(« back to home page)

English Church Architecture -

Calderdale (U. A.).


SHELF, St. Michael & All Angels (SE 127 289)   (September 2017)

(Bedrock:  Carboniferous Westphalian Series, mixed deposits from the Lower Coal Measures)


This church is the twin brother of St. Matthew’s, Bankfoot (Bradford), at least in plan, although the stylistic affinity is with All Saints’ church, Salterhebble (Halifax), erected nine years later, for whereas, like the former, St. Michael & All Angels’ consists of an aisled nave with a N. porch and bell-cote above the W. gable, and a short chancel with a southeast vestry and a little lean-to N. chapel, like All Saints’ church and unlike St. Matthew’s, window traceries at St. Michael’s are in late geometric style, with trefoil-cusped lights and tracery shapes confined largely to trefoils (some inverted), quatrefoils and sexfoils, some of which are pointed.  The church seems particularly tall from the south where the ground drops away.  (The view above shows the church from the southeast, and that at the bottom of the page, from the southwest.)



The interior of the church is very dark.  The five-bay nave arcades are formed of arches bearing an outer hollow chamfer and an inner sunk quadrant, springing from alternately circular and octagonal piers.  The chancel arch carries two sunk quadrants with the inner order rising from corbels shafts with carved figures top and bottom, the lower two (illustrated above) being reputed to represent the principal donors, Mr. and Mrs. John Hardy of Thrybergh (Rotherham).  The nave roof has purlins at the and ⅔ stages and collars joining the lower purlins.  The font is situated in the N. aisle and may or may not be original:  its circular bowl carries the legend, “There is more joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth”.  The pulpit is dated 1906.


The service of consecration took place on 14th June 1850 and was written up at length in The Morning Post.

"The architects of the building are Messrs. Mallinson and Healey, of Bradford and Halifax, who have given us another proof, if proofs were wanting, that the spirit of the ancient freemason has not been entirely lost, as, in the founder of the church, we have evidence that the spirit of liberality which animated the church builders of former days is not completely extinct.  Yea, we might go further, and say, that here we have, both in the church founder and the church artisan, the revival of the flame which had only smouldered beneath a heap of dying embers, and needed nothing but sheer necessity to rekindle and restore it."