10.  'DECENT SIMPLICITY'.

 

'There was, [Mr. Barry] was aware, great difficulty in advocating the cause of Gothic architecture in a verbal manner, because it was a style which appealed to the feelings, and, like all other feelings and aspirations, was very difficult of expression...  [One] advantage which the Gothic style possessed over any other was, that its constructive principles constituted its ornamental beauties, and this was an important consideration where expense was concerned.'

 

                                           The Liverpool Mail, 30th November 1850, p. 6.

                                           Report on the meeting of the Liverpool Architectural and Archaeological Society.

 

 

General Remarks.

 

The laws of applied mathematics make no allowance for geography or economics.  The fundamental principles of sound construction that needed to be taken into account in the office of a prestigious Victorian London architect applied no less to his country cousin eking out a living from cheap commissions in the provinces, and the challenge he faced was a severe one, for while his metropolitan counterpart had money enough for designs that offered no hostages to durability, safety and convenience, while yet displaying the 'characters venerable or beautiful, but otherwise unnecessary' which Ruskin considered alone distinguished architecture from mere building [1], then by this criterion, the provincial architect might have considered himself obliged to choose between flimsy gimcrack architecture on the one hand or plain functionalism on the other, knowing either would be criticised.  Could it ever be possible to acquire an estimable reputation on such a basis?  Was it not inevitable that any client with serious money to spend would turn to the likes of Scott, Street or Butterfield, since the local competition scraping by on bread-and-butter work had had no opportunity to show what they could achieve in equally favourable circumstances?  An example of this in neighbouring Lancashire was Medland Taylor of Manchester (1834-1909), who produced church after church across the county, wherever money was tight, but who was passed over for Street for the more extravagant St. Peter's, Swinton, when the Heywood Manchester banking family wished to memorialise themselves [2].

 

 

In fact, the advantages enjoyed by the metropolitan architect arose in two broad areas, the first of which concerned the resources at his disposal.  He was likely to have had access, should he have desired it, to almost any material the railways and shipping industry could deliver:  a tractable, weather-resistant limestone, possibly from the Jurassic outcrop running from Lincoln to Portland, which could be cut as fine ashlar, for the exterior walls;  perhaps soft pink bricks, more expensive than stone [3], juxtaposed with white stone or vitrified blue brick, for the interior wall facings; a fine-grained freestone for intricate interior carving; coloured marbles, imported from Italy, for furnishings or to be used in marquetry patterns to cover the interior walls of the sanctuary;  the best quality hardwoods from home or abroad; expensive encaustic and wall tiles, metalwork and stained glass.  Any of these could be purchased, transported to the building site, and if the design required it, cut and worked extravagantly in complicated shapes or mouldings, without too much concern for the concomitant wastage.  Contrast that situation with the position of the regional architect, limited to the building stones quarried within a four or five mile radius of the construction site and, perhaps, cheap Memel timber.  Some localities were obviously better placed for the supply of local stone than others, and most were better provided for some purposes than others, but where local resources fell short, then, perforce, the architect made do with what he had.

 

 

Of course, the inexpediency of a course-grained or intractable local building stone could sometimes be ameliorated or, occasionally, even overcome, if there was sufficient money to spend on the additional labour required to dress it, but this involved the second area of advantage enjoyed by the metropolitan architect for he could set aside greater sums for labour costs.  In these circumstances, he was constrained, therefore, only really by his vision, and clients employed him to imply it was their vision also.  Thus Pearson designed the highly-wrought, polychromatic little church at Appleton-le-Moors (1863-5), for Mrs. Joseph Shepherd, the widow of a ship owner, at a cost of £7,000, and Street produced the equally small and towerless, St. Mary's, West Lutton (1873), for Sir Tatton Sykes II, for an astonishing £13,125:

 

'which was altogether too  much for the architect's good.  The design is very full of incident, like an elaborate demonstration model.  Relentless variety in buttressing gives up only at the west end.  Relentless variety of window pattern, indeed of window type matches this, circles, a spherical triangle, tall Decorated, squat Decorated, grouped lancets.  It is a measure of Street's skill that this almost Woodyerian profusion of disparate motifs [4] is wielded into some sort of unity.' [5]

