(« back to home page)

English Church Architecture -

Bradford (U. A.).


WYKE, St. Mary (SE 151 267)     (September 2017)

(Bedrock:  Carboniferous Westphalian Series, Clifton Rock from the Lower Coal Measures)



This large church of 1844 (shown left, from the southwest) was designed by James Mallinson a year before he entered his partnership with Thomas Healey, although Healey may have had opportunity to make modifications before its construction was complete.  Conceivably they were needed for this was only Mallinson’s second church, following on from his less than successful efforts at Holy Trinity, Queensbury in 1843, a building that had let the rain in, and where the tower was already considered to be structurally unsound by 1906, leading to T.H. & F. Healey being commissioned to rebuild it, when they positioned it west of the N. aisle instead of west of the nave.  St Mary’s, Wyke, in contrast, has a southwest tower rising in three stages to a surmounting broach spire lit by a single order of lucarnes set in the cardinal sides, and is otherwise composed of a chancel of three bays with a N. organ chamber and vestry and a small former S chapel, and a tall five-bay nave with lean-to aisles, a N. porch and a second, cross-gabled southwest vestry (i.e. beyond the tower), and appears to have experienced relatively little of the reconstruction work Holy Trinity has suffered.  It similarly adopts a severe First Pointed (Early English) style, however, with lancet windows (sometimes grouped or paired, as in the clerestory, or enriched with an order of shafts in shaft-rings at the sides), notwithstanding that the preferred style of the Ecclesiologists at this time was the flowing Second Pointed (Decorated). Perhaps Mallinson considered First Pointed offered more scope for economy, though he might also have been glad to eschew complicated window traceries, albeit that the partners seem to have been remarkably insouciant of fashion throughout the whole of their professional careers.


Inside the church, the four-bay nave arcades (sic) composed of double-flat-chamfered arches supported on alternately circular and octagonal piers, adjoin to the west the tower on the south side (there is no tower arch) and the vestry on the north side.  The chancel arch carries a roll on the outer order and two minor rolls on each side of the inner order, above two orders of side shafts with deeply carved stiff leaf capitals.  The arch from the N. aisle to the organ chamber and from the S. aisle to the chapel each carry two flat chamfers that die into the jambs.  The nave roof (shown right, looking west) has purlins at the ⅓ and ⅔ stages, collars joining the lower purlins supported by arched braces below, and struts rising from the collars to the second purlins above.  Unusually, the aisle roofs also have two tiers of purlins, and are braced against the arcades.  The chancel roof is similar. 


Decorative work in the building includes the fine marble tiling patterns on the floors and on the steps leading up to the sanctuary (as illustrated below left).  The font (seen below right) is probably original and has trefoil-cusped arches around the circular bowl, separated by diminutive shafts, while the bowl itself is supported on the usual five shafts, comprising one large one in the centre surrounded by four others.