(« back to home page)

English Church Architecture -

Calderdale (U. A.).


SALTERHEBBLE (HALIFAX), All Saints (SE 093 227)   (September 2017)

(Bedrock:  Carboniferous Namurian Series, Rough Rock from the Millstone Grit Group)


This is a large and rather plain church by Mallinson and Healey, given some interest by its tall diagonally-buttressed southeast tower with octagonal bell-stage, surmounted by a spire lit by two tiers of gabled lucarnes, rising directly from the walls of the bell-stage below.  (See the photograph of the church, left, taken from the southwest, and at the foot of the page, taken from the north.)  The building consists, besides the tower, of a chancel with a cross-gabled N. chapel and an adjoining vestry, and a five-bay nave with lean-to aisles and a N. porch.  Inside, a mezzanine floor has recently been added over the two western bays of the nave to create an enclosed space above.


Thomas Healey (for it was probably he) adopted the late geometrical style here in 1857, for tracery shapes are confined largely to trefoils and quatrefoils (some of them pointed), with only a few small ogees employed here and there.  They were probably not prominent enough to offend the disciples of Ruskin’s Seven Lamps of Architcture (published 1849), although the building is not particularly reflective of Ruskinian dogmas either for there is no constructional colour, the masonry all being cut from the same local sandstone, and no obvious privileging of mass over line.  The nave arcades are composed of double-flat-chamfered arches springing from octagonal piers (as seen in the interior photograph below left, looking west), the chancel arch and the N. chapel arch from the chancel bear two flat chamfers above semi-octagonal responds, while the chamfers around the arch to the organ chamber opposite - which is also the base of the tower - die into the jambs.  The nave roof is framed in seven cants with ashlar pieces rising from the wall plates, braced collars and no purlins; the chancel roof has purlins at the and ⅔ stages, and collars halfway up the pitch, supported by cusped arch braces.


Decorative work is confined to two areas in the church - the font, and the E. wall of the sanctuary.  The former, of 1886 (britishlistedbuildings website), has an octagonal bowl carved with small figures (or are they Biblical scenes?) on the cardinal sides and foliage on the ordinal sides, although the mottled brown and cream marble of which it is made, confuses the impression on the eye.  The E. wall of the sanctuary is a surprisingly rich conceit in view of the austerity of the church elsewhere and features a row of nine septfoil-cusped arches at dado level, with steep crocketed gables rising from figure label stops, supported below on little brown marble shafts with deeply carved leaf capitals.  There is also some attractive Victorian glass in some of the windows, most notably the four-light chancel E. window featuring the Evangelists (shown above right).  There is nothing else that needs particularising, but this was another confident example of Mallinson and Healey’s budget-price churches, seen to advantage from the railway line below the ridge to the southeast.