 

 

Both these buildings were raised, moreover, in remote rural settlements, where they were likely to be seen by relatively few.  How could a local man, whose purlieus these might have been,  possibly have competed in circumstances such as these, restricted as he was to less labour-intensive designs and approaches, probably involving greater repetition of the same constructional elements and/or by eschewing all avoidable complexities and structural challenges, both in stone and in wood, difficult to execute and time-consuming to undertake?  Not for him the wall decorated with blank arcading, the carved niches running up the buttresses, the elaborate mouldings around the aisle arcades, the stone vault beneath the porch or tower, or the carved wall plates or decorated openwork spandrels of the nave roof.  If the churches he designed were to achieve any grandeur, it had to be done by the most economic of means.

 

 

Interesting design moreover could often seem pitted against robust construction in an almost unavoidable confrontation where something had to give.  Cheap overwrought churches built by local architects existed a-plenty by the mid-nineteenth century, but the trouble was that they looked it.  Buildings appeared flimsy and etiolated when their mouldings were pinched, their piers too tall for their diameter, their roof scantlings too thin.  Better by far to construct aisle arcades of moderate height and simple design than arches with an elaborate profile and starved dimensions supported on tall narrow piers, with the additional outlay on labour compensated by penny-pinching elsewhere.  It was a lesson some minor architects never learnt.  Instead, for Mallinson and Healey, apropos Mr. Charles Barry, 'ornamental beauties' had to arise, in the majority of cases, directly from 'constructive principles', in combination with a sense of judicious proportion and the sparing use here and there of the occasional more elaborate detail.  This was 'taste' realised at its most austere yet also its most refined, and discerning clients recognised it and correspondingly bought into it.  

 

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

The Stone.

 

To examine these issues in greater detail therefore, sound construction began with the principal building stone and in the West Riding there was plenty of good local Carboniferous sandstone, either within the multifarious strata of the Westphalian Series (Coal Measures) or hewn from the underlying Namurian (Millstone Grit), together misleadingly known to builders as 'York stone' since, in the first place, Carboniferous sandstone does not outcrop near York, and in the second, because there are very considerable differences between the material taken from different horizons, both between the series and within them:

 

'Over much of the region many of these sandstone beds have been given local names by which they are still commonly known and marketed... When the west Yorkshire area was first surveyed by the Geological Survey and other researchers during the 19C, an attempt was made to rationalise the plethora of local names that were being used by attempting to map out and more precisely define their lateral and vertical extents by correlating from outcrop to outcrop. The geological names then chosen for these mapped sandstone units were generally based upon the location of the best exposures of the stone e.g. Ackworth ‘Rock’, Huddersfield ‘White Rock’, Addingham Edge ‘Rock’ etc.  However, despite over 175 years of effort, the complexity of the Carboniferous depositional system of the Pennine area in general, in which these sandstones were deposited, still to some extent defies precise subdivision and correlation.' [6]

 

 

Lithological differences include those in colour (from dull red through grey and yellow to dull blue), grain size (from fine to very coarse), bed thickness and porosity [7].  Where hardness is concerned, durability and workability are usually inversely proportional: a very hard sandstone may be unsuitable for dressings or the construction of a spire, and hopelessly intractable for any form of carving.  In rural areas, stone might be left rock-faced:  for town churches it was 'necessary to avoid rusticity in any way', since, as Street pointed out in The Ecclesiologist in 1850, 'rough walling stones' convey a sentiment 'different from that which the polished and smooth surfaces of the neighbouring buildings demand, and, I think, inferior by reason of its apparent rudeness' [8]. Hardness may, in addition, determine how the masonry is coursed [9].  Possible methods run from (i) 'uncoursed', which is self-explanatory, through (ii) 'brought to courses', where the stonework is brought to a level joint at regular intervals, (iii) 'snecked', where the courses are interrupted by larger stones at intervals, (iv) 'irregularly coursed', where the masonry is fully coursed but the courses are of different heights, and (v), for the best work, 'regularly coursed', where the courses are the same height all the way up the wall.  Obviously only freestones lend themselves to this last and in Mallinson and Healey’s daily practice there was inevitably the question of how much money there was to spend: regular coursing entailed high labour costs as well as the increased wastage of material. 

