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.

Our Setting

Our Beginnings

The college was founded in 1842 in association with Stonyhurst College, Lancashire by the Society of Jesus, Roman Catholic religious order.

1842–1843: Soho Street

The college had a rector from 1842 to 1844. It had two pupils.

1843–1845: St. Anne Street

A year later, it had a dozen pupils. Father Francis Lythgoe moved the college to St. Anne Street where it stayed until 1845.

1846–1877: Salisbury Street

In 1844 Father Johnson took over from Father Francis Lythgoe and moved his 24 pupils to the newly opened Presbytery on Salisbury Street. Father Collyns took over the college in 1853.


With more than 50 pupils the rector Father Collyns decided that a new premises was needed. By 1856 the college had its own building built a


longside the Presbytery and in 1877 a new college was built on 6 Salisbury Street.

St Francis Xavier School Liverpool

1877: Second academy building

The newest Salisbury Street building was designed by Henry Clutton, a Catholic architect. He used the designs of Father Vaughan as the bases of his designs. The new college was completed in the summer of 1877 and cost £30,000.

1961: Move to Woolton

In 1961 the college was transferred as a grammar school to its present twenty-six-acre site at High Lee, Woolton. From 1984 to 1990 the Lower School site for Years 7, 8 and 9 was located on Queens Drive (Formerly Cardinal Newman RC) in Wavertree.   Later, the Lower School was re-sited with the Upper School at High Lee.  In September 2000 this site was added to and the De La Mennais Sixth Form Centre was opened.   Building work further took place in 2015 with the addition of a specialist Science block, a state of the art Sport Hall and the redevelopment of Music and Performance classrooms.


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