(ę back to home page)

English Church Architecture -

Calderdale (U. A.).


CLIFTON, St. John (SE 162 228)     (September 2017)

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


This is a small pseudo-cruciform building (seen above from the southeast), sitting in a prominent position on the edge of a hill like so many churches by the architects, Mallinson and Healey.  Erected in 1857, it has now been stripped bare of whatever interest it once contained inside and it is only its architectural style and building plan that have anything to say about its origins. The church consists of an aisleless nave with shallow transepts and a N. porch, and a chancel with a little tower adjoining to the southwest, followed by a lean-to vestry to the east.  The tower turns octagonal a little below the bell-stage and the surmounting spire rises directly from the walls below in the manner of the spire at All Saintsí, Salterhebble (Halifax), constructed the same year.  The  larger All Saintsí also shares the building style to be found here at St. Johnís, namely the late geometrical of c. 1310, in which tracery shapes are largely confined to trefoils, trilobes and quatrefoils, with small ogee shapes just beginning to creep in.  The chancel E. window is four-light and the transept windows, three-light, with cinquefoil-cusped arches with the middle cusp, pointed.  The one-light bell-openings rise through the bell-stage to gabled heads situated in the cardinal faces of the spire.


Inside the church, the chunky transept and chancel arches bear two flat chamfers which die into the jambs.  The sanctuary E. wall is now completely plain, and the font, which may or may not be the original one, now occupies a position in the chancel N. side.  The chancel roof is framed in seven cants and the nave roof has purlins at the  ⅓ and ⅔ stages and scissor-bracing above the collars.  (The photograph below shows a lithograph of the church prior to construction, probably dating from 1856.)