(« back to home page)

English Church Architecture.


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


(Bedrock:  Carboniferous Namurian Series, Lower Follifoot Grit.)


A small church by Thomas Healey, raised in 1856, with affinity to St. John's, Langcliffe (North Yorkshire) of 1851.




One of the subjects examined by this web-site is the near-complete oeuvre of a little-known but regionally dominant, mid-nineteenth century architectural firm specialising in ecclesiastical work, in order to discover how they built their local reputation, how they maintained a financially competitive edge and sustained a very busy practice with few or no staff, and what 'success' looked like in terms of monetary reward and the provincial architect's acquired position in Victorian society.  The firm chosen is the partnership between James Mallinson and Thomas Healey (fl. 1845-62/3), who worked out of offices in Halifax and Bradford.  The majority of the extant church buildings for which the partners were responsible are listed below and should ideally be examined in chronological order.  They are:

  1.  Queensbury, Holy Trinity (Bradford)  (1843)  (Mallinson alone) 19. East Keswick, St. Mary Magdalene (Leeds) (1856)
  2.  Wyke, St. Mary (Bradford)  (1844)  (Mallinson alone) 20. Claremount, St. Thomas (Calderdale) (1857)
  3.  Clayton, St. John the Baptist (Bradford) (1846) 21. Clifton, St. John (Calderdale) (1857)
  4.  Baildon, St. John the Baptist (Bradford) (1846) 22. Salterhebble, All Saints (Calderdale) (1857)
  5.  Manningham, St. Paul (Bradford) (1846) 23. Thornaby-on-Tees, St. Paul (Stockton-on-Tees) (1857)
  6.  Mytholmroyd, St. Michael (Calderdale) (1847) 24. Thornhill Lees, Holy Innocents (Wakefield) (1858)
  7. Bankfoot, St. Matthew (Bradford) (1848) 25. Bugthorpe, St. Andrew (East Riding) (1858) (nave only)
  8. Shelf, St. Michael & All Angels (Bradford) (1848) 26. Bowling, St. Stephen (Bradford) (1859)
  9. South Ossett, Christ Church (Wakefield) (1850) 27. Girlington, St. Phillip (Bradford) (1859)
10. Barkisland, Christ Church (Calderdale) (1851) 28. Lower Dunsforth, St. Mary (North Yorkshire) (1859)
11. Boroughbridge, St. James (North Yorkshire) (1851) 29. Welburn, St. John (North Yorkshire) (1859)
12. Langcliffe, St. John the Evangelist (North Yorkshire) (1851) 30. Ilkley, All Saints (Bradford) (1860) (chancel only)
13. Cundall, St. Mary & All Saints (North Yorkshire) (1852) 31. Horton, All Saints (Bradford) (1862)
14. Heptonstall, St. Thomas the Apostle (Calderdale) (1853) 32. Hepworth, Holy Trinity (Kirklees) (1862)
15. Mount Pellon, Christ Church (Calderdale) (1854) 33. Dewsbury, St. Mark (Wakefield) (1862)
16. Thorner, St. Peter (Leeds) (1854) (partial reconstruction) 34. Heaton, St. Barnabas (Bradford) (1863) (Mallinson with T.H. Healey) 
17. Withernwick, St. Alban (East Riding) (1854) (reconstruction) 35. Tockwith,  Church of the Epiphany (North Yorkshire) (1863) (as above)
18. Mappleton, All Saints (East Riding) (1855) (not the tower)  




Although Thomas Healey only repeated an exact building plan once (when he re-used at Shelf in 1850 the plan he had used the year before at Bankfoot), this small church at East Keswick of 1856-7 is a fairly close copy of St. John's in Langcliffe (North Yorkshire), where the partners had raised a similar building in 1851.  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-côte topped by a spirelet above the nave W. gable, and although the vestry/organ chamber and porch have exchanged sides when compared to St. John's, the similarity of between their octagonal bell-côtes is particularly striking, notwithstanding that here it is partially supported to the west by a buttress as opposed to a mere corbel. 


The site in East Keswick was the gift of Henry Lascelles, the third Earl of Harewood (1797  - 1857), and stone was made available from Vicar's Whin quarry, a mile and a half to the west, exploiting the Lower Follifoot Grit, but the steep falling away of the land to the south must have restricted the positioning of the church and the twentieth century southward extension to the vestry was obliged to introduce a lower storey (forming a series of sheds) in order to raise the structure to the necessary height. The style of the windows in all parts of the church is geometric and except to the east, they take the form of either trefoil-cusped lancets with trefoils in the heads, or else are two-light with cinquefoils or quatrefoils above.  The chancel E. window comprises three slightly stepped trefoiled lights, with little notches between the foils of the central light, and 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 in the way that is familiar in the work of G.E. Street (see, for example, St. Peter's. Helperthorpe (North Yorkshire)).  



Inside the church, the original Victorian benches have been replaced by 'mouseman' furniture, which certainly adds value to the building, though not of an antiquarian kind.  The nave is covered by another of Thomas Healey's interesting and inventive4 roofs (as illustrated above right), with purlins ⅓ and ⅔ of the way up the pitch and scissor-bracing without collar.  The chancel roof has arched braced collars and scissor bracing above those. The chancel is approached from the nave up two steps, while another two rise from the chancel to the sanctuary. The chancel arch bears 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.