(« back to home page)

English Church Architecture.


QUEENSBURY (formerly Queen's Head), Holy Trinity  (SE 101 301),


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


The first church designed by the West Yorkshire architect, James Mallinson (1818-84).




One of the subjects examined by this web-site is the near-complete oeuvre of a little-known but regionally dominant, mid-nineteenth century architectural firm specialising in ecclesiastical work, in order to discover how they built their local reputation, how they maintained a financially competitive edge and sustained a very busy practice with few or no staff, and what 'success' looked like in terms of monetary reward and the provincial architect's acquired position in Victorian society.  The firm chosen is the partnership between James Mallinson and Thomas Healey (fl. 1845-62/3), who worked out of offices in Halifax and Bradford.  The majority of the extant church buildings for which the partners were responsible are listed below and should ideally be examined in chronological order.  They are:

  1.  Queensbury, Holy Trinity (Bradford)  (1843)  (Mallinson alone) 19. East Keswick, St. Mary Magdalene (Leeds) (1856)
  2.  Wyke, St. Mary (Bradford)  (1844)  (Mallinson alone) 20. Claremount, St. Thomas (Calderdale) (1857)
  3.  Clayton, St. John the Baptist (Bradford) (1846) 21. Clifton, St. John (Calderdale) (1857)
  4.  Baildon, St. John the Baptist (Bradford) (1846) 22. Salterhebble, All Saints (Calderdale) (1857)
  5.  Manningham, St. Paul (Bradford) (1846) 23. Thornaby-on-Tees, St. Paul (Stockton-on-Tees) (1857)
  6.  Mytholmroyd, St. Michael (Calderdale) (1847) 24. Thornhill Lees, Holy Innocents (Wakefield) (1858)
  7. Bankfoot, St. Matthew (Bradford) (1848) 25. Bugthorpe, St. Andrew (East Riding) (1858) (nave only)
  8. Shelf, St. Michael & All Angels (Bradford) (1848) 26. Bowling, St. Stephen (Bradford) (1859)
  9. South Ossett, Christ Church (Wakefield) (1850) 27. Girlington, St. Phillip (Bradford) (1859)
10. Barkisland, Christ Church (Calderdale) (1851) 28. Lower Dunsforth, St. Mary (North Yorkshire) (1859)
11. Boroughbridge, St. James (North Yorkshire) (1851) 29. Welburn, St. John (North Yorkshire) (1859)
12. Langcliffe, St. John the Evangelist (North Yorkshire) (1851) 30. Ilkley, All Saints (Bradford) (1860) (chancel only)
13. Cundall, St. Mary & All Saints (North Yorkshire) (1852) 31. Horton, All Saints (Bradford) (1862)
14. Heptonstall, St. Thomas the Apostle (Calderdale) (1853) 32. Hepworth, Holy Trinity (Kirklees) (1862)
15. Mount Pellon, Christ Church (Calderdale) (1854) 33. Dewsbury, St. Mark (Wakefield) (1862)
16. Thorner, St. Peter (Leeds) (1854) (partial reconstruction) 34. Heaton, St. Barnabas (Bradford) (1863) (Mallinson with T.H. Healey) 
17. Withernwick, St. Alban (East Riding) (1854) (reconstruction) 35. Tockwith,  Church of the Epiphany (North Yorkshire) (1863) (as above)
18. Mappleton, All Saints (East Riding) (1855) (not the tower)  




James Mallinson was born on the 18th February 1818, the third son and child of Hugh Mallinson (b. 1776/7?), landlord of the Wellington Hotel, Brighouse, and Ann Avison (born 1790), who were married in St. John's church, Halifax, on the 6th May, 1810.  The couple had four children: John (born 2nd December, 1812), who eventually succeeded as landlord at the Wellington Hotel in turn to both his father and mother;  William (born 17th December, 1815); James, the future architect, baptized at St.-Anne's-in-the-Grove, Southowram, on the 15th March, 1818; and another Hugh (born 18th February, 1821).  The only clue to James Mallinson’s education and professional training is to be found in a bald statement of his father’s death in both the Leeds Intelligencer and the Leeds Times for 27th July 1839, suggesting the son was already better known to the readership than the father: 'On Monday last, aged 62, Mr. Hugh Mallinson, of Brighouse, of consumption, and father of Mr. Mallinson, late with Mr. Rawsthorne, architect of Bradford'.


