Sketch of Sedgley Park 1826



Cotton College began as the Sedgley Park School. It was founded in 1763 by Bishop Challoner. After 110 years the school left its first home near Wolverhampton and moved to Cotton Hall, near Oakamoor in 1873 where it was known as St Wilfrid's College, Cotton until the mid 1900's.

Before that Cotton Hall had had an interesting history of its own. It had been owned by the Gilbert family for generations. The date 1630 is clearly cut in the cellars. In 1843 when the family died out, Cotton was bought by the Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1846 he offered it to Faber and his fellow converts and Newman joined him there. Within a month of their arrival, the foundation stone of the church designed by Pugin was laid. Faber said his first mass at Cotton in 1847. He built a shrine to our Lady of Salette at the head of the Cotton Valley.

Cotton College had been an exclusively boys boarding school up to the 1980'a when girls were admitted for the first time. The school survived until 1987 when it was closed by the Archdiocese.

The photograph below of Cotton College taken in 1933 shows, from right to left; St Wilfrid's Church (1847), Fr Faber's extension (c1860), The original Cotton Hall (c1601), The Souter Wing runs at 90 degrees to Cotton Hall (1874), the Hawksford Wing (1887) and St Thomas' to the far left (1932). The annex to the south of the Souter Wing was added in 1924. Fabers was not built until c1960.