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Durham University

Special Collections

Ushaw College records of Staff and Students

What records are available?

Records relating to the education and training of men for the priesthood, teaching, and auxiliary staff, at the former Catholic seminary of Ushaw College, four miles west of Durham. These include student registers; ‘reading-up books’ (examination results); clerk of works’ records, and photographs.

Where and when: geographical coverage and dates

The records primarily relate to students and staff at Ushaw College and do not include information on other seminaries.

Most series of records survive from the foundation of Ushaw in 1808 until its closure as a seminary in 2011, though the most recent records are usually closed to access.

Do these records only contain information on students who were ordained at Ushaw College?

No. With the foundation of the Junior Seminary in 1856 to the early 1970s, Ushaw was as much a Catholic public school as a seminary, with many parents sending their sons to the College purely for a ‘lay’ education. While it was hoped that these boys would undertake seminary training and become priests once they reached 18 years of age, a large number completed their education and forged careers in other areas.

What family history information will I find within these records?

Registers include annual class lists with names of students, year of birth, place of origin, and year ordained (if applicable).

‘Reading-Up’ books include termly class lists with each students respective position for each subject following examinations

Clerk of Works’ records include lists of names of maintenance and domestic staff, tasks undertaken, and their wages

Photographs include some class photographs and names of individual students and staff (if captioned)

Divines' seminarians skating on the frozen lake, about 1890

Where is the catalogue and does it include names?

Of the above catalogues, only the photograph listings include names of students or staff members, if these were captioned on the photograph.

Are these Ushaw College records available online?

No, these records have not been imaged.

For further information

Background information on the history of Ushaw College, including the Library, can be found on the Ushaw website.