This can only have been Walker Rawstorne (d. 1867), who was in practice in Halifax Road, Bradford, in 1835 and at North Parade in 1844, and who regularly seems to have had an 'h' unwantedly inserted in his name.  Rawstorne designed or enlarged at least nine churches in West Yorkshire, including St. James’s, Manchester Road, Bradford (1836), where Mallinson and Healey later built a school, and St. Paul’s, Buttershaw (1838), St. Mary’s, Burley-in-Wharfedale (1841), and St. Luke’s, Eccleshill (1842), for which the partners later built parsonages.  Rawstorne’s only recorded church built outside the county, at Burnley in Lancashire, illustrated to perfection his seriously outmoded style,  for although not designed until 1846, it was planned like an eighteenth century 'preaching house' of the type Pugin and the Ecclesiologists had spent the previous decade railing against, comprising a simple square for the nave and no chancel save only for a shallow, lens-like recess housing the altar table at the east end. This was, admittedly, seven years after Mallinson had left Rawstorne’s office and the only churches known to have taken shape on the drawing board during the period of his apprenticeship were St. James’s, Manchester Road, St. Paul’s, Buttershaw, and possibly the unexecuted reconstruction of the parish church of St. Andrew’s, Keighley.  Mallinson’s age on departure (if he left in 1839, he was twenty-one or nearly so) suggests he served seven years with Rawstorne, for it was usual for pupils to enter apprenticeships at the age of fourteen or fifteen:  Robert Dennis Chantrell was fourteen when he was articled to Sir John Soane in 1807, as was John Loughborough Pearson when he was apprenticed to Ignatius Bonomi in 1831.


Rawstorne was first engaged by the building committee at Keighley on 22nd April 1839 and given the brief of improving the church and increasing the accommodation. The Incorporated Church Building Society offered a conditional grant of £400 towards the reconstruction but J.H. Good, the ICBS's grumpy architect who held the post from 1829-48 as well as the equivalent post for the Church Commission from 1826-57,  criticised the proposed form of the roof, declaring the rafters and purlins to be too far apart and demanding amendments and the resubmission of the plans.  This may have been prophetic of the problems Mallinson would experience a few years later at Queensbury.  Rawstorne made the required changes, but then the building committee decided the contractor’s estimate for executing the work (of £3,500) revealed the improvidence of the entire scheme in view of the mere 430 extra seats expected to be created, and gave the job to Robert Dennis Chantrell (1793-1872).  Christopher Webster’s observations on Rawstorne’s plans and drawings (R. D. Chantrell and the architecture of a lost generation, Reading, Spire Books Ltd., 2010, pp. 211-213) are that they 'reveal an old-fashioned design: the inelegant elevations emphasise the two-storey nature of the interior [resulting from the addition of galleries], there are huge transepts and a shallow chancel.'  However, this is mild criticism beside Pevsner’s censure of Rawstorne’s churches at Manchester Road and St. Jude Street, Manningham (both still standing when the West Riding volume of The Buildings of England was first published by Penguin in 1959 [p. 127]), and even allowing for Pevsner’s general fastidiousness, it is evident Rawstorne’s office was far from the ideal training ground for a prospective church architect destined to pursue his career during the most earnest and contested phase of the Gothic Revival.


Mallinson made the decision, on leaving Rawstorne’s office, to establish his own independent business in his native town of Brighouse.  The population of Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse was only 5,411 in 1841, and that of Rastrick, on the opposite bank of the River Calder, just 3,459, but there were no other self-declared architects in either and only one other land surveyor, and Mallinson may have considered his best prospects lay among people he knew.  His first recorded job, in August 1840, saw Mallinson, 'Architect and Land Surveyor', working as a letting agent (The Leeds Mercury, 29th August 1840, p.1) but his apparent indecision about his most appropriate career description and/or direction is suggested in his next appearance in the press, in December the same year (The Leeds Mercury, 5th December 1840, p.2), when he styled himself simply as a 'land surveyor' in an advertisement drawing attention to a mill site he had surveyed and divided into lots in readiness for an auction. However, by October 1841 he was an 'Architect and Land Surveyor' again (The Leeds Intelligencer, 16th October 1841, p. 2), albeit only in a similar notice relating to another estate.


This was also the time when Mallinson received a formative lesson likely to have deterred him from taking part in architectural competitions in future years.  A correspondence reproduced between Mallinson and other interested parties describes how he along with eleven others, entered a competition to design the pump room at High Harrogate in June 1841, only to find that upon seeing Mallinson's competition entry set out on display, one of the other candidates, apparently known locally and favoured by some of the adjudicators, promptly added the central feature of Mallinson's design (a dome) to his own work and resubmitted it, whereupon it was duly chosen (The Civil Engineer and Architects Journal, issue 5, 1842, p. 65). Thereafter neither Mallinson's indignant remonstrances, nor the letters from his few supporters on the committee, succeeded in overturning this overtly corrupt decision and Mallinson had eventually to content himself with publishing the exchange of letters, together with the names of the committee members who were for and against the decision, along with their occupations, in order, perhaps, to show that he was supported by the local incumbent, a magistrate, the proprietor of the Cheltenham pump room, a 'gentleman', a wine merchant and an innkeeper, and opposed by a wine merchant, four innkeepers, a milkman, a plumber, a baker, a druggist, a porter, and a coach-builder.


