Christleton Hall is currently in the news over its impending sale, with planning permission being sought to remodel the newer buildings built by the Law Society and develop the remainder of the site for housing. I thought it would be interesting to look at the history of the site since the Salvatorian Religious order bought the property in 1934.

In 1934 the Salvatorians, a Catholic religious order, purchased Christleton Hall from the Hemelryk family, and it remained in their possession until the Law Society purchased it in 1972. During the ownership of the Salvatorian Brothers, the property was extensively developed to enable the international religious order of priests and brothers to provide a training college for men preparing for the priesthood. In the 1950’s, Stoneydale, the adjoining property, was purchased to house a community of nuns, known as the Salvatorian sisters.

As early as 1936, young priests were setting off from Christleton to work in the foreign missions in China. Others were being assigned to parishes or schools in England. By the outbreak of war in 1939 there was a community of 50 or 60 men living and studying at Christleton Hall. A number of these left to join the forces but most remained. “Priests are needed in times of war and peace.”

The Cheshire Constabulary made a dramatic arrival in May 1940- it was the time of the evacuation of Dunkirk. They came to roundup a number of German students and lay brothers, to take them into interment on the Isle of Man and from there to Canada. (When the war was over these same men went to work in China the USA and Australia)

During this time life went on with its round of study, lectures, digging for victory in the kitchen garden or nearby farmland, and serving in the Village Air Raid Precautions team. Meanwhile men were ordained and joined the services as chaplains, serving in the Army, Navy, and RAF and on active service in North Africa, Burma and Europe. Great changes in seminary training began in 1962 with the result that Christleton ceased to be a major seminary. It became a junior seminary, a boarding school for boys aged 13 - 18 years.

From 1934 until 1972, many local Catholics attended their Sunday Mass and other religious services in the College Chapel. Most of these people became friends and supporters of the Salvatorian Community. The final Sunday Mass was a very moving occasion, but it was a “grand and glorious” conclusion to a wonderful chapter of local history. A small cemetery had been established in the college grounds for the burial of members of the Salvatorian community, and marked by a traditional Celtic style Cross. This Memorial Cross and burials were transferred to another Salvatorian site after the college site in Christleton had been vacated.

Salvatorian Cross at Christleton Hall
Reference: Christleton 2000 years of History. Published by Christleton Local History Group 2000
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    Christleton Viullage Barn on Pepper Street

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© 2018 Richard Nicholson

The Salvatorian Brothers at Christleton Hall

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