Mount St Mary's College

Mount St Mary's College is an independent, co-educational, day and boarding school situated at Spinkhill, Derbyshire, England. It was founded in 1842 by the Society of Jesus (better known as the Jesuits), and has buildings designed by notable architects such as Joseph Hansom, Henry Clutter and Adrian Gilbert Scott. The school is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Catholic Independent Schools Conference.

Mount St Mary's College
Mount St Mary's College logo.png
Mount St Mary's College chapel by John Jennings geograph 5501190.jpg
College Road

, ,
S21 3YL

Coordinates53°18′15″N 1°18′57″W / 53.3043°N 1.3158°W / 53.3043; -1.3158Coordinates: 53°18′15″N 1°18′57″W / 53.3043°N 1.3158°W / 53.3043; -1.3158
Former nameCollege of the Immaculate Conception (1842-)
TypePrivate school
Independent day
with boarding
MottoSine Macula (Latin)
Without Blemish
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Established1842; 180 years ago (1842)
FounderRandal Lythgoe
Department for Education URN[1] 113010[1] [1] Tables
ChairmanGareth Chapman
HeadmasterDan Wright
StaffApprox. 180
Number of students303[1]
Campus70 acres (280,000 m2)
Colour(s) Red  -  Yellow  -  Green 
Preparatory schoolBarlborough Hall School
Former pupilsOld Mountaineers (OMs)

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



Since 1580, during the English Reformation, there were Jesuits living and working in Spinkhill, serving the local Catholic population. In 1580, Robert Persons, Edmund Campion, and Ralph Emerson came to England in secret. These first Jesuits were sheltered at Spinkhill Hall, the house that became Mount St Mary's College. In 1620, a clandestine school was founded in Stanley Grange near Derby. When this school was discovered and dispersed by the authorities, it did not cease to exist. It was moved to Spinkhill.[3] The school was in buildings owned by members of the Pole family who were related to those living at nearby Radbourne Hall.[4][5] During the 1700s, it was recorded that there was a Catholic chapel in Spinkhill, a house for Jesuit priests and that they travelled to serve the Catholics in Holbeck, Nottinghamshire.[6]


In 1842, after Catholic emancipation, Mount St Mary's College was founded. It was originally called the College of the Immaculate Conception at Spinkhill and it was founded by Fr Randall Lythgoe, the provincial superior of the Jesuits in Britain at the time.[3] Some of the college buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The oldest part of the college is the Sodality Chapel. After soldiers of Charles II raided a Jesuit college in Holbeck Woodhouse, furnishings from that college were taken to Spinkhill.[3] In 1840, the first buildings built for the college were designed by Joseph Hansom. In 1850, the Hopkins wing (girls) was built. In 1876, construction started on the new college building. It was designed by Henry Clutton. It was completed in 1912. The Memorial Chapel was designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott, and was completed in 1924. It is a memorial to at least 100 former pupils killed in the Second Boer War, World War I, and World War II and it is a Grade II listed building.[7]


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.[8] On 16 July 1939, the then headmaster, Fr 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.[9] 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. In 1979, girls were admitted as day students. From 1984, girls began boarding in the school.

In September 2006, Mount St Mary's became its own charitable trust. The Society of Jesus transferred the two schools to the Mount St Mary's Trust.[10] While legally separate from the Jesuits, the college still works with them to maintain the Jesuit mission and identity of the college.[11]

School yearsEdit

Chapel and buildings

Each of the school years are named after different stages of elementary skills, taken from the Jesuit text, Ratio Studiorum:[12]

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

The school is split into three houses, Loyola named after Ignatius of Loyola, Xavier named after Francis Xavier, and Campion named after Edmund Campion. For each year, there are three forms and each form applies to one of the schools houses.

Facilities and sportEdit

Athletics track and rugby field
Sports fields and countryside

The college 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. The school also receives rugby honours, winning the NatWest Schools Cup in 1994, after being runners up in 1992. The college repeated this honour, winning the U18 National School's Vase in 2022.[13] The college also won the National Schools Sevens four times from 1988 to 1995.[14] There is a sporting rivalry against fellow Catholic Public Schools, Stonyhurst College and Ampleforth College.

Mount St Mary's Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is over 100 years old. Pupils in Year 10 upwards can join either the Army or (since 1984) the RAF section. According to the Independent Schools Inspectorate, "The school's RAF cadet force became the first nationwide to achieve their 'blue wings' gliding license," and "pupils achieve high success rates in the Duke of Edinburgh award at all levels."[12] The college has music and drama departments that work together for productions. The college's art department includes design and technology, fashion, fine art, and photography.[12] The college has had exchanges with Notre Dame St Sigisbert in Nancy, France, and with Col·legi Casp and Joan 23 schools in Barcelona. In 2009, the college began an exchange with St. Michel in Saint-Étienne, France. The college also holds fund-raising events for the Chikuni Mission in Zambia.[citation needed]

The college has a Grade 1 Athletics Stadium, which was selected as a Pre-Games Training Camp for the London 2012 Summer Olympics.[15] There are also 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 Sixth Form Centre, and a programme of speakers coming from outside the college. The boarding community comprises UK and international pupils who choose to board either full-time, on a weekly or flexi basis.[12]

Notable alumniEdit

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

Notable staffEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Mount St Mary's College - GOV.UK". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  2. ^ Barlborough Hall site
  3. ^ a b c Spinkhill from Derbyshire Heritage, retrieved 7 June 2022
  4. ^ John Gough Nichols, The Topographer and Genealogist, Volume 1, J. B. Nichols, 1846, p. 176-178.
  5. ^ "Recusant History" from Catholic Record Society (Great Britain), p. 489.
  6. ^ Spinkill – Immaculate Conception from English Heritage, retrieved 24 May 2016
  7. ^ Mount St Mary's College Memorial Chapel, from British Listed Buildings, retrieved 7 June 2022
  8. ^ Historic England, Barlborough Hall, retrieved 7 June 2022
  9. ^ Mount St Mary's from Heraldry of the World, retrieved 7 June 2022
  10. ^ Mount St Mary's from Charity Commission for England and Wales, retrieved 7 June 2022
  11. ^ "Jesuit Schools". Jesuit Institute. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  12. ^ a b c d "Mount St Mary's College". Independent Schools Inspectorate. 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  13. ^ Stephen Thirkill, Worksop's Mount St Mary's College lift National U18 Vase Cup at Twickenham, Worksop Guardian, 19 March 2022, retrieved 7 June 2022
  14. ^ Schools Rugby: Midweek Preview – 7s galore this midweek with tournaments across the country,, retrieved 7 June 2022
  15. ^ "Mount St Mary's, Sheffield". Thorn. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  16. ^ Douglas Lammings, An English Football Internationalist Who's Who (1990) from England Footballer Online, retrieved 7 June 2022
  17. ^ Andrew Pulver, Carlos Reygadas: in defence of Post Tenebras Lux, The Guardian, 14 March 2013, retrieved 7 June 2022
  18. ^ Keegan, Francis (Spring 1976). "Gerard Manley Hopkins at Mount St. Mary's College, Spinkhill, 1877-1878". The Hopkins Quarterly. 6 (1): 11–34 – via JSTOR.

Further readingEdit

  • Peter McArdle, The Story of Barlborough Hall: With a Short Account of Its Parent College Mount St Mary's College, Spinkhill, 1979.

External linksEdit