By V. Rev Canon Arthur G Wall (1968)
Aston Hall is situated in Aston, a village two miles south of Stone and about six miles north of Stafford.
The Hall is a delightful home for retired and convalescent priests. It contains bed-sitting rooms for eight priests who dine in community or in their own rooms if indisposed. There is an automatic lift to the bed-sitting rooms.
The Hall was purchased from Major Wenger in 1961 by Cyril Hartley, KSG, who gave it to the Birmingham Archdiocese as a guest house for retired and convalescent priests. Also, priests are welcome who wish to spend a little time and quietness in pleasant country surroundings. The Hall has a large garden, spacious grounds and a field; altogether about six acres.
There is a very charming chapel in the Hall, near the main entrance, which is part of the Passionist Church erected by Blessed Dominic Barberi CP.
The Hall is partly surrounded by a wide and deep moat (now dry). This gives some indication of the life of Aston Hall.
One of the glories of Aston is that with a few exceptions in recent times, it was always the home of good Catholic families. Old families like the Stanleys, Heveneninghams, Simeons and Welds were possessors. Early in the 19th Century there was a community of Franciscans, followed by Brigittine Nuns. Priests and sick living in the Hall find a great joy in living in a place hallowed by our grand old Catholic forefathers who kept the faith for us.
Father Benjamin Hulme was in charge of the Aston parish and lived in the Hall 1838-1842. Shortly after his arrival he was cleaning the Chapel when under the altar he found the lost relics of St Chad. These relics are now the glory of St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham.
In 1842 Father Dominic Barberi CP came to the Hall and lived there until his death in 1849. The Passionist Fathers stayed on for some years and finally went to Sutton, near Preston, taking with them the body of Blessed Dominic.
After the departure of the Passionists the Aston parish was served by seculars. Father Huddleston (later Canon) was appointed Parish priest. He pulled down the old Hall and built the present one, finishing it in 1855. Canon Huddleston died in 1871. In 1909 the Hall was sold to non-Catholics and remained in non-Catholic hands until Major Wenger bought it.