Before the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales had given formal permission to Catholics to attend Oxford, a group of Catholic undergraduates found the Oxford University Catholic Club (soon after to be renamed the Newman Society). They meet at the Jesuit Church of St Aloysius (now the Oratory).


Rome responds positively to a petition from the Bishops of England and Wales requesting that attendance of Catholic students at Oxford and Cambridge be tolerated.


The first Chaplain to the Catholic Students is appointed. Fr Kennard takes up residence the following year in Wolsey’s Hospital, St Aldates, rented from Pembroke College. The Chapel on the top floor is dedicated to Bl Thomas More. The Newman Society hold some of their meeting at Wolsey’s Hospital.


The Newman Trust, founded in 1904 to support the Chapel and the Chaplaincy, purchases the Old Palace, in Rose Place, St Aldates. The purchase is made possible by the gift of another Oxford property to the Trust by the Duke of Norfolk.


The Old Palace restorations are completed and Fr Arthur Stapylton Barnes, the fourth Chaplain, moves in. The Chapel is opened on the second floor (the current Assistant Chaplain’s room) and the Newman Society hold their meetings in what we now know as the Blue Room.

Women students at this time, and until the middle of the Second World War, are under the pastoral care of the Holy Child and Sacred Heart Sisters, supported by Jesuits from Campion Hall.


A new Chapel and a meeting room is built. Further expansion is required as the number of Catholic students increases after the Second World War. In 1947 there are 354 Catholic men and 83 women undergraduates resident in Oxford. A new Chapel is added.


Mass is held in the nearby Deaf Centre whilst the site adjoining the Old Palace is redeveloped.


The new buildings that we know today, with the Chapel and the Newman Room and the library and student accommodation, are opened.


And there’s a lot more to the story (please see Fr. Walter Drumm’s The Old Palace, The Catholic Chaplaincy at Oxford, Oscott Series 7, Veritas 1991) and you are now part of it!