History of the House and its Patron
In 1922 Cardinal Francis Bourne decided to reorganise the College by introducing the House system. He wanted St Edmund’s to have the same internal structure as Catholic schools had had before the Reformation, and so he founded three Houses:
All three Houses being named after Bishops associated with the history of the College.
Our House is named after Bishop Richard Challoner, who was Head of the Catholic Church in England during the second half of the 18th century. When our school, then situated in Hampshire, had to be shut down in 1745, it was Bishop Challoner who re-opened it in Hertfordshire in 1749. For that reason he has always been remembered in the College, and it was entirely appropriate that Cardinal Bourne should choose him to be a Patron of one of the Houses.
Historians describe Challoner as gentle and cheerful; able to restore confidence in others and generous to the poor. He showed respect for all people, whatever their rank.
As a person in authority, Challoner was strict, yet understanding when he had to correct others. He placed great emphasis on courtesy, striving to be a true Catholic gentleman. These are surely the qualities he would expect in those who have him as their patron, and they are certainly the qualities which the staff and students of Challoner House strive to attain.
Each year, we remember Bishop Challoner at the House Dinner on or near the anniversary of Challoner’s birth on 29 September (also College Foundation Day, and the anniversary of the foundation of the House by Cardinal Bourne in 1922).
We start the evening with a High Mass in the College Chapel, and then proceed to the College Refectory for a Formal Dinner. This is always a pleasant occasion, and having it so early in the school year helps to emphasise the House spirit, ensuring newcomers are welcomed and fully integrated.
House Master – Mr Adam Cunnah