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Church of St Mary the Virgin

A Grade II Listed Building in Halifax, Calderdale

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Latitude: 53.7517 / 53°45'6"N

Longitude: -1.896 / 1°53'45"W

OS Eastings: 406954

OS Northings: 428373

OS Grid: SE069283

Mapcode National: GBR HT61.9V

Mapcode Global: WHB88.VYBS

Plus Code: 9C5WQ423+MH

Entry Name: Church of St Mary the Virgin

Listing Date: 3 November 1954

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1133883

English Heritage Legacy ID: 338737

Location: Calderdale, HX2

County: Calderdale

Electoral Ward/Division: Ovenden

Built-Up Area: Halifax

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Mixenden Holy Nativity

Church of England Diocese: Leeds

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Listing Text

(North side)

Church, 1777, 1888 and 1929, in coursed dressed stone with ashlar dressings, under a slate roof. PLAN: It has a chancel, nave, two small side chapels and a west tower, with community rooms to the west of the tower.

EXTERIOR: the chancel, added c.1888, has a gable end with a pediment, and a Venetian window. The pediment carries within it a smaller scrolled pediment with a circular window above and floral swags. To right and left of the window are small carved decorative panels and there are decorated panels above the window with swags and urns. The north and south sides of the chancel have a single rectangular lower window with three semi-circular windows above, extending over the side chapels.

The side chapel on the north side has a hipped lean-to roof and has two small windows to the east. The south side chapel has a lean-to roof and two round-arched windows to the side and one to the east end.

The nave, wider than the chancel, has two tiers of round-arched windows, 7 on each side, and a modillion eaves cornice. There is a porch at the east end of the south side of the nave, with pilasters and a plain pediment, reached up a flight of four steps.

At the west end the tower is in Victorian Gothic style with pairs of pointed windows to the belfry and a shaped and partly pierced parapet with pinnacles. Surrounding the tower and extending westwards are late C20 extensions of two storeys, slightly lower than the nave, with rectangular stone mullioned windows and an entrance on the south side with pediment and pilasters.

INTERIOR: the chancel has stained glass in the three panels of its east end Venetian window, and in the south side window: the north side window has small plain panes. The roof is round-arched with plaster panels and modillion cornice, with the top windows inset. The reredos is wood panelled and incorporates a First World War memorial with carved figures and inscription behind the altar. To the right are two sedilla in semi-circular plastered niches with engaged columns and frieze. To each side are two arched openings to the side chapels which are separated by open-work iron screens.

The nave has a flat roof with restrained plasterwork around the central chandelier, and a modillion cornice. The upper windows formerly lit a gallery, now lost. There is stained glass in the two eastern lower windows. The entrance to the chancel is through a wide round arch supported on pairs of Ionic columns with flanking giant Ionic pilasters and, on the south side, a decorative plaster panel. Original wide arched openings to the side chapels have been blocked and replaced by small doors. The west end of the nave has been separated by a new wall with an entrance towards the south side, a staircase to the first floor behind on the north side, and an off-centre floor to ceiling panel containing narrow coloured glass panes set at an angle. The hexagonal stone font stands before this panel, and the Caen stone pulpit is in the north-east corner of the nave. The south side chapel has a stained glass round-arched window to the east and a timber framed roof. The north side room is used as a vestry and store. To the rear of the blocked off nave is an arched entrance to the former baptistery, with a dedication panel to the right, and a panelled doorway to the former vestry, now incorporated into the community rooms. These consist of offices on the ground floor, an inserted staircase within the area of the original nave, and offices and nursery etc on the first floor. The tower contains an early C20 clock and angelus bell.

HISTORY: the present church was built in 1777, replacing an earlier building that was falling down. It was funded by public subscription which amounted to over £600. The church was damaged by fire in 1841, and in 1866 the vestry and baptistery were moved to the west end. The chancel was added in c.1888 and the tower may date to that time or later. The vestry and baptistery were rebuilt in 1929. In the 1970s community rooms were added to the west end which later took over the western end of the nave as well as the vestry and baptistery.

SOURCES: N Pevsner: The Buildings of England Yorkshire The West Riding (1967), 234.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: This church was built in 1777, and has been added to throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Positive contributions have included a fine chancel and a west tower, but these are offset by the loss of the interior of the nave and its truncation to provide additional space for community rooms that have been added to the west end. Some unsympathetic adaptations have lessened the integrity of the building, but sufficient remains of architectural and artistic quality, together with its age and historic associations, to give it special interest in a national context.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 17 August 2017.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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