Formation & Seminary Life

"Communion with Jesus and participation in his mission."

The Royal English College of St Alban was founded in 1589 in response to the persecution of Catholics in England and Wales during the Protestant Reformation. In those days it was impossible to train men for the priesthood in England and Wales (...)


Spain, a Catholic country, quickly emerged as a place willing to help the practice of the faith survive those dark days.

In the summer of 1589, English Jesuit priest Father Robert Persons SJ obtained permission from King Philip II of Spain to establish a seminary in Valladolid to train priests for the mission in England and Wales. The college has an unbroken tradition of forming priests to this day. Modern day seminarians come principally from England and Wales but also from Ireland, Canada and many other English-speaking places.

During their time here they are steeped in the Catholic tradition of Spain and in the history of the college. Twenty-seven students of the college were martyred for their faith including six saints, 16 who bear the title, “Blessed” and one who has the title of “Venerable”. The lives of these men serve as a powerful example to each seminarian who arrives here and they intercede for us still.

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales endorsed St Alban’s as the Propaedeutic Seminary in 1998, helping the college to establish a one-year programme of formation for men before they move on to major seminary.

In 2016 this Propaedeutic formation was deemed to be “indispensable” to all seminarians’ formation by the Congregation for Clergy.

Visiting The College

Although our primary focus is always priestly formation of the seminarians, when we are able to do so we warmly welcome groups and individual visitors who would like to learn more about St Alban’s crucial role in the life of the Catholic Church.

©2018 The Royal & Pontifical English College of St Alban.
All rights reserved.