 

 

Secular buildings could often be constructed with advantage from the nearest stone that was serviceable, which might have the effect of increasing their vernacular attraction.  Churches, however, were expected to appear more urbane.  The few churches by Mallinson and Healey where the precise building stones are known, are shown in the simplified geological table below (table 10a), none of which involved transporting the material very far.  All Saints', Horton, employed the very hard Calverley Wood Stone, complemented with softer Finsdale Stone for the dressings, St. James's, Boroughbridge was built of Rainton Stone with Burton Leonard Stone dressings, and St. Mary & All Angels', Cundall, used Rainton Stone for the dressings, combined with an unknown but presumably inferior stone for the walls.  In regard to the coursing, nearly all Mallinson and Healey’s churches adopted the compromise position of being constructed of stone laid in irregular courses, which look perfectly handsome from a short distance but which can look surprisingly rough and narrow close to, although it is generally impossible to tell whether this is due to the quality of the stone or the limited time invested in dressing it.  Churches where the courses approximate to the same height are (i) St. Paul’s, Thornaby-on-Tees, (ii) the chancel at All Saints’, Ilkley, (iii) All Saints’, Horton, (iv) Holy Trinity, Hepworth, and (v) the Church of the Epiphany, Tockwith.  All Saints’, Horton, and the chancel at Ilkley, were relatively expensive buildings, while the Rough Rock used at Hepworth, is probably the best building stone obtainable from the Millstone Grit.  There is no information on the stones employed at Thornaby-on-Tees or Tockwith.  However, two other buildings each requiring a mention are Christ Church, Barkisland, where the courses are snecked, and St. Alban’s, Withernwick, which is built of pebble rubble, brought to courses at two feet intervals by double courses of brown brick.  

 

Table 10a:  Simplified geological table showing the derivation of some of the stones

employed by Mallinson and Healey [10].

 

 

Geological System

Series

Formation

Church

Permian

Upper Permian

~ unconformity ~

 

 

 

Lower Magnesian Limestone (includes Wetherby Stone and Burton Leonard Stone)

St. James, Boroughbridge, dressings (BLS)

Epiphany Church, Tockwith (WS)

 

 

 

 

299 Ma

Lower Permian

~ unconformity ~

 

Carboniferous

Westphalian

 

 

 

(Coal Measures)

Middle Coal Measures (includes Rainton Stone and Horbury Rock)

St. James, Boroughbridge (RS)

St. Mary, Cundall, dressings (RS)

 

 

 

315 Ma

 

Lower Coal Measures (includes Brusselton Stone (from West Aukland), Elland Flags, Clifton Rock, Calverley Wood Stone, Cropper Gate Stone and Finsdale Stone

St. Mary, Lower Dunsforth (BS)

St. John, Clifton (CR)

All Saints, Horton (CWS)

Holy Innocents, Thornhill Lees (FS)

All Saints, Horton, dressings (FS)

 

Namurian

(Millstone Grit)

Rough Rock (includes Bramley Falls Stone)

St. Mary, Lower Dunsforth

Holy Trinity, Hepworth

 

 

Marsden Formation (includes Huddersfield White Rock)

 

 

 

Kinderscout Grit

St. Thomas the Apostle, Heptonstall

 

 

Lower Follifoot Grit

St. Mary Magdalene, East Keswick

325 Ma

 

~ unconformity ~

 

 

Dinantian

~

 

 

(Carboniferous

Kilnsey Limestone

 

359 Ma

Limestone)

~ unconformity ~

 

 

 

  

None of this addresses either the issue of structural colour or the partners’ use of brick.  Structural colour owed much of its impetus to Ruskin’s essay 'The Lamp of Beauty'.  'I cannot', he wrote,

 

'consider architecture as in anywise perfect without colour.  Further..., I think the colours of architecture should be those of natural stones; partly because more durable, but also because more perfect and graceful.' [11]

 

However, William Butterfield, had got there ahead of him, for at All Saints’, Margaret Street (Westminster), designed c. 1848, he produced an entirely novel building in coloured stone, brick and tile, and established the pattern for the remainder of his career.

