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Chapel of St Joseph at St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw

A Grade II Listed Building in Esh, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.788 / 54°47'16"N

Longitude: -1.6621 / 1°39'43"W

OS Eastings: 421828

OS Northings: 543729

OS Grid: NZ218437

Mapcode National: GBR JFT2.YF

Mapcode Global: WHC4H.FXRB

Plus Code: 9C6WQ8QQ+55

Entry Name: Chapel of St Joseph at St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw

Listing Date: 24 June 1987

Last Amended: 9 January 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1185959

English Heritage Legacy ID: 350527

Location: Esh, County Durham, DH7

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Esh

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Esh and Hamsteels

Church of England Diocese: Durham

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Chapel. 1852-4 by A. W. N. Pugin, completed by E. W. Pugin


Chapel. 1852-4 by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and completed by Edward Welby Pugin.

Materials: thin courses of squared sandstone with ashlar plinth and dressings; roof of graduated Lakeland slate with stone gable copings and crested ridge tiles.

Plan: 3-bay rectangular plan.

Exterior: decorated style. Cusped tracery in 2-light north and south windows; paired 2-light west windows, with geometric tracery, under six-foil light and top blind quatrefoil. Large 5-light east window with geometric tracery, also under blind quatrefoil. All windows have dripmoulds. Steeply-pitched roof has overlapping stone gable copings with gabled kneelers; stone cross finials.

Interior: painted plaster over panelled dado; panelled roof with stencilled decoration, on long stone-corbelled wall-posts. Painted Gothic-lettered borders around window heads. Caen stone reredos with high-relief panels under crocketed canopies, and altar with 3 large high-relief panels, by E. W. Pugin.

To left of altar a canopy 20 feet high of stone and marble over life-size marble statue of St. Joseph by Karl Hoffmann. East window designed by A. W. N. Pugin c.1851, modified by J. H. Powell. Remaining windows by Hardman. C19 cast-iron radiator with low-relief rosette and palmette decoration and rinceau frieze.


St Cuthbert's College was opened in 1808 to serve as the Catholic diocesan seminary for the Northern District. It continued a lineage of training for the English priesthood established at Douai, France by Cardinal William Allen following Elizabeth I's Protestant Religious Settlement of 1559; its students and professors having been driven out by the French Revolution. The early buildings by James Taylor of Islington were formed around a courtyard with its final, west range completed in 1819. However, the middle years of the century saw Catholic ambition and confidence burgeoning after the Emancipation Act (1829), the arrival of Oxford Movement converts, the Irish immigration and the Restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy (1850). Both lay boys and "church students" were taught the faith according to the requirements for diocesan seminaries, laid down at the Council of Trent (1545-63). This was reflected in the college's remarkable expansion led by its 5th President, Monsignor Charles Newsham (1937-63). Newsham brought Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, Joseph and Charles Hansom and Edward Welby Pugin to build or rebuild chapels, the Exhibition Hall, the library, the Junior House, the museum, the infirmary, the laundry, the kitchens, the laboratory, the Bounds walls, the farm, the cemetery cloister and to carry out numerous alterations and additions to the existing buildings.

The Chapel of St Joseph was built in 1852-4 as part of this expansion, primarily for the use of domestic staff. Designed by A. W. N. Pugin it was completed after his death by E. W. Pugin who designed the marble housing Karl Hoffmann's statue of St. Joseph. This canopy was moved to the antechapel of the Chapel of St Cuthbert but returned when the new chapel was built.

The reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-5) to the formation of Catholic priests placed an increased emphasis on contact with communities and starting training later. As a result Ushaw experienced a sharp drop in numbers but developed strong links with the University of Durham, providing degree courses accredited by the University. The Junior College closed in 1973 and the college itself closed in 2011 although proposals are being developed for new uses related to Catholic education.

Reasons for Listing

The Chapel of St Joseph at St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the chapel and the canopy over the statue of St. Joseph were designed by A. W. N. Pugin although the chapel was completed under the supervision of his son E. W. Pugin;
* Historic interest: the chapel was built to serve the domestic staff of the college, reflecting the scale of ambition in the flourishing Roman Catholic Seminary;
* Group value: the chapel has a strong visual and functional relationship with the neighbouring listed buildings of the college.

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