English Church Architecture.
GIRLINGTON (BRADFORD), St. Philip (SE 140 342),
(Bedrock: Carboniferous Westphalian Series, mixed deposits from the Lower Coal Measures.)
An attractive little church by Mallinson and Healey, where all the interest lies inside.
This is a pleasant little church of 1859 by Mallinson & Healey, although the attractions are all inside as the building has no tower and very little presence from the road. (See the photograph above, taken from the southwest.) Internally, interest is created by the cruciform plan, the elaborate window traceries in the chancel E. wall (illustrated below left) and transept end walls, and the way in which Healey has managed the junction of roofs above the crossing. The marble tiling patterns on the chancel and sanctuary floors and the three sanctuary steps are well and carefully designed (as illustrated below left), some very good painted decorative work brings colour and vibrancy to the walls of the sanctuary, and the overall impression is surprisingly rich for a cheap church of this period. Perhaps this was made possible by foregoing a tower.
To return to the windows however, the five-light E. window and the four-light transept windows are essentially late geometric in style, with just the barest hint of the ogee creeping into the minor details. The E. window is composed of five lancet lights with trefoils in the heads (as seen in the photograph), and tracery in the head formed of trefoils and miscellaneous shapes arranged in a circle: it is certainly a little curious yet not unsuccessful. The transept windows are also non-standard: the lights here are cinquefoil-cusped with cusps alternately circular and pointed, and above the springing, the tracery features two large octfoils, again with alternate foils pointed, trilobes separated by an inverted dagger, and an encircled cinquefoil with keeled foils in the apex. None of this could be considered mediaeval-looking, yet the their appearance overall conforms reasonably well with Ruskinian precepts, as propounded in The Seven Lamps of Architecture, published eight years earlier. The nave W. wall is pierced by three lancet lights with encircled trefoils in the heads, and by a wheel window in the gable, formed of five trilobes surrounding a five-petalled flower. The nave windows to north and south are variously two- and three-light, beneath segmental-pointed arches.
The roofs are good in all parts of the building. The chancel roof (shown above) is panelled and the panels, extremely well and carefully painted with texts and symbols on a blue background. The nave and transept roofs have purlins at the ⅓ and ⅔ stages, collars joining the upper purlins, and scissor-bracing above, but it is the way Healey has brought them together over the crossing that is striking, for here the collars link opposite corners of the crossing, several feet below, supported by arched braces. (See the photograph below, looking towards the east.) It is disarmingly simple yet simultaneously ingenious. All in all therefore, this little church is a fine example of Thomas Healey’s art - a solid and attractive building that illustrates to perfection precisely what could be achieved on a tight budget.