 

 

That was all very well for an architect able to import exotic materials from anywhere at home or abroad.  London, in any case, had no local stone of any significance and the need to bring bulk materials from a distance was understood.  This was not a luxury Mallinson and Healey could afford.  They had plenty of good local building stone and it would have been an extravagance to have thought of using anything else.  Besides, a restricted palette could have been acquired from the many sandstone quarries scattered across the West Riding had not the topography precluded the use even of much of that.  As a result, structural polychrome never really developed to any great extent anywhere in West Yorkshire, and for those with the foresight to recognise it, it would have been largely futile anyway, for Carboniferous sandstone accumulates grime more quickly than any other English building stone, and in the polluted air of Victorian Halifax and Bradford, it never really stood a chance.  Butterfield could combine rock-faced Bramley Fall Stone (also laid in irregular courses) from Kirkstall Abbey (Leeds), with imported ashlar, to great effect at Baldersby St. James (1855-7), but this was in the Vale, well away from all the chimneys.

 

 

Rather more surprising, therefore, is the apparent absence (except to the very limited extent described above at Withernwick) of brick in Mallinson and Healey’s buildings - not for churches perhaps, but certainly for schools and domestic buildings.  In fact, they must surely have used it, at least in their industrial work if only for its fire-resistant properties, but it is surprising there is no proof positive of the fact, although curiously, they made at least one serious attempt to make stone look like brick in Thornhill Lees’s parsonage (fig. 10i) [12].  Bricks had to be manufactured and paid for however, and still needed to be transported from the brickfields;  stone could be dug from the ground as near as possible to the building site, and came, very often, free of charge, except, of course, for the labour involved.

 

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

The Wall.

 

In constructing a wall, the minimum size of individuals stones and the number of through-stones employed to tie the inner and outer faces together, had to be considered.  Mallinson made this clear in his specification for his very first church at Queen’s Head.  The wall was to have:

 

'not less [than] seven Through Stones in every Rod of Walling superficial measure and no Wall Stone to be less than 8 inches on bed and 4 inches at the joints.  In the exterior, no Wall Stone is to be less than 3 inches thick and the whole is to be worked to a baval [sic] of ¾ of an inch to a Foot. Such parts of the ashlar as is not marked otherwise is to be 9 inches on bed with through Stones inserted in the Buttresses, Window Jambs, Door Jambs, &c., as shown.' [13]

 

 

This led to the next matter, namely that in raising the wall, the architect had to take account of the thrust that would act against it, which was not, at least in theory, a function of its height (as the weight acted straight downwards) but of the width of the cell behind it, since the principal outward force was due to pressure from the roof.  This was countered by the buttresses, which, aside from the tower, were often most needed to support the walls of the chancel since in the majority of churches of medium size upwards, the nave was effectively buttressed by the aisles.  Most of Mallinson and Healey’s churches were supported by buttresses with two off-sets, commonly placed between every second bay, although St. Phillip’s, Girlington, and the tower at St. Barnabas’s, Heaton, were left entirely unbuttressed (in the latter case, in order to emphasise its elemental geometry), while St. Thomas’s, Heptonstall, and All Saints’, Horton, have additional shallow buttresses between the bays of the nave clerestory.

 

 

When it came to the buttressing of towers, Mallinson and Healey confined themselves to the three basic forms of (i) diagonal buttressing, where a single buttress meets the two walls at the corner at an angle of 135°, (ii) angle buttressing, where two separate buttresses support the corner, each at an angle of 90°  to its respective wall, and (iii) clasping buttressing, where the buttresses entirely enclose the corners of the building.  In mediaeval architecture, diagonal buttressing is most often associated with thirteenth and early fourteenth century work (i.e. work in Early English or Decorated style) and angle buttressing with later buildings (and thus in Perpendicular style), although this is far from being a diagnostic criterion for dating.  In Mallinson and Healey’s work there is no relationship between the method of buttressing and either the style of the tower or its height except that diagonal buttressing was never used for towers taller than 120 feet, as shown in the table below, where the churches are arranged in height order.

