At New Hall, students belong to one of eight vertical houses, which form communities and help to create a sense of belonging.
Weekly house meetings provide opportunities for interaction between students from different year groups, enabling students to learn from the experiences of their peers. The house system also helps to foster a healthy spirit of competition between students, as well as giving them the chance to appreciate one another’s talents and abilities.
Opportunities for leadership are also offered through the prefect role of House Captain, enabling year 13 students to develop a wide range of skills.
Click the boxes below to find out more information about each house.
Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 and talents led to him to study at the University of Naples where he became academically distinguished. Though he was surrounded by corruption, Aquinas remained pure and determined to embrace a religious life.
Between 1240 and 1243, he became a member of the Order of St. Dominic. He then travelled to Rome and was captured by his brothers and detained in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca for two years while his family endeavoured to destroy his vocation by tempting him into vice. He was released and returned to the Dominicans who found that he had made great progress through reading widely and praying fervently.
He joined the Friars Preachers with the blessing of Innocent IV and continued his studies in Cologne and Paris. He was ordained a priest in 1250 and frequently preached the Word of God throughout Europe, delivering forceful and instructive sermons. He was very popular and many flocked to hear him preach.
He died on 7 March 1274. Numerous miracles were attributed to him and he was canonised by Pope John XXII in 1323.
Thomas Becket was born in 1118 and was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by Henry II in 1162. Following his appointment, Becket underwent a radical transformation, becoming far more spiritual and developing deep religious convictions.
Henry II had hoped that Becket would help him to extend his influence over the Church and reduce the power of the ecclesiastical courts, Becket refused to do so, instead insisting that it was his duty to defend the liberty of the Catholic Church in England. This led to conflict between the King and the Archbishop, which led to Thomas Becket fleeing to France for a short period.
He returned to England, however, he still had a difficult relationship with the King. When one day in 1170, the frustrated King expressed his desire to be rid of “this troublesome priest”, four knights rushed off to Canterbury Cathedral to kill Becket. Becket therefore sacrificed his life to defend the Catholic Church and for this he was canonised by Pope Alexander II.
Cary House is named after Frances Cary, who was from Essex and played a key role in the foundation and development of New Hall School alongside Susan Hawley.
In Sixteenth Century England Catholics faced persecution as a result of the English Reformation and Catholic schools and teaching was effectively outlawed during the reign of Edward VI. Men who wished to attend Oxford and Cambridge even had to undergo a religious test to ensure they were not Catholic. This meant the only real way to receive a catholic education was to travel abroad to the various colleges that had been established throughout Europe, however, this meant that their property in England would be confiscated by the government.
Susan Hawley had travelled to Tongres near Liege, Belgium, in 1641 to join the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre and she was joined there by Frances Cary at Christmas. The two women decided to found a religious community at Liege and set out to do so on 8th October 1642, founding our school over 370 years ago. Therefore, both Susan Hawley and Frances Cary show how the courage and determination of two young women can have a lasting impact.
Saint John Fisher defended the Catholic faith against many challenges in the sixteenth century. He possessed many admirable qualities and is a powerful example of the need to stand up for what we perceive to be right and just.
During the reign of Henry VIII, Bishop Fisher refused to accept that Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon should be annulled and refused to recognise Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church in England. Consequently, he was arrested in April 1534 and imprisoned in the Tower of London before being beheaded on June 22 1535.
Fisher was a devout Catholic who was ultimately prepared to sacrifice his own life rather than compromising his belief in what was right and just. In recognition of his martyrdom, Fisher was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1886 and canonised by Pope Pius XI in 1935, making him a saint. Catholics celebrate his feast day on 22 June every year.
John Henry Newman developed an early passion for reading the Bible and, at fifteen, developed an interest in the ideas of John Calvin. He was ordained in 1824 and became curate of St. Clement’s at Oxford University.
He soon found that the Calvinist views he had been brought up with disappointed him and began to take an interest in the Catholic elements of the English Church. After much intellectual consideration, Newman accepted that the modern Roman Catholic Church was the legitimate evolution of the early church and that the Protestant Reformation represented an unjustifiable break in that development. In October 1845, John Henry Newman was received into the Roman Catholic Church and then went to Rome to be ordained to the priesthood. In 1879 Pope Leo XIII made him Cardinal-deacon of St. George in Velabro.
He died in 1890 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, having been deemed responsible by intercession for the miraculous recovery of Deacon Jack Sullivan from a spinal cord disorder in 2001 after he had prayed to Cardinal Newman for a cure.
Nicholas Owen was born in Oxford and worked as a carpenter. He became a Jesuit, entering the Society of Jesus some time before 1580.
He was imprisoned after he spoke out against the death of Edmund Campion who had been hanged drawn and quartered for his Catholic beliefs on dubious charges of treason. However, he was soon released and served Fathers Henry Garnett and John Gerard on their secret missionary work in England. He spent his time constructing hiding holes for Catholic priests throughout England to prevent them being captured by the Protestant authorities. He was captured along with Father John Gerard in 1594 but managed to escape. He was arrested again in 1606 and was subjected to terrible torture on the rack, however, he refused to give up the names of any of the Catholics he had helped.
He died as a result of the torture he suffered and was canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. His feast day is celebrated by Catholics on 25 October every year.
Henry VIII appointed Margaret Pole the Countess of Salisbury and considered her the saintliest woman in England. She was appointed governess of the Princess Mary and her household.
However, when Henry sought an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, he was boldly opposed by Margaret’s son Reginald Pole, who then left England. Following the King’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, Margaret herself opposed Henry VIII’s decision to make Mary illegitimate and force her to accept his new marriage and title and was forced to resign her post. Though she returned to court following Anne Boleyn’s fall, in 1538 Cardinal Reginald Pole sent Henry a book in which he attacked the King’s decisions. Henry was furious, but since he could not get his hands on Reginald Pole, he took it out on his family. In the November, two of Margaret’s other sons were arrested, along with other relatives, on charges of treason and all except one were executed in January 1539.
In May 1539, an act of attainder was passed against Margaret for aiding and abetting her sons Henry and Reginald and having ‘committed and perpetrated diverse and sundry other detestable and abominable treasons’. She was imprisoned in the Tower of London for two years and executed on May 28 1541 by an inexperienced axe-man who did a poor job, causing her great pain and suffering in her final moments.
In 1886 she was beatified by Pope Leo XIII as a martyr for the faith
Robert Southwell was born in Norfolk, England in 1561. In 1580, he joined the Society of Jesus and began his studies in Philosophy and Theology at the Jesuit College in Rome.
In 1586, Southwell travelled to England as a Jesuit missionary with Henry Garnet, moving from one Catholic family to another. In 1589, he became domestic chaplain to Anne Howard, whose husband, the first earl of Arundel, was in prison convicted of treason. After six years of missionary labour, Southwell was arrested.
He was in the habit of visiting the house of Richard Bellamy, who lived near Harrow and was under suspicion on account of his connection with Jerome Bellamy, who had been executed for sharing in Anthony Babington’s plot to kill Elizabeth I. Southwell was subjected to extended periods of torture and imprisoned in the Tower of London for three years, but refused to reveal any information about those he had been visiting. He was finally executed in February 1595 and was canonised in 1970.