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English Church Architecture.


WYKE, St. Mary  (SE 151 267),


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


The second 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)  




Fortunately, following Mallinson's limited success with his work at Queensbury, he received another three commissions before any shortcomings at Holy Trinity had had time to show up, namely for a new church at Wyke and for National Schools at Manningham and Elland.  Mallinson was working on the designs for St. Mary’s, Wyke, in 1844 but progress appears to have been slow.  The site was a long time in preparation for, as the Rev. William Houlbrook explained in a letter to the Incorporated Church Building Society on the 30th November 1844 (Lambeth Palace Archives, ICBS 3529) 'its stability [was] endangered by the mines which have already been opened or may be opened near it'.   However Mallinson himself seems to have been partly responsible for the delay himself for in his next letter on the 8th January 1845 (Lambeth Palace Archives, ICBS 3539), Houlbrook complained of Mallinson’s failure to complete the work promptly and apologised for his own miscalculation of the church’s expected accommodation.  J.H. Good, the Incorporated Church Building Society's architect, did not respond to either of these points directly in his reply but stated that before any grant could be awarded: (i) the plans would have to be amended to increase the thickness of the clerestory walls; and (ii) an additional drawing would have to be submitted to his office showing the proposed construction of the aisle roofs on a scale of half an inch to the foot.  This was possibly no more than Good's customary display of awkwardness but Mallinson may also have been struggling a little.  He was simultaneously drawing up plans and elevations for Elland National School, the original set of which in neat Tudor style, are signed and dated March 1845 (as may be seen in the Victoria & Albert Museum RIBA collection, cat. PB432/18), yet neither this nor St. Mary's church appear to have been completed until after Mallinson formed his partnership with Thomas Healey in June or July since a second set of drawings of the school exists also, dated August 1845 and signed this time by Mallinson and Healey.  Additions and revisions include a bell-côte over the cross-gabled central bay, a decorative chimney stack at the southwest angle, a fan-light above the door, and a dripstone over the three-light transomed upper window, to say nothing of a datum line.  It is, of course, impossible to tell whether these alterations were due to Healey or represented second thoughts by Mallinson but the second set certainly shows greater refinement.


St. Mary’s, Wyke, was not finally complete until 1847.  Again, it is difficult to rule out a possible contribution from Healey later in its development but what is certainly clear is that the building represents is a definite advance on Holy Trinity, Queensbury.  The proportions are better:  the nave is not as tall and the width of the arcade piers is in better proportion to their height.  As for the nave roof, although there is an affinity with Holy Trinity, it betokens greater stability due to the inclusion of two pairs of purlins, ⅓ and ⅔ of the way up the pitch, and of collar beams connecting the lower purlins instead of tie beams crossing between the wall plates, lifting the support higher towards the ridge.  Moreover, also at St. Mary's, the structural challenge has now been met of surmounting the tower with a spire and an aesthetically successful one at that.  Discounting modern additions, the church comprises a three-bay chancel with a N. organ chamber and a small S. chapel, and a five-bay nave with lean-to aisles, a southwest tower occupying the westernmost bay of the S. aisle, and a cross-gabled in the equivalent position to the north.


Stylistically, as at Queensbury, Mallinson adopted a severe First Pointed (Early English) mode for his new building, which is lit entirely by lancets (albeit 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 influential and censorious Ecclesiological Society was currently the flowing Second Pointed (Decorated).  Perhaps this was due to the fact that he considered First Pointed provided more scope for economy, though he may also have been glad to eschew complicated window traceries.


Inside the church, the four-bay nave arcades are composed of double-flat-chamfered arches supported on alternately circular and octagonal piers and join to the west the southwest tower (there is no tower arch) and the cross-gabled vestry.  (See the photograph of the church interior, looking west, above.)  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 below, 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 simple but attractive marble tiling patterns on the floors and on the steps leading up to the sanctuary (as illustrated below left).  The font (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 with moulded capitals and bases.


On 10th May, 1845, James Mallinson married Mary Waddington, the youngest of three daughters of Samuel Waddington, landlord of the Black Swan, at St. Martin's, Brighouse.  Probably he expected shortly to have a family, and he would doubtless have reflected on the pressures he was experiencing, his income, and his prospects for the future.  This may have appeared the time to expand his business.  By some means or other, he knew or knew of another Yorkshireman who needed to advance himself and who for the past sixteen years had been helping to design churches in Worcester...