In 1811 Lady Stafford from Costessey Hall took the first steps to get a Roman Catholic Church built in Costessey; sadly it wasn’t built until 1841, nine years after her death. She was also the prime mover in founding the Catholic school in the village. Lord Stafford built the master’s house and school in 1820 and maintained them entirely at his own expense. The Lancastrian system of education was introduced whereby elder pupils assisted with the instruction of the younger ones. Initially lay teachers taught in the school but due to the difficulty in retaining them, the school was closed for a time.
In 1871, at Lord and Lady Stafford’s request, the Mother General of St. Paul’s Convent, SellyPark, Birmingham agreed to send a small community of teaching sisters to take over the running of the school. They established themselves in the house adjoining the school where they stayed until September 1874. They returned in 1877 to the Master’s House, which subsequently became known as the Convent.
In 1918 the Stafford Estate was put up for sale including the impressive Costessey Hall. Lord Stafford made his final break with Costessey in 1925 and the school was handed over to Cannon McShee who served as the parish priest of Our Lady & St. Walstan for 40 years between 1925 and 1965. During this time the responsibility of maintaining and running the school was taken over by the Parish. The congregation made many sacrifices to ensure that the school prospered and grew.
In 1976 a centenary celebration marked the long stay of the Sisters of Charity and St. Paul in Costessey. Shortly after, the nuns left the convent and it was sold to its present occupier in 1983.
The school has been extended and improved several times in its long history. Part of its unique atmosphere stems from the building itself, which gives a feel of tradition and continued development. The original schoolrooms coexist next to more modern extensions. Our Nursery was custom built in 2003 and the new entrance and offices were completed in 2009.
The school recently expanded its accommodation to provide added Hall space and further teaching areas. Building work was completed by the Summer Term 2013.