Category:St Omers

To quote the Catholic Encyclopedia:

The well-known Jesuit college at St. Omer -- oftener spoken of under the anglicized form of St. Omers or St. Omer's -- was founded by Father Parsons in 1592 or 1593. All Catholic education having been prohibited in England, several colleges had been founded by Englishmen on the Continent -- at Douai, Rome, and Valladolid; their primary object was the education of the clergy. Father Parsons recognized the need of a college intended in the first instance for the laity, and for this purpose he chose a spot as near as possible to England. St. Omer was twenty-four miles from Calais, in the Province of Artois, then subject to the King of Spain. The first students were obtained by the removal of a small establishment which had been set up by Father Parsons at Eu, in Normandy. Other boys quickly arrived from England and within ten years of its foundation the college numbered over a hundred scholars. Thirty years later this number had been doubled. The character of the college was kept as English as possible, notwithstanding that several of the early rectors were Spanish. The buildings consisted of a large house joined to several smaller ones, and in 1610 a regular chapel was added. The whole was burnt down in 1684; but it was rebuilt on a comprehensive scale. A second fire, in 1725, led to further improvements in rebuilding and the greater part of the college then constructed is still standing. The college continued its work for over a century and a half.

The college was well known for performing amateur drama, in particular during the tenure of Joseph Simons, teacher and prolific dramatist: see McCabe.

Works Cited

McCabe, William H. ‘’An introduction to the Jesuit Theater’’, ed. Louis J. Oldani. St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1983.
Ward, Bernard. "College of Saint Omer." ‘’The Catholic Encyclopedia’’. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. Cited from <>.

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