Ushaw College

Ushaw College


Alter St Cuterberts Chapel

Ushaw College, is about half a mile heading east out of Bearpark. It was named Ushaw College in the 1800’s after the village Ushaw Moor. Ushaw is derived from the Viking words ‘Ulf’s’ and ‘Shaw’ which means in plain English ‘Wolf’s Wood’.

This college has been an enigma all my life. We all new it as the monks college. We were not far off the truth. When I was young we used to take walks along the College Road  from our village towards Langley Park. We used walk so far up the path and get scared, thinking we would be kidnapped by the mad monks. Sometimes we would play in the copse in the field in which a public footpath takes you there from the main road.

I have not taken a photograph of the exterior as I thought I had one, after much searching I do not have one on this computer or in my hard drives. So I must take one and add it in later.

The history of the college begins in 1559, William Allen founded the English College for the or the Douai. Allen was in exile from Oxford University post-Reformation and set up the Douai in France. The Douai were kicked out of France in 1795 post French revolution and the majority of the college took temporary residence in nearby Crook Hall in Durham City. Bishop William Gibson in 1804 sets about building the college designed by James Taylor in the style of the Gothic Revival; opened up in 1808 as St Cuthbert’s College.The coat of arms for the college uses 3 coney’s (hares) which belongs to the William Allen family (founder of the Douai). The rest is st Georges red cross and a smaller St Cuthbert’s cross.

There were lots of little prayer rooms and chapels off shoot from the St Cuthbert’s Chapel; and a few dodgy blurred photos have been left out. I felt that there was more to see here than Durham world heritage class Cathedral. Purely because of its hidden history. We missed out on the guided tour. I know there were atrocities here, Irish girls were sent as slaves to the priests and nuns.The stained glass windows had such amazing detail, and was pleased we had a sunny day to see the light flooding through them. The stone masonry was beautifully carved, the Chapel of Angel’s is a little wonder. The corridor leading to St Josephs’ Chapel had wonderful carved Icons in wood. I am not religious, however the time and effort over time that people have dedicated to produce such works of art is purely mesmerizing.

What is so amazing about this place, it is that it exists where it is. In area where communities grew up in and around coal mining industry ad farming and varying degrees of poverty.  However there are pockets of history that do surround Bearpark – the old manor house in by the Browney. The bridge at Aldin Grange betrayed a king’s shadow from the bridge. King David a Scottish invader 1346 Battle of Neville’s Cross.

The opulence of the catholic Church, it was self-sufficient having its own coal mine, its farmland, stables and ponds. it was nicknamed the village in its time. A few years ago I a saw snippet of a TV program hosted by Lucinda Lambton and was stunned at the interior so I had an inkling of what was in side before I went, however a viewing by oneself was so much worth the lifetime of waiting. The college has only recently been open to the public, and is also part of Durham University,the Business School and Music College are located here. The university has task of cataloguing the library and a conservation program. A recent T.V drama Vera ‘A Broken Promise’ was filmed in and around the grounds of the college. We took my niece and nephews around a couple of days after i went with my partner. The lads had not been inside before and they were truly amazed.

I went free hand, and had terrible trouble keeping steady. These are the best of the bunch. Enjoy the gallery.


Thanks for stopping by my blog today.



2 thoughts on “Ushaw College

Add yours

    1. Thanks PC. I enjoyed taking them free hand. But I am afraid I need more pracrice without tripod. A dark background does work well. Helps the illumination from the light coming through the windows

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