The Stonyhurst collection is the oldest surviving museum collection in the English-speaking world. It is the collection of a “forgotten ancient British university”. It embodies the Jesuit philosophy encapsulated in the phrase “the world is our house” – outward-looking, respectful of other cultures, and intrinsically inclusive – that made the Jesuits keepers of memory and preservers of culture.
The centre was established as an independent registered charity to:
· House and care for the Stonyhurst collection and to make it accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
· Facilitate an educational programme for people of all ages and cultures.
· Provide Retreat and Study Centre for those seeking to explore and deepen their faith, and accommodation for those engaged on scholarly research into the collection.
While the Catholic heritage of England remains at the core of the collection, it is hoped that the astounding range of objects expressive of other religions and beliefs will resonate with audiences of all backgrounds, spurring inter-faith dialogue, leading to greater mutual understanding.
In this way, the Trust believes that the collection will not only enable English-speaking Catholics to re-connect with a crucial episode in their history, but will prompt all our visitors – at a time when the world is witnessing a tragic resurgence of religious conflict – to reflect more deeply on questions of faith, persecution and tolerance.
Professor the Lord Alton of Liverpool,
Chairman, The Christian Heritage Centre