 

Table 10b:  The heights and forms of buttressing of Mallinson & Healey’s church towers.

 

 

Church

Height of tower

Form of buttressing

St. John the Baptist's, Clayton

67 feet

angle

St. James's, Boroughbridge

70 feet

diagonal

St. Mary's, Lower Dunsforth

76 feet

diagonal

St. Michael's, Mytholmroyd

87 feet

angle

St. Thomas the Apostle's, Heptonstall

90 feet

angle

All Saints', Salterhebble

120 feet

diagonal

St. John's, Welburn

120 feet

diagonal

St. Mary's, Wyke

120 feet

angle turning clasping

St. Andrew's, Listerhills

128 feet

angle

St. Paul's, Manningham

140 feet

clasping

Holy Innocents', Thornhill Lees

150 feet

angle

St. Mark's, Dewsbury

180 feet

angle

All Saints', Horton

200 feet

angle

 

 

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

 

The Arch.

 

Moving from the outside to the inside of the church, the principal structural feature is, of course, the arch, and here the majority of Mallinson and Healey’s churches had aisles on one or both sides, separated from the nave by continuous arcades, some had tower and transept arches, and all had a chancel arch, quite apart from the arches over doors and windows.  The competent construction of arches, both in their design and in the overseeing of their construction, was thus among the most basic and fundamental requirements of the skill-set of any church architect.

 

 

The arches comprising an aisle arcade consist of two basic parts, namely the arches themselves and the piers that support them (including the responds or demi-piers at each end). They meet at the capital, which has a structural function as well as an aesthetic one, for it is here that the outward thrust of the arch is finally translated into a downward thrust counteracted by the pier. The weight-bearing capacity of the pier is proportional to its cross-sectional area, irrespective of its shape. 

 

 

 

Fig. 10a, St. John the Baptist's, Clayton: 

the interior view looking east.

 

 

Except on rare occasions, Mallinson and Healey confined themselves to three basic shapes for the section of their piers - the circle, octagon and quatrefoil, or a combination of these.  Octagonal piers were probably the best compromise between economy and design for provided they were not raised too high in relation to their section (as at Queen's Head) they were dignified and tasteful while simultaneously conveying a clear impression of strength and solidity.  Only five of the partners' arcades employed a more complicated form than one of these three, as illustrated below and overleaf.  The nave interior at Clayton is shown in fig. 10a and the aisles arcades at Barkisland, Mount Pellon, Heptonstall and Thornhill Lees are illustrated in figs. 10b, 10c, 10d & 6c(ii) respectively.  The capitals to the individual shafts are semicircular at Barkisland and Thornhill Lees but semi-octagonal at Mount Pellon and Heptonstall. At Heaton, in order to conform with the building’s massive 'Ruskinian' exterior, the piers are squat and circular, and decorated by heavy leaf capitals and an integral shaft ring about two-thirds of the way up the pier.  This is probably Thomas Henry and Francis Healey’s work however, and the other church almost certainly by them, at Tockwith, is comparable in style and shows a similar weighty geometry in the chancel and transept arches.

 

 

Diagram X(a): sections of piers used by Mallinson and Healey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This general pattern whereby Mallinson and Healey adopted the same basic but reliable form in most manifestations of a particular feature but would produce something more elaborate for a more expensive job or to enliven a modest building that was plain in other ways, is then repeated in the arch mouldings where the great majority consist of two flat chamfers and just seven or eight others were given a more intricate profile.

 

 

Diagram X(b):  arch mouldings used by Mallinson and Healey.

