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St Beuno's College

A Grade II* Listed Building in Tremeirchion, Denbighshire

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Latitude: 53.2571 / 53°15'25"N

Longitude: -3.3807 / 3°22'50"W

OS Eastings: 307991

OS Northings: 374230

OS Grid: SJ079742

Mapcode National: GBR 4ZTS.W4

Mapcode Global: WH76P.1DFD

Entry Name: St Beuno's College

Listing Date: 9 April 2002

Last Amended: 9 April 2002

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 26459

Building Class: Education

Location: On high ground to the east of the B5249 Cwm to Bodfari road

County: Denbighshire

Community: Tremeirchion

Community: Tremeirchion

Locality: St Beuno's College

Traditional County: Flintshire

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The earliest part of St Beuno's is an irregular suite of buildings around a quadrangle, designed by J A Hansom, architect, in 1846-9 as a Jesuit college for training for the priesthood. It has been described (by Hubbard) as belonging to 'the first generation of the Pugin-inspired collegiate and conventual genre'. The buildings are planned around a quadrangle, but it is not designed to resemble a cloister. Gerald Manley Hopkins, a student here in the 1870s, characterised the interiors as skimping. The buildings are laid out on a steeply sloping site, and their heights and massing tend to emphasise the change of level. The west front contained the original main entrance, with its doorway beneath a tower, and there is a high retaining wall to the terrace on that side. The chapel of the Holy Name on the east side of the group (two storeys higher) is part of Hansom's original work.

Hansom and Son were commissioned to design the north extension of the college, creating an open north courtyard and containing a new entrance a storey higher than the original, in 1873.

St Beuno's college has continued to be a Jesuit establishment, now serving as St. Beuno's Ignatian Spirituality Centre. Minor internal changes include the change of the original college library in the south west corner of the buildings to serve as a second chapel, named the Capel y coed.

Gerald Manley Hopkins was a student at St Beuno's training for the priesthood from 1874-7, when much of his poetry was written.


The college is designed, because of the sloping ground, to stand on three levels. It is in C19 Tudor style in sneck-coursed local limestone ashlar with slate roofs. Gables, where they occur, are coped and chimneys are square. Those of the main south range have diagonally set shafts of Tudor form.

The original entrance elevation to the west consists of a four-storey tower and a contemporary range to its right; the similar range to left is the late C19 addition. The tower contains a Tudor-arched doorway with moulding surmounted by the Recording Angel. Taller Tudor-arched windows to left and right. Above this is a two-storey oriel, canted sided, with mullion and transom windows; a string course at the mid height of the oriel continues the eaves line of the roof each side. The top storey has two windows and the tower is crowned by a parapet above a cornice.

Both the original range to the right and the later range to the left are of two storeys, with attic dormers, five windows to left, four to right. The later work has been designed to bring the original elevation close to symmetry. Mullion and transom windows to the upper storey with traceried heads; the lower windows are clusters of four single lights. The dormer windows have steel casements. To the right is the flank of the original library (now Capel y coed).

The south elevation climbs the hill from left to right. At left is the gable end of the original library at the lowest ground level. Then a four-window range of two storeys and attic, and a six-window range of three storeys and attic, both based at the middle ground level. Gables and dormers alternate in the attic. The main windows are all small, pointed and paired, with recent double-glazing.

Chapel to east at the upper ground level, with round apse. Slate roof with crested tiles. Two light traceried windows. Single opening bellcote at west with bell.

The main quadrangle is on two levels separated by a retaining wall; it is mostly at the middle ground level, with a small formal garden around a lawn. The east range overlooking this quadrangle has mullion windows above and mullion and transom windows below, the latter with iron casements quarry glazed. The refectory range to the north side has high level two-light windows, also in iron and quarry glazed, and modern rooflights.

The additions of 1873 comprise a north west wing, defining a new entrance courtyard at the north. The east side of this wing now includes the main entrance, at middle ground level. Large spreading flight of entrance stairs. Tudor arched entrance with oak screen, containing door to left, tracery above. Five gables, the central one over the door slightly advanced. The upper storey is jettied on segmental arches and plain columns forming an arcade. The range opposite (on the east side of the entrance courtyard) is a service building, with large archway incorporating a pseudo-portcullis. Roof ventilators each end. Storage range, post 1871 and recently rebuilt, to north. The refectory north elevation facing this courtyard has Tudor headed mullion and transom windows with iron quarry lights and buttresses between; small dormers to attic.


Generally plain interiors with only main beams of upper floors exposed and braced. Many fireplaces of simple Tudor form. Many doors also of Tudor form. Corridors generally have ceilings of vault form. The refectory has a cast-iron pulpit at its north west corner.

The chapel is in Perpendicular style. It is reached from the main part by a short flight of steps. It consists of nave, sanctuary and side chapel. The main roof is of hammer-beam type with angels carved on the ends of the hammer-beams and the sanctuary is fan-vaulted. Rock altar recently installed within the nave.

Reasons for Listing

A work of J A Hansom early in the collegiate Gothic revival of the early Victorian period, built at an important period of Roman Catholic advance in Britain; part of a regionally significant Roman Catholic movement. Enlarged by the same office in the late Victorian period. Significant also for its association with Gerald Manley Hopkins.

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