( back to home page)

English Church Architecture -

Leeds (U. A.).


EAST KESWICK, St. Mary Magdalene (SE 352 444)     (November 2016)

(Bedrock:  Carboniferous Namurian Series, Lower Follifoot Grit)


This little church by Mallinson & Healey  (shown above, from the south), erected in 1856-7, almost offers a return visit to St. John's church, Langcliffe (North Yorkshire), where the firm had raised a very similar building four years before.  The site in East Keswick was the gift of Henry Lascelles, the third Earl of Harewood (1797  - 1857), and the stone was obtained from Vicar's Whin quarry, a mile and a half to the west, exploiting  the Lower Follifoot Grit from the formerly-named Millstone Grit Series. 


St. Mary Magdalene's consists of a chancel with an independently-gabled S. vestry and organ chamber, a three-bay nave with a N. porch, and a bell-cote topped by a spirelet above the extreme west end (below left), although here, in contrast to St. John's, it is supported by a buttress to the west instead of a mere corbel.  One of the challenges of the site is the steep falling away of the land to the south, and the twentieth century extension to the vestry had to introduce a lower storey (forming a series of sheds) in order to raise it to the equivalent height. The style of the windows is commensurate with c. 1300, and consists, except to the east, of either trefoil-cusped lancets with trefoils in the heads, or of two-light windows, alternately with a cinquefoil or quatrefoil above and between the lights.  The chancel E. window has three slightly stepped trefoiled lights, with the addition of little notches between the foils of the central light, and the tracery is formed of trefoils, again with notches between the foils.  A string course running round the church beneath the windows, steps up along both the east and west walls.



Inside the church, the original Victorian benches have been replaced by "mouseman" furniture, which certainly has value, but not of an antiquarian kind.  The nave roof (above right) has purlins ⅓ and ⅔ of the way up the pitch and scissor-bracing without collars, framing it in six cants.  The chancel roof is framed in the more usual seven, with arched bracing to the collars and scissor bracing above. The chancel is approached up two steps, while another two rise between the chancel and the sanctuary. The chancel arch carries two sunk flat chamfers above semi-circular shafts with fillets, and there are prominent head label stops at the base of the dripstone to the west.  The font consists of a cambered bowl without a stem, with deeply-cut trefoil-cusped arches on each side, rising from miniature corbels, alternately with leaf carving or carved as little heads:  the spandrels are filled with encircled trefoils.