The Castle itself is a grade II listed neo-gothic building designed by A.W. Pugin and built in 1847. This existing castle lies within the ruins of the medieval castle c.1176, which is a grade I listed scheduled ancient monument.
The site has a long history of working with children as the Rev. Henry Winter who was in charge of the schools and hospital from 1840 appealed to the Sisters of Mercy at the convent in Cheadle to take charge of the Alton School and to look after the sick. They arrived in 1855. The school continued within the Catholic Church and in 1896, the Preparatory School for boys opened. The school finally closed in 1989 and the Castle and grounds fell into a state of disrepair.
In 1995, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham purchased Alton Castle with a view to developing a residential centre for young people. The Castle and grounds underwent extensive renovations and opened on the 9th September 1996. It was fully booked in it's first year. Since this first successful year, ongoing investment and development has ensured the continued success of the centre, which now provides retreat experiences for over 8,000 children every year. These retreat experiences are significant to the young people and support staff who are able to develop personally, socially and spiritually under the guidance of a team of young people who give a year of their lives to work as Mission Team Volunteers.
In order to maintain the Castle and grounds and to enable the long term success of the centre, fundraising is essential and ongoing. The Castle also generates income for essential operational costs through its wedding and accommodation hire. If you're interested in helping to support our ongoing youth ministry, head over to our 'support us' page.
What we offer
We offer residential (2 night) retreat experiences for young people aged 9-14 (Year 5 to Year 9), team building day retreats for all ages, and day retreat experiences for those aged 7 and up, to prepare young people for the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Whether you are looking to come for the day or stay overnight, we have the programme to meet your needs! We offer day visits and residential visits; all uniquely tailored to suit the group's needs! Our programmes encourage young people to encounter Christ, deepen their understanding of their place in the world and have fun! Follow the links below to explore more!