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English Church Architecture -

Leeds (U. A.).


THORNER, St. Peter (SE 380 406)     (November 2016)

(Bedrock:  Carboniferous Namurian Series, Rough Rock Flags)


This was probably a wholly Perpendicular church (shown above, from the south) before enlargement and partial reconstruction by Mallinson & Healey in 1855.  Notes in the church say that in 1853 the tower was walled off for use as a fuel store, so restoration also entailed the removal of this, the renovation of the nave, and the construction of a totally new chancel with adjoining chapels.  The total cost was 1,850.



The chapels are slightly shorter than the chancel and independently-gabled.  Most of the window tracery was replaced in the lean-to nave aisles, and some of the masonry re-cut in the three-bay nave arcades, which are composed of double-flat-chamfered arches springing from octagonal piers with shallowly-projecting castellated capitals - the form Healey copied for his wide chancel arch and two-bay chapel arcades.  Indeed, it is Healey's apparent faithfulness to whatever earlier work he retained, that makes the distinction between the mediaeval and Victorian so difficult to discern.  Windows are straightforward at least:  Healey's chapel windows are two-centred with strong mullions, outer lights subarcuated above daggers, and central lights surmounted by pairs of subreticulation units with quatrefoils above (see the example above left), while the nave aisle windows are segmental-pointed and have supermullioned tracery.  The five-light chancel E. window (above right) has a central light separated by strong mullions, topped by two tiers of reticulation units and a quatrefoil, and outer lights subarcuated in pairs above Y-tracery with daggers in the individual lights and encircled quatrefoils in the head.  However, the effect is diminished by the rising ground to the east which drops the  chancel into a ditch, dug round it to keep out the damp.  The W. tower is diagonally buttressed and rises in two stages to bell-openings with straightened reticulation units in their heads, battlements, and crocketed corner pinnacles.  The position of the stair in the southwest angle is betrayed by a door at the foot and a line of slit openings rising above.  The S. porch outer doorway consists of two orders, each bearing a double wave, and has a hood-mould around it, terminating in king and queen label stops,


The interior of the church is not without some grandeur due to its size and expansive plan.  The renewed tower arch and the arches from the aisles to the chapels are Victorian and double-flat-chamfered, with the inner order of the former, supported on corbels. The semi-circular arrangement of steps between the nave and chancel is obviously modern.  The N. chapel now serves as a vestry and organ chamber. The nave roof (below) is constructed in three double-bays with tie beams between the bays but arched braces rising from wall posts between the double bays only.  There are V-struts above the tie beams and purlins ⅓ and of the way up the pitch.  The chancel roof is ceiled and painted but still has arched braces supporting collars with king posts and three pairs of queen posts of very narrow scantling rising above.