History in Structure

Roman Catholic Church of St Theresa of the Child Jesus

A Grade II Listed Building in Manor Castle, Sheffield

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Latitude: 53.364 / 53°21'50"N

Longitude: -1.4217 / 1°25'18"W

OS Eastings: 438579

OS Northings: 385394

OS Grid: SK385853

Mapcode National: GBR 9TR.SW

Mapcode Global: WHDDQ.4P8Y

Plus Code: 9C5W9H7H+J8

Entry Name: Roman Catholic Church of St Theresa of the Child Jesus

Listing Date: 24 August 2022

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1481823

ID on this website: 101481823

Location: St Theresa of the Child Jesus Church, Woodthorpe Estate, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S2

County: Sheffield

Electoral Ward/Division: Manor Castle

Built-Up Area: Sheffield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire


Roman Catholic church. 1958-1960 to designs by John Rochford. Modern Byzantine style. The attached presbytery is not of special interest.


Roman Catholic church. 1958-1960 to designs by John Rochford. Modern Byzantine style. The attached presbytery is not of special interest.

MATERIALS: the church has a reinforced concrete frame, externally clad with pale orange brick and artificial stone, with artificial stone dressings and copper and felt-covered concrete roofs.

PLAN: the church is aligned north-south, but liturgical, rather than cardinal, points will be used throughout.

The church has a wide, aisled nave with side confessionals and chapels, an apsidal, domed sanctuary and a low, circular west tower containing a porch, choir gallery and pipe organ, with a small, circular baptistry attached to the south-west corner. A link corridor connects the church to the presbytery.

EXTERIOR: the projecting aisles, confessionals and side chapels, baptistry and west tower are faced in randomly coursed and sized blocks of artificial stone. The nave is brick in stretcher bond, the sanctuary is brick in Flemish bond with a stretcher bond drum. The window frames are metal.

The circular west tower faces the road and contains the main entrance doorway. It has a segmental-arched head with moulded, artificial stone jambs and voussoirs with a giant keystone, and timber fielded-panel double doors. Above is a statue of St Theresa carved by Philip Lindsey Clark. Around the apex of the tower are square, framed apertures with louvres. It has a conical copper roof with a metal cross finial. Flanking the tower, the stone-clad ground floor has three segmental-arched lancet windows in rectangular frames to each side. Above, to each side is a pair of tall segmental-arched windows in stone panels lighting the west end of the nave.

The nave has a roof of seven transverse segmental vaults with a flat roof at the east and west ends over the sanctuary and narthex. The seven nave bays have tall segmental-arched windows with stone frames to both north and south elevations, with recessed tall tripartite windows set in stone panels lighting the sanctuary.

The projecting ground floor is flat-roofed at the west end of the nave on both sides, with a wider, four-bay section at the east end of the nave roofed with transverse segmental vaults and a flat-roofed section abutting and wrapping round the apsidal sanctuary, also incorporating a flat-roofed link block at the south-east corner to the presbytery. The flat-roofed sections have single or tripartite windows with segmental-arched heads and rectangular frames. The vaulted-roof bays have clerestory windows. The south elevation has a small, attached circular baptistry at the south west corner with a ring of clerestory windows and a zinc-clad conical roof. There is a projecting, flat-roofed porch with recessed timber fielded-panel double doors to the third bay of the vaulted-roof section and a recessed doorway with fielded-panel door into the link block. The north elevation has a recessed doorway with timber fielded-panel double doors and angled side walls at the right-hand, west end.

The apsidal sanctuary extends above roof level as a circular drum with a copper dome. The drum has twelve vertical panels of low-relief sculptural figures of the twelve Apostles (some badly weathered) by Alan and Sylvia Rochford. They are separated by brick panels and clerestory windows which overlook the nave roof.

INTERIOR: the seven-bay