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English Church Architecture -

Kirklees (U. A.).


HEPWORTH, Holy Trinity (SE 163 070)     (March 2018)

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



This must be one of the last buildings designed by Thomas Healey of the Bradford and Halifax, Mallinson and Healey partnership, for the foundation stone was laid on 25th April 1862 and Healey died on the 7th November that year, eight months before the building was finished.  Since it was Healey's usual practice to produce only the overall plans and elevations of his buildings before building commenced and to draw out the details as and when they were needed (presumably to avoid spending time on work that might never be wanted) we can probably assume that some of the finer points here were left either of his partner, James Mallinson, who only rarely involved himself in work of an ecclesiastical nature, or to one of Healey's sons, Thomas Henry and Francis, who went on to practice as T.H. and F. Healey about a year later.



In the words of The Huddersfield Chronicle, reporting on the church's consecration on 18th July, 1863, "The church... is a neat building in the early decorated style of architecture, romantically situated on the low side of the village and surrounded by enclosed and well laid out grounds... The building consists of a nave, chancel, and north and south transepts, with vestry on the south [replaced in 1899] and tower on the north-east side of the chancel, the tower being surmounted by a spire and weather vane.  [See the photograph, left, taken from the northeast.]  The interior is spacious and comfortable.  The roofs are open and stained and the pews are also open, the free sittings being made to correspond with those which are allotted.  The reading desk and pulpit, as well as the other woodwork of the interior, is of stained oak, and the chancel is laid with Minton's encaustic tiles."   There are no crossing arches to the nave or transepts;  the chancel arch is double-flat-chamfered with the inner order rising from corbels.



Several qualifications or additions must be added.  The sense of space has now been lost due to the transverse subdivision of the nave into three distinct areas, although the sense of comfort has probably correspondingly increased.  The open roofs are interesting:  the nave roof is scissor-braced but what is really notable is the convoluted way in which the junction has been managed above the crossing.  Some of the wooden furniture is probably also original, of which the pulpit is easily the most attractive example (shown below right).  The original cost of the church was recorded as 2,550, and that can probably included the furniture since that would have been regarded as an indispensable expense.  The building stone came from the nearby Town Quarry at Dean Wood, and that enables it to be identified with precision as the so-called Rough Rock from the Carboniferous Millstone Grit.