About - The Grounds

An insight into the history and significance of Maryvale's grounds.

Maryvale House and Grounds

Maryvale House is unique in that its various buildings reflect the Catholic history of the Midlands from the early eighteenth century to the present day. The oldest part of the house, then called Oscott House, was built for the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland district in 1753, although he never took up residence here. The Catholic mission to a wide area of the Midlands was based here until it became the first seminary for training priests in England in 1794. Most of the building as it appears now was built during the forty years it was Oscott College, until the Seminary moved from ‘Old’ Oscott to ‘New Oscott’ three miles away in 1837. The house became again a centre for Catholic mission until it was offered to John Henry Newman and his companions when they were received into the Catholic Church in 1845. Newman’s time in the house was relatively brief, but he famously renamed it Maryvale House, after the Oratory church in Rome.

It was the long occupation of Maryvale by the Sisters of Mercy and the children’s home they ran, from 1851 to 1980 which saw the addition of the Mercy Wing, where the student lounge is now, and the laying out of the sports field for the children. It was when the children’s home closed that Archbishop Dwyer established Maryvale as the diocesan catechetical centre and which shortly afterwards Archbishop Couve de Murville transformed into the Maryvale Institute of today. The development of the Institute led to the building of the lecture room wing and library and then the convent for the Bridgettine sisters who came in 1999 to care for the spiritual and material needs of staff and students.

So the house today reflects every stage in the its history and the variety of ways it has served the needs of the Catholic Church over three hundred years. It stands today in a busy suburb of North Birmingham but is still surrounded by extensive secluded grounds which are so attractive for students or other groups who come to use Maryvale for study, prayer and retreat time, or conference and training purposes.

© Maryvale Institute 2018 - Maryvale Institute is part of the Birmingham Diocesan Trust, Reg'd Charity No. 234216