Fortunately Mallinson’s first big break came soon after this debacle, probably through his connection with Rawstorne, when in 1842 he received the commission to design a new church at Queen’s Head (the former name for Queensbury), a bleak hilltop settlement a thousand feet above sea level, where John Foster (1799-1878) had established a worsted business now expanding rapidly under the style of Black Dyke Mills.  The building (shown in the early drawing below left by an unknown artist, viewed from the northeast, and in the photograph below right, as it appears today after the rebuilding of the tower, viewed from the northwest) would eventually be paid for by a combination of grants from the Church Building Commission, the Ripon Diocesan Church Building Society and the ICBS, and 'the exertions of several resident gentlemen', among whom 'Mr. [John] Foster... deserved] especial mention'.  Industrialist and architect would have met, if not before, during the planning and construction of the building, and the Foster family would subsequently rank among Mallinson’s most loyal clients, engaging him on work at Black Dyke Mill, c. 1850, on their various houses and  associated outbuildings, on Sandbed workers’ cottages in 1853, and possibly in 1865, three years after Thomas Healey’s death, helping to secure Mallinson’s appointment on Queensbury National School.


Mallinson’s drawings for Holy Trinity church, Queen’s Head, appear not to have survived, but the lengthy specification is extant and describes in detail the work of the excavators and masons, carpenters, plasterer, plumber and glazier, and painter, before concluding with a list of conditions.  The document was copied out in the large, firm hand of Mr. B(?) Clarke, Mallinson’s assistant, and still Mallinson and Healey’s only regular employee over a decade later before he eventually left their employ for Newcastle in March 1856.  The church was raised from start to finish inside a year but the consecration was delayed until 29th August, 1845.  The Halifax Guardian and Huddersfield & Bradford Advertiser for 30th August 1845 recorded that it was:

'...built in the style which prevailed in the 13th century, generally termed early English [sic], and consists 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.'


Only a part of this building survives to the present day for the chancel and vestry were enlarged by Thomas Healey's sons, Thomas Henry and Francis Healey, in 1885, and the tower was found to be in a dangerous state in 1906, resulting in its dismantling and rebuilding (at the W. end of the N. aisle instead of the W. end of the nave), having been judged 'to have been somewhat faulty in construction when [first] erected' (Rev. A. Ridings and B. Holdsworth, The Parish Church of Holy Trinity, Queensbury, Centenary Souvenir, undated, pp. 5-6). This leaves Mallinson's nave and independently-gabled aisles available for inspection today.  (See the photograph of the church interior below, viewed from the west.)  The piers supporting the six-bay arcades appear too slender for their height and the impression of flimsy construction is exacerbated by the roofs, which are framed with tie beams supporting king posts and five pairs of queen posts of inadequate scantlings, rising to principal rafters without collars and just a single pair of purlins to prevent transverse movement, halfway up the pitch.  (The nave roof is shown again at the foot of the page, this time viewed from the east.)  They certainly look insubstantial, even though they have stood the test of time, but the original workmanship was undoubtedly faulty for the Rev. John Carter Hyatt complained in 1860 in an appeal for help in building a parsonage 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'.  There was obviously considerable exaggeration here, borne in the attempt to elicit local sympathy, but at least some members of the township would have known the true situation and it was a poor commendation of a building raised just fourteen years before!


Perhaps the building's failings were the result of inadequate oversight of the workmen as construction proceeded, or perhaps they were the result of accepting too low a tender from a carpenter or tiler who then skimped the job to avoid working at a loss.   The system of contracting in gross also made it essential that the architect drew 'up the specification... to cover every part of the design and all contingencies, complete with working drawings, and clear of ambiguities before operations were begun' (M.H. Port, 'The Office of Works and Building Contracts in Early Nineteenth Century England' in The Economic History Review, New Series 20/1, 1967, pp. 97-98) and although Mallinson's specification seems fairly comprehensive, a lack of experience could have left omissions here.  The run-off of rainwater, however, was to be ensured by making the fall of the gutters 'not less than one inch and a half in every ten feet'.  The building's specification laid out that the roofs were to be covered with:

'[the] very best Northowram river Grey Slates upon Laths of good red wood Deal, 22 out of a Plank, nailed to Spars with wrought Iron Nails soaked hot in oil.  The Slates are to have 3 ins. lap at the Eaves and 2 ins. at Ridges, the intermediate courses diminishing gradually upwards and hung with Oak pegs... The Ridges to be covered with good sound Ridge Stones worked truly to the Pitch of the Roofs according to Drawings to be given hereafter, and laid cement [sic], well jointed and put together in a satisfactory manner.'


And yet it leaked, virtually from day one.  Clearly this was not the most auspicious of starts.