Lepoglava was first mentioned in 1399. A year later Herman II, Count of Celje, founded the monastery of hermits of St. Paul. Not long after, Paulines arrived in Lepoglava, and remained here until 1768.
In 1582 Paulines founded the first public grammar school in Croatia, while in 1656 they started offering studies in philosophy and theology. Status of the first Croatian university has been awarded to them in 1674, and it is assumed that approximately 75 doctorate dissertations were obtained in Lepoglava.
With the arrival of Paulines, Lepoglava became the cradle of science, arts and history. In 1786, when Paulines were banished from Lepoglava, all cultural and scientific activities died out.
The monastery was turned into a prison in 1854, and remained as such until 2001, when it was returned to the diocese of Varaždin.