 

 

 

 

Above left,  fig. 10b, Christ Church, Barkisland:  

S. arcade looking southeast.

 

Above centre,  fig. 10c, Christ Church, Mount Pellon: 

S. arcade looking southeast.

 

Above right, fig. 10d, St. Thomas the Apostle's, Heptonstall: 

S. arcade looking southeast. 

 

 

Arches over doorways again show a limited range in the majority of cases, with the more expensive examples differentiated by an increasingly complex series of mouldings around the arch and jambs enriched with colonnettes of one or more orders in a broadly predictable hierarchy, such that there are two orders at Dewsbury and Heptonstall (fig. 9g(iii)), and three orders with leaf capitals and bands of loose floral decoration around the arches of both the N. and S. doorways at Horton.  However, there are also three orders at Low Moor (fig. 6a) and no less than four at Manningham, where they have deeply carved 'broccoli' capitals and the mouldings around the arch include a line of dog-tooth.  The doorway at Low Moor is atypical in another way for it is trefoil-headed beneath a carved tympanum, which was an arrangement Thomas Henry and Francis Healey copied in chunkier form, six years later at Heaton.  Hood-moulds over all arches, doors and windows are usually simple rolls except above the porch outer doorway at Heptonstall, where two lines of carved birds’ heads run up the dripstone to meet at an ogee point.  Side shafts to windows, with the sole exception of those inside the N. aisle at Manningham, previously mentioned, are to be found only at All Saints’, Horton, Healey’s magnum opus, to be discussed in chapter eleven. The three-dimensional form of the arch is the vault, but the only vaults that seem to have been designed by the partners were the ribbed tunnel vaults beneath the porches at Horton, 'supported' by three-bay blank arcades on the east and west walls, and the former porch vault at the cemetery chapel at Haley Hill, of which no drawing or photograph survives.  If larger vaults were not required at these two most expensive of the partners’ churches  (relative to their different sizes), they were unlikely to have been in demand elsewhere, and whether or not Mallinson and Healey could have provided them had they been asked to do so, is thus a purely academic speculation.

 

 

This study has focused heavily on churches, but a few words might be added here on doors and windows in the partners’ domestic work.  These were usually square-headed or composed, in the case of windows, of two, three or more, equal, two-centred or ogee-pointed lights, often set beneath a conspicuous relieving arch, as at Barkisland, Bradford Laisterdyke and Thornhill Lees parsonages (fig. 10e). This was sometimes seen as an opportunity to add a little decorative carving (as at Laisterdyke and in the chamber storey at Thornhill Lees), but other times, if only to provide variety, the partners preferred to 'hide' the relieving arch by keeping it flush with the wall surface (Thornhill Lees ground floor).

 

 

 

Fig. 10e, St. Thornhill Lees parsonage: 

N. elevation.

 

 

Doorways in domestic work might utilise the space between the relieving arch and the door to allow for a fanlight, albeit not usually as elaborate as the fancy Gothic one at Barkisland.  At other times the relieving arch was judged expendable, as at Ilkley, or the doorway was enclosed in a single-storey projecting porch, as in the parsonage for Low Moor Holy Trinity.

 

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

The Roof.

 

As with masonry coursing, the buttressing of towers, or the design of an arcade, so too with the roof, Mallinson and Healey had their favoured form although here they deviated more often from their standard pattern and also displayed a few major departures.  Roof pitches were sometimes relatively low compared to those of their more famous confrères.  Butterfield, for example, generally pitched his roofs at around 60° so that the principal rafters and tie beams together described a succession of equilateral triangles.  Healey also did this sometimes (the very different St. Stephen’s, Bowling, and All Saints’, Horton, are both examples), but a more usual angle of pitch is that employed for the chancel at Ilkley, at approximately 45°, and a few are still lower - down indeed to as little as 30° internally at Thorner (fig. 10f).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left,  fig. 10f, St. Peter's, Thorner: 

nave roof looking east.

 

Right,  fig. 10g, St. Paul's, Thornaby-on-Tees:  

nave roof looking east.

 

 

In its essentials the partners’ preferred roof frame comprised a pair of purlins, ⅓ and ⅔ of the distance up the pitch, and arch-braced collars joining the principal rafters, yet instead of connecting the collars to the joints between the principal rafters and upper purlins (or even the principal rafters and lower purlins), the collars typically met the rafters halfway up the pitch, the reason for which may have been the simplification of the carpentry since this avoided the complicated three-way meeting of collar, purlin and principal rafter and allowed the collars to be tenoned straightforwardly into the rafters. The nave roofs at St. John the Baptist’s, Clayton, St. Paul’s, Thornaby-on-Tees (fig. 10g) and Holy Trinity, Hepworth, are all examples of this whereas, conversely, the collars do indeed run between the upper purlins at Mappleton and Girlington, and between the lower purlins at Wyke (fig. 10h) and Mytholmroyd.  In all these cases, the sole remaining component of the roof couple often consists of a pair of 'V'-struts rising from the collar (Clayton, Thorner and Wyke).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above left, fig. 10h, St. Mary's, Wyke: 

nave roof looking west.

