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English Church Architecture -

Kirklees (U. A.).

 

DEWSBURY, Gospel Church (formerly St. Mark) (SE 239 224)     (March 2018)

(Bedrock:  Carboniferous Westphalian Series, Birstall (or Cropper Gate) Rock from the Lower Coal Measures)

 

A [church] that is set on a hill cannot be hid”, and Mallinson and Healey were fortunate to be presented with a number of construction sites that enabled them to place their churches prominently against the skyline, as with St. Thomas, Claremount and All Saints, Salterhebble (both in Calderdale).  Here is a third , half a mile north of Dewsbury town centre.  (See the photograph above, taken from the east-southeast, and the lithograph of the proposed church before it was built, shown from the southeast, at the foot of the page.)  However Healey probably played no part in the design of this one as the work seems to have been done in the months immediately following his death in November 1862, while the firm continued in business briefly, with James Mallinson working in collaboration with two of Healey’s sons (Thomas Henry and Francis).  Quite who was responsible for this building, therefore, is difficult to tell, but it is not out of keeping with the firm’s productions heretofore.

 

 

This is a large building, comprising a chancel, an aisled nave with transepts and a S. porch, and a W. tower with a broach spire.  The style is late thirteenth century geometric, with mainly three-light windows with trefoil-cusped lights and tracery composed of trefoils, quatrefoils and sexfoils in circles.  The aisle windows adopt two designs (as illustrated in the photograph above, taken from the south), with lights alternately stepped up and down and with an encircled quatrefoil and two encircled trefoils or an encircled sexfoil in the head respectively.  The clerestory is comprised of arched openings containing sexfoils or, more precisely, six circles arranged around a larger circle. The outer doorway to the S. porch (shown below left) has a keeled roll around the outer order and a plain roll around the inner order, and springs from two orders of side-shafts with stiff leaf capitals. The chancel E. window is five-light with cinquefoils in circles above the outer pairs and a sexfoil surrounded by trefoils in the head.  The chancel is two bays long, decorated with blank encircled trefoils in the gables at the top of buttresses separating the bays. The tower is lit by a three-light W. window with three trefoils forming the tracery, and rises in four stages to two, two-light bell-openings per wall, separated by shafts. The tower stair is set in the buttress in the southwest corner, with the door facing diagonally southeast.  The spire is lit by two tiers of gabled lucarnes, the lower facing the cardinal directions and the upper, the ordinal directions.

 

Inside the church, the nave arcades are formed of four double-flat-chamfered arches supported on circular piers, and a fifth bay separated by short wall pieces beyond, supported on corbels and leading to the transepts.  (See the photograph of the N. arcade, above right.)  The tower arch is lancet-pointed and triple-flat-chamfered with the inner chamfer rising from corbel shafts, and the chancel arch carries wave mouldings above an order of marble shafts in shaft-rings and with stiff-leaf limestone capitals, beneath a dripstone terminating in head label stops.  The nave roof is of collar-beam construction, with purlins ⅓ and ’s of the way up the pitch, the chancel roof has  collars but no purlins, while in the case of the transept roofs the situation is reversed. These features aside, the church now holds nothing of historic interest within, but at least in its new rôle as a gospel centre and evangelical church school, the basic fabric of this fine building seems tolerably secure.