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English Church Architecture -

Bradford (U. A.).


GIRLINGTON, St. Philip (SE 140 342)     (September 2017)

(Bedrock:  Carboniferous Westphalian Series, mixed deposits from the Lower Coal Measures)


This is a fine little church of 1859 by Mallinson & Healey, although that is not really evident outside since the building has no tower and not a great deal of presence from the road.  (See the photograph, above left, taken from the southwest.  The photograph, above right, shows an interior view looking west.)  In contrast, interest inside is created by the cruciform plan, the elaborate window traceries in the chancel E. wall and end walls of the transepts, and the way in which Healey (for it was almost certainly he) has managed the junction of roofs above the crossing.  Very attractive also are the marble tiling patterns on the chancel and sanctuary floors and the three sanctuary steps (illustrated below left), while some very good painted decorative work may be seen on either side of the reredos, around the walls of the sanctuary.  All in all, therefore, the overall impression is surprisingly rich and not what one expects of a cheap church of this period.  Perhaps it is the result of money saved from the absence of a tower.


To return to the windows however, the five-light E. window and the four-light transept windows are of Second Pointed (Decorated) form, even though the ogee shape is only employed in minor details.  The E. window (above right) has subarcuated lancet-pointed lights with trefoils in the apices above trefoil-cusping, and a window head filled with quatrefoils and trilobes and various miscellaneous geometrical shapes arranged in a circle.  The transept windows have cinquefoil-cusped lights with cusps alternately circular and pointed, and in the head, two large octfoils, again with alternate foils pointed, trilobes separated by an inverted dagger above, and an encircled cinquefoil with keeled foils in the apex.  None of this is particularly mediaeval-looking, yet the style is clearly that of the mature Decorated period, c. 1325-50, and too late to be unaware of the dogmas of John Ruskin as propounded in The Seven Lamps of Architecture, which had been published a full eight years earlier.  The W. wall of the nave is pierced by three lancet lights, again with subarcuation above trefoil-cusping, and by a wheel window in the gable, formed of five trilobes surrounding a five-petalled flower.  The N. and S. nave windows are two- and three-light respectively, set beneath segmental-pointed arches.



The roofs are good in all parts of the building.  The chancel roof (above) is panelled and the panels, nicely 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 now the collars link opposite corners of the crossing several feet below, supported by arched braces beneath(The photograph below left shows the nave roof, viewed from the west, and the photograph below right, shows the roof over the crossing.)  It is disarmingly simple yet simultaneously ingenious.  Indeed, this little church is altogether an admirable example of the partners’ art - a solid and attractive building that illustrates to perfection precisely what could be achieved on a tight budget.