 

Above right, fig. 10i, St. Mary Magdalene's, East Keswick: 

nave roof looking east.

 

 

Loosely related roof forms include the simple but collarless nave roof at East Keswick (fig. 10i) in which the principal rafters are joined by scissor-bracing with individual braces running from just below the lower purlin on one side to just below the upper purlin on the other.  Conversely at Barkisland (fig. 10j), where there are no purlins and closely placed common rafters without principals, the straight collar braces run through the collars to form scissor bracing above.

 

 

 

 

Fig. 10j, Christ Church, Barkisland:  

chancel roof looking east.

 

 

Another nice roof, and a rare example of tie-beam construction in Mallinson and Healey’s oeuvre, is the nave roof at Thorner, which may owe its form to its predecessor as it existed before renovation.  Here, in a striking example of structural overkill,  the tie beams support both king posts and 'V'-struts, and the heavy principal rafters are doubled a few inches beneath by parallel timbers of identical section, joining the tie beams to the king posts.

 

 

 

 

Fig. 10k, All Saints', Mappleton: 

nave roof looking west.

 

 

St. Peter’s, Thorner, is a relatively small building.  Another elaborate roof in a really quite minor church is the nave roof at Mappleton (fig. 10k), which also has tie beams and the usual double purlins, with collars joining the upper pairs, but where there are also king posts joining the tie beams to the collars, queen posts joining the tie beams to the lower purlins, and a collar purlin linking the collars transversely. This has a very 'boxy' appearance and is further proof, if proof were needed, of Mallinson and Healey’s ability to invent different solutions to the selfsame problem.

 

 

A different structural challenge arose in the case of churches with transepts however, for here Healey had to manage the junction between the nave roof and the transept roofs, which met at right angles at the crossing.  Healey met the challenge at St. Philip’s, Girlington, by intersecting two roof trusses with arch braced collars, each set at 45°  to the nave and transepts (and thus crossing southeast/northwest and northeast/southwest), creating by such simple means an interesting visual focus (fig. K(ii)).  However, Healey may have met his greatest test in roof construction in a problem of his own making, at St. Stephen’s, Bowling, where the sides of the nave roof are continually interrupted by dormers, the crossing had to handle the meeting of a nave, chancel and transepts all of different heights (though Thomas Henry and Francis Healey may have been responsible for this), and the apse had to adapt scissor-bracing to its semi-octagonal form.

 

 

Turning briefly to domestic work again, here Mallinson and Healey seem to have been especially exercised by roof-lines and the attractive composition they could draw by the juxtaposition of unequal gables, sometimes interposed between two parts of the building meeting at different heights.  This was a particular feature of the more elaborate (and presumably more expensive) of their designs for schools, of which St. Andrew’s School, Listerhills, is a particularly fine example (fig. 5b(iii)).  Here, against the N. elevation, there is also an elegant little tower topped by a spire, but where such extravagance could not be countenanced, chimney stacks could be called upon to provide visual interest.   In making such utilitarian features serve an aesthetic function also, a skilful provincial architect could enliven his designs in a thoroughly economic way.

 

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Conclusion.

