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English Church Architecture -

Bradford (U. A.).

 

QUEENSBURY, Holy Trinity (SE 101 301)     (September 2016)

(Bedrock:  Carboniferous Westphalian Series, Elland Flags from the Lower Coal Measures)

 

This was the first church ever designed by James Mallinson (1818-84), who was given the commission at the age of twenty-four, notwithstanding that he seems to have had little to commend him at that time, either in training or experience.  The foundation stone was laid on Easter Monday 1843, in a ceremony which, according to The Halifax Guardian and Huddersfield & Bradford Advertiser for the 22nd April, 1843, was marked by rowdyism and organised disruption from Chartists and local pranksters, but building proceeded rapidly thereafter, although the church was not consecrated until August 1845, when the same paper (for 30th August) described the new church as

"built in the style which prevailed in the 13th century, generally termed early English, and [composed] of a nave and aisles, chancel, north porch, sacristy or vestry, and tower at the west end.  The nave and aisles have open boarded roofs of lofty pitch, consisting of trusses filled with tracery over each pillar of the nave: the entire timbers are exposed to view, after the ancient method, and are stained of a dark hue;  the roof of the chancel is vaulted.  The interior length of the church is 84 feet, and the width 48 feet 6 inches".

A drawing of the church as it then appeared, hangs in the S. aisle (as shown above).

 

By no means all of this building survives to the present day.  The chancel and vestry were replaced a mere forty years later (i.e. in 1885, just one year after Mallinson's death), by Thomas Henry and Francis Healey, because the original accommodation was by this time considered inadequate, and in 1906, the tower, which "seemed to have been somewhat faulty in construction when erected", was discovered to be in a dangerous state and, as a result, taken down and reconstructed at the west of the N. aisle (as opposed to the nave, where it had stood before) using some of the old materials.  This leaves Mallinson's nave and the independently-gabled aisles still intact.  The six-bay aisle arcades appear somewhat slender for their height, but the impression of flimsy construction is mainly the fault of the roofs (see the nave roof, below left), framed with tie beams supporting king posts and five pairs of queen posts of very narrow scantling, rising to principal rafters unsupported by collars and with a single pair of purlins halfway up the steep pitch. It looks as if it might be of doubtful stability, although it has clearly passed the test of time, but its original construction was obviously substandard, for the Rev. John Carter Hyatt, Queensbury's long-serving and long-suffering perpetual curate from 1858 to 1905, complained in a letter dated 1860, that "for many years before my appointment as Curate in 1858 the Church had become perfectly useless, for the rain penetrated its roof, and the floor rotted, so that not only was there no congregation,... but the fabric of the Church itself was unfit for decent performance of Divine Worship".  However, with T.H. & F. Healey's new east end, and the solidly constructed northwest tower (illustrated below right), rising in three stages to double bell-openings, a prominent corbel table and castellated corner pinnacles, perhaps also by the Healey brothers, it has held its place as one of the notable buildings of a township that grew out of a few rough houses with the development of the early Victorian worsted industry.