St. Francis Xavier’s College was founded in 1842 by the Society of Jesus. It was opened by Fr. Francis Lythgoe and was to be conducted by masters from and in connection with the Jesuit College at Stonyhurst, near Blackburn.
The school at first occupied a house at 36 Soho Street, but in 1843 it moved to 43 St. Anne Street. Three years later it was established at Salisbury Street, where it was to remain until 1961. The imposing college building, which can still be seen on Salisbury Street, was erected in 1877.
In the years immediately before the Second World War, the decision was taken to move the College from the inner city to a site in the suburbs which could accommodate both the school and playing fields. This led to the purchase of the High Lee Estate at Woolton in 1941.
The playing fields at Woolton were brought into use in 1950 when those at Melwood, West Derby, which had been acquired in 1920, were sold to Liverpool Football Club. Eleven years later, the College moved into its new accommodation at High Lee and the buildings at Salisbury Street were sold to Liverpool City Council.
In 1974 the trusteeship of the College was transferred from the Jesuits to the Brothers of Christian Instruction, who had come to Liverpool in 1961. They are the present trustees and continue to undertake the direction of the school.
In 1983 the College participated in the scheme of re-organisation of Catholic secondary schools in Liverpool. The buildings of the former Cardinal Newman Secondary Modern School on Queens Drive, Childwall, became the lower school of S.F.X., while the buildings at High Lee accommodated the upper school. Since 1983 the school has had a comprehensive intake of pupils from its neighbouring Catholic primary schools.
The opportunity for schools to opt out of local authority control was given by the Education Reform Act of 1988. In February 1989, the parents of boys at the school voted in favour of applying for grant-maintained status. The application was subsequently approved by the Secretary of State, and, in consequence, St. Francis Xavier’s College opened a new chapter in its history in January 1990, when it assumed complete control of its own management with direct funding from the Department for Education.
The College celebrated its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary in 1992 and became a Foundation School in September 1999. From September 2002 the whole school became situated on a single site at High Lee, Beaconsfield Rd. The College acquired Specialist Status as the first Mathematics and Computing College in the City in September 2005 and became a Converter Academy on 1st August 2012.
Although the World has changed immensely since 1842, one thing remains the same and that is the love and care each student receives every single day by our dedicated staff.
St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of the College, was born in 1506 in the Castle of Xavier, a fortress in the Basque country of Navarre.
In 1525 he left Spain for the University of Paris, where he was to remain for eleven years. In Paris Francis Xavier made the acquaintance of Ignatius Loyola, who had plans for the formation of a body of men prepared to put their lives at the service of the Pope. These plans led to the foundation of the Society of Jesus – the Jesuit Order – which was given approval by the Pope in 1540. Francis Xavier, who had been received into the priesthood in 1537, was one of the original members of the new order.
In 1540 Francis was invited by the King of Portugal to lead a mission to the East Indies. In the following year he reached Goa, which he made the base for missionary work in India and Ceylon. Early in 1545 Francis left India for Malacca where he continued the work of conversion. It has been claimed that during this time he brought the Christian Faith to the Philippines.
For many years Francis had the ambition of bringing Christianity to Japan. After much difficulty the mission set out in June 1549, and for the following two years he was engaged in preaching to the Japanese in their own language, which he had learned with some difficulty.
After returning to Goa in 1552, Francis set about organising a mission to China, which set out later in the same year. Francis and his companions reached the island of Sancian off the Chinese coast. However, although he was in sight of the mainland, he could continue no further having incurred an illness which proved fatal. He died in the early hours of Saturday 3rd December 1552, at the age of 46.
A small church on Sancian marks the spot where Francis died, but his body was brought back to Goa where it remains to the present day.
When the Jesuits came to Liverpool in 1842 to set up a school in association with Stonyhurst
College, they dedicated it to St. Francis Xavier. His feast day is celebrated on December 3rd.
The first quarter bears the emblem of St. Francis Xavier’s paternal grandfather, Jassu by name. Although born at Jassu, Francis was surnamed Xavier by his father after the castle where the Saint was born. The castle had been inherited by his mother, Moanna de Asnares. The oak tree represents strength and the bear, cunning.
The family of the maternal grandmother, the Aznares, one of the oldest families of Navarre, are represented in the second quarter by the chequered crescent, again a reminder of the struggles against the Moors.
The maternal grandfather bore the name Azpilcueta, a military family, as is shown by the typical black and white chess board in the third quarter.
The Atondos – the family, of St. Francis’ paternal grandmother – are represented in the fourth quarter. The crescents are probably reminders of victories over the Moors.