The Archdiocese of Birmingham is pleased to announce completion of the sale of Aston Hall in Stone, Staffordshire, to The St Barnabas Society.  

Aston Hall has been owned by the Archdiocese since 1959 and used as a guest house for priests and a home for retired and convalescent priests. It has an impressive Catholic history, most notably as the hiding place for the bones of St Chad, which were discovered under the altar in the Hall chapel, having been brought to Aston Hall from Lichfield Cathedral for safekeeping during the Reformation.

In 1842, Blessed Dominic Barberi arrived from Italy and founded a Passionist noviciate at the Hall.

In recent times the number of priests choosing to stay at Aston Hall had fallen to low single figures and at the time the final decision was taken to make the house available for sale there was only one priest in residence who was found accommodation closer to his family.   At this level of occupancy, the current arrangements were not sustainable and for some time we have been searching for an appropriate buyer and new owner.  

The Grade II listed property was designed by Edward Welby Pugin as a private house, though the site itself is much older.

The St Barnabas Society ‘is a registered charity which operates in Great Britain and Ireland. It exists to provide pastoral and financial help on behalf of the whole Catholic community to former clergy and religious of other Christian denominations and other world faiths, who are resident in Great Britain and Ireland, and who have been led by faith and conscience into the full communion of the Catholic Church’.

The Society intends to use Aston Hall as a new home for the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary and its vision to make the Society more widely known within the Catholic Church. The rich Catholic history attached to the property will provide a solid foundation for its future development. 

There will also be investment in providing apartments for retired priests, with the Hall being used for retreats and meetings.

Fr Paul Martin, Director of the St Barnabas Society, said: “I am delighted that the Trustees of the Archdiocese of Birmingham have agreed to the offer of the St Barnabas Society for the purchase of Aston Hall, in Staffordshire, as a new home for the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our vision to make the Society more widely known within the Catholic Church.

“We are confident that Aston Hall will provide for all our needs and that the rich Catholic history attached to this property will provide a solid foundation for their future development. 

“May the intercession of St Chad, whose relics were hidden there at the time of the Reformation, of Blessed Dominic Barberi, who made his home there and used it as a centre for his missionary activity, and of the Venerable Ignatius Spencer, who began his novitiate as a Passionist there, help us as we move the Society forward to a fruitful future.

"May that same intercession help the St Barnabas Society to extend the sphere of its activity and, in doing so, assist the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the wider Church in bringing the riches of the Catholic Faith to our society in the 21st Century.”

Archbishop Bernard Longley said: “I am delighted that a sale has been agreed with The St Barnabas Society and that Aston Hall will remain within Catholic ownership.  

"The work of The St Barnabas Society reflects many of the priorities of our Diocesan Vision and I am grateful that the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary have found a new home for their apostolate of prayer within the Archdiocese.

"It is a blessing that Aston Hall will continue to offer accommodation for retired clergy and to welcome those who come on pilgrimage to seek the intercession of Blessed Dominic Barberi.”

Find out more about The St Barnabas Society.

St Barnabas Society