Major donation for Stonyhurst's new heritage centre

Lord Deben, Lord Nicholas Windsor, Lady Nicholas Windsor, Fr John Barns, Fr David Baker
Lord Deben, Lord Nicholas Windsor, Lady Nicholas Windsor, Fr John Barns, Fr David Baker

Stonyhurst College has received a donation of £2 million this week towards completion of its Christian Heritage Centre project,  an education and faith centre which will house the famous Stonyhurst collection of Christian artefacts and relics and make it accessible to the public for study. The centre will provide an educational programme for people of all ages, enable scholarly research and provide a retreat centre for those seeking to deepen their faith.  The Stonyhurst Collections lay claim to being the the oldest museum collection in the English -speaking world.

The College has received the money from The Theodore Trust, which was founded to make donations to churches, charities, libraries and schools for the 'advancement of the Christian Religion'. The cheque was presented by the chairman of the Theodore Trust, Fr John Barnes, at a reception in the House of Lords earlier this week.

The aims of the Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst are being achieved in phases with phase one being the restoration of the Church of St Peter at Stonyhurst, undertaken by the the Jesuits in Britain and was completed in 2012. The second phase, which has not yet finished, is the restoration of the Stonyhurst College Libraries and the setting up of the Old Chapel Museum.

This latest gift will be given to phase three which is the restoration of Stonyhurst’s Old Mill Buildings for the provision of a retreat, study, and leadership centre, to be called Theodore House. Lord David Alton, the chairman of the Christian Heritage Centre, said: "This gift amounts to half of the funding required for completion of our project’s third phase.  "It is a wonderful boost, allowing us to move nearer to our goal of building a retreat, study, and leadership centre to support the global work of the Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst. "This donation adds to support which the project has received from the Jesuits in Britain and Stonyhurst College as well as other donors.

"Once we have completed Phase Three we will get to work on Phase Four, which will be a visitors’ centre, using the unique artefacts which we hold in trust to tell the Christian story to a new generation.” Fr. John Barnes, chairman of the Theodore Trust, said: "The emphasis which the Christian Heritage Centre Trust has placed on ensuring that the Christian story is told to the next generation has convinced us that this project is the right one for us to support with our final bequest.