 

It has been a constant theme of this study that Mallinson and Healey’s architectural practice was, of necessity, a thrifty one, and the scope for imaginative flights of artistic fancy was therefore distinctly limited.  A reputation for sound construction, however, was critical to business success, and this encouraged the partners to adopt the same tried-and-tested, cost-effective solutions to the same structural challenges, as witnessed in their designs for aisle arcades and church roofs.  Thus double-flat-chamfered arches supported on circular or octagonal piers, with ratios of pier width to height between 1:5 and 1:6 [14], could always be relied upon to look sturdy and trustworthy, and a roof formed of collar-braced rafter couples with supporting 'V'-struts, combined the advantages of simple construction with an open and attractive appearance.  It was also possible to create a modicum of variety without departing from these basic arrangements, in the first case, by employing circular and octagonal piers in the same arcade alternately, as at Wyke and Shelf, and in the second, by altering the shape of the struts or the position of the collars relative to the purlins, as at Thornaby-on-Tees and Wyke. More significant variations, either in form or structure, could then be reserved for buildings where either there was more money to spend or else where that feature had been chosen to present one of two or three modest elaborations aimed at lifting a frugal commission above the ascetic, as with the aisle arcades at Mount Pellon, supported on quatrefoil piers with fillets, or the little nave roof at Thorner, with its superfluity of heavy timbers. 

 

 

Then from the very end of Thomas Healey’s life, there is also the example of St. Mark’s church, Dewsbury (figs. 10l), an inexpensive pseudo-cruciform building where almost all the spare money was diverted into the soaring spire surmounting the W. tower, leaving little or nothing over for the interior.  Yet even here, artful distinctions were possible at no additional cost, for whereas the nave roof adopts the favoured collar-beam form, with purlins ⅓ and ⅔’s of the way up the pitch, the chancel roof presents a variation on the theme, merely by omitting the purlins, and the shorter transept roofs present a second, by retaining the purlins but omitting the collars.  Such fine discriminations, seeking always to avoid monotony, did not so much meet Ruskin’s criterion for building to qualify as architecture, as entirely negate it.  Here were edifices which earned a worthy place in the local built environment, not as a result of richly applied ornament but by virtue of subtleties which the viewer recognised intuitively, even without being able to identify them individually.

 

 

 

 

Fig. 10l, St. Mark's, Dewsbury: 

from the southeast.

 

NOTES:

  1. The Lamp of Sacrifice', para. i. (Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture).

  2. See J. Stanley  Leatherbarrow, Victorian Period Piece (London: S.P.C.K., 1954), p. 137, and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of  England - South Lancashire (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969), p. 406.

  3. This was a material particularly favoured by Butterfield.

  4. Henry Woodyer (1816-96), Butterfield's only pupil, was renowned for his excessively elaborate designs, seen at their best at the very fine church of the Holy Innocents, Highnam (Gloucs.), but rarely elsewhere as happily as this.

  5. John Hutchinson & Paul Joyce, George Edmund Street in East Yorkshire  (Kingston-upon-Hull: University of  Hull Department of Art,, 1981), p. 19.

  6. Anon.,  Strategic Stone Study; A Building Stone Atlas of West and South Yorkshire  (English Heritage, on-line, 2012), p. 7.

  7. Anon.,  Strategic Stone Study; A Building Stone Atlas of West and South Yorkshire, p. 8.

  8. George Edmund Street, 'On the proper characterisitics of a town church' (The Ecclesiologist, New Series 45 (December 1850), pp. 227-233), p. 229.

  9. This traditional and hierarchical scheme was first laid out by R.W. Brunskill, half a century ago.  See the Illustrated Handbook of Vernacular Architecture (London: Faber & Faber,1971), p. 39.

  10. Strategic Stone Study; A Building Stone Atlas of West and South Yorkshire, p.3.

  11. 'The Lamp of Beauty',  para. xxxv (Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture).

  12. In particular, there appears not to be a single reference in the local contemporary press linking Mallinson and Healey with brick construction anywhere.  However, since brick was likely to be used for the humbler jobs, these were correspondingly less likely to attract a press report.

  13. Specification for Holy Trinity church, Queen’s Head, 1842 Bradford, WYA, D15/1/4.

  14. John Sidney Hawkins, writing in An History of the Origin and Establishment of Gothic Architecture  (London: J.  Taylor, 1813, p. 220) gives the ratio of the width to the height of clustered columns at Westminster Abbey, erected during the reigns of Henry III (1216-72) and Edward I (1272 - 1307) as about 1:5.  The corresponding  ratio at Mallinson’s first church at Queen’s Head was approximately 1:9.

CHAPTER 11.  ►