( back to home page)

English Church Architecture -

East Riding of Yorkshire (U. A.).


MAPPLETON, All Saints (TA 225 349)     (April 2016)

(Bedrock:  Upper Cretaceous, Lower Chalk Rowe Formation)

This is one of the duller churches by the Mallinson and Healey partnership of Halifax and Bradford.  Erected in 1854-5, it was one of three minor commissions the firm received in Holderness (the others being at nearby Catwick and neighbouring Withernwick), suggesting they had procured a personal contact well away from their usual sphere of operations.  However, any shortcomings the church may be considered to have, did not arise from a resultant lack of the architects' attention, for the firm's journals for 1854 and '55 (held in the Calderdale record office in Halifax), show Thomas Healey visited regularly, notwithstanding the transport difficulties and the usual need for an overnight stay.  The job may have been hindered rather than helped by the amount of material from the old church it had been decided to reincorporate: the mediaeval W. tower was retained and much of the masonry of the chancel windows and N. arcade of c. 1300, was taken down and reassembled.  The church as newly completed comprised a chancel with a N. vestry, a nave with a N. aisle and S. porch, and a W. tower with a broach spire but, unfortunately, the spire Healey raised on top of the original tower, had become dangerous by 2001, necessitating the closure of the church while it was rebuilt without the colour banding Healey had given it, as a result of which it lost most of its previous character.  (See the photograph of the church, above, taken from the south.)  The nave and chancel masonry is formed of large assorted cobbles with stone dressings and tumbled-in brick around the window heads.  This is perfectly satisfactory but not as pleasing as the masonry at St. Alban's, Withernwick, which also includes double courses of red brick dividing the cobbles into bands at intervals.


However, to consider briefly the constituent parts of the church in turn, the W. tower probably dates from c. 1300 in its essential structure:  it is unbuttressed and rises in three slightly recessed stages, unmarked by string courses, to cinquefoil-cusped, Y-traceried bell-openings, lit to the west by a three-light Perpendicular window, probably inserted a couple of centuries later.  The modern spire is solidly built but has no distinguishing features. The tower arch to the nave carries two wide continuous flat chamfers running all the way round, without intervening capitals.



The nave arcade (seen above, from the southwest) is composed of double-flat-chamfered arches supported on octagonal piers with prominent capitals and, at either end, what appears to be a less than competent attempt to design a respond of two semi-octagonal orders.  The chancel arch is double-flat-chamfered and probably contemporary with the two-light N. and S. chancel windows, featuring broad, rather ungainly pointed quatrefoils above lights surrounded, outside and in, by delicate roll mouldings.  The chancel E. window is three-light with three encircled sexfoils above, with alternate foils pointed.  The nave and aisle windows are new and feature two quatrefoils and a bifoil above the springing in the former case, while the latter are untraceried beneath segmental-pointed arches.  (The photograph above right, taken from the south, shows the junction between the nave and chancel, together with one window in each.)  The porch is windowless.


This is all relatively mundane, of course, and the church is not enlivened within by any significant furnishings.  The Victorian stained glass in the church was mostly destroyed by enemy action in 1940 and interest is really confined to the roofs:  the chancel roof is scissor-braced with purlins ⅓ and ⅔ of the way up the pitch, but the nave roof (below) appears to be almost unnecessarily elaborate, again with purlins at the ⅓ and ⅔ stages, but linked now across the church by braced tie beams and collars respectively, and joined longitudinally and vertically by a collar purlin, octagonal king posts rising from the tie beams to the collars, and queen posts rising from the tie beams to the collar/ purlin junctions.  It looks at least as complicated as it is to describe but it cannot be denied that the effect is quite striking.