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St Mary's College, Oscott

St Mary's College in New Oscott, Birmingham, often called Oscott College, is the Roman Catholic seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham in England and one of the three seminaries of the Catholic Church in England and Wales;[3]

Oscott College
St Mary's College, New Oscott
View of the college from the south
Oscott College is located in West Midlands county
Oscott College
Oscott College
Location of college
Coordinates: 52°32′38″N 1°51′20″W / 52.543766°N 1.855451°W / 52.543766; -1.855451
OS grid referenceSP0988894038
LocationNew Oscott, Birmingham
DenominationRoman Catholic
FoundedMay 1794 (1794-05)[1]
Founder(s)Thomas Walsh
DedicationSt Mary
Consecrated29 May 1838
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade II* Listed[2]
Designated25 April 1952
Architect(s)Joseph Potter
A.W. Pugin
StyleGothic Revival
Groundbreaking25 April 1836
Completed31 May 1838
Construction cost£40,000
ParishOur Lady of the Assumption Maryvale
DeaneryBirmingham (North)
ArchbishopBernard Longley
RectorCanon David Oakley


College chapel, designed by A. W. N. Pugin

Oscott College admits students for the priesthood from various dioceses of England and Wales, as well as some students from overseas. The first three years of the academic programme are validated by the University of Birmingham as a BA in Fundamental Catholic Theology. Those who complete the six-year programme also obtain a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) through affiliation with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.[4]

Oscott College is also the diocesan centre for the formation of candidates for the permanent diaconate within the Archdiocese of Birmingham.


Old OscottEdit

The college was founded in Oscott, in present-day Great Barr, in 1794 for both the training of priests and the education of lay pupils. It developed out of a small mission founded by Fr Andrew Bromwich around 1687.

New OscottEdit

St Mary's College, 1839

In 1838, the college moved to a new site, which came to be known as New Oscott (and the original site as "Old Oscott"). The Maryvale Institute remains on the original site. The new building was designed by Augustus Pugin and Joseph Potter at a cost of £40,000. It is grade II* listed. The college quickly became a symbol of the rebirth of the Catholic faith in England and played a prominent part in the life of the Church in the 19th century. In 1889, the college was closed, but reopened the following year as a seminary only.

21st CenturyEdit

After the closure of St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, Durham, in 2011, many of the dioceses in the province of Liverpool sent their students to Oscott to complete their training. This gave a boost in numbers at the college at a time when vocations seemed to be scarce.[5]

Pope Benedict XVI visited on 19 September 2010 following the beatification, earlier that day in Birmingham's Cofton Park, of Cardinal Newman who stayed at the college in the late 1840s. During his visit to Oscott, Benedict met and had lunch with the Roman Catholic bishops of England, Scotland and Wales. The Oscott visit was the last scheduled event during the four-day 2010 State Visit of Benedict to the UK. The Pope would later depart the UK from Birmingham International Airport.

Choral musicEdit

A CD of choral music, Sedes Sapientiae, performed by The Schola and recorded live in the college's chapel on 7 June 2008, was released by the college (cat. no. OSCOTTCD01).[6]

Notable alumniEdit





Former presidents and rectorsEdit

Further readingEdit

  • The Oscottian - Literary Gazette of St Mary's College, Oscott. Jubilee edition, 1888
  • Oscott College in the Twentieth Century, Michael E. Williams, 2001, Gracewing Publishing (ISBN 0-85244-534-2)


  1. ^ Oscott History Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ British Listed Buildings
  3. ^ "Preparing Yourself". Portsmouth Catholic Diocese. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-18. Retrieved 2014-10-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ UK Vocations Statistics Archived 2013-12-14 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Sedes Sapientiae CD insert
  7. ^ List of Superiors, Masters and Students
  8. ^ Williams Oscott College p. 183

External linksEdit