals, salads and deserts and there is always fresh fruit available.  

Music practice booths

Stonyhurst is blessed with some wonderful spaces in which to make music.

St Peter’s Church and the College Chapel

The choir sings in Mass every Sunday morning during term-time in St Peter’s, the magnificent parish church.  The choir loft, with its 4-manual Willis III organ, is the scene of some of the best music in the school.

For those pupils who take lessons on the organ, the College Chapel provides a beautiful practice and rehearsal space, with a pipe organ dating back to the 1890s.

The Top Ref

The Top Ref – formerly the Elizabethan Great Hall when Stonyhurst was a family home – has a Steinway grand piano which is always available to pupils for practice. The Top Ref provides a wonderful space for musical performances, such as the Headmaster’s Concert.

Music Basement
In the Music Basement there are fifteen practice/rehearsal rooms in total; one of these is our largest room, the Orchestra Room, which comes replete with much orchestral percussion; a third organ (a 1930s Conacher) and two grand pianos. Five of the rooms are sound isolation booths, and most have an upright piano.

The main teaching room for classes is fitted with ten PCs, all with the industry-standard Sibelius music typesetting software installed.

There is also the facility to store pupils’ instruments safely during term-time, and we have a number of instruments available for loan. Unusually amongst English schools, this loan is completely free of charge, provided the pupil takes part in at least one ensemble.

Boarding Areas

There are also a number of pianos in different boarding houses, allowing pupils to practice and enjoy music during their free time.

Dance studio

The Stonyhurst Dance Academy has its very own state of the art dance studio. This wonderful space has wooden flooring allowing for any dance style to be practiced in this area from Ballet and Tap to Modern and Contemporary. The room houses a number of barres and mirrors allowing dancers to practice and hone their skills. 

Sports pitches

Tennis Dome and Courts

  • 7 outdoor tennis courts
  • Indoor Tennis Dome
  • Tennis Shop

As well as our outdoor tennis courts, Stonyhurst College’s world-class tennis dome was opened in May 2017 by tennis legend Tim Henman OBE.

The dome is 10m high and offers two Grand Slam size tennis courts, with high-performing acoustics and glare-free playing conditions.

Step outside of the dome and you can visit our tennis shop, which stocks Head Tennis equipment.

College pupils can do tennis as a summer games option, however the tennis dome allows for a range of training options, throughout the year, for keen tennis players. These training options are led by our Director of Tennis and former professional tennis player, Mr David Shaw.

The facilities and top quality training programmes offered at Stonyhurst will help to nurture the next generation of players.



Our brand new, state-of-the-art fitness suite which opened in early 2017, operates on two levels and offers everything necessary to complete a full work out.

Both air-conditioned floors are fully equipped with thirty-seven fitness stations, from free weights and resistance machines for toning and muscle development, to a range of cardio equipment including rowing machines, treadmills, cross trainers, recumbent and exercise bikes.

Six televisions, surround sound and mood lighting all serve to enhance our pupils' fitness experience. Pupils can use the gym as a games option, where they will be given a training programme to work through under supervision. Higher Line pupils are also allowed to use the gym in their free time as part of our encouragement of a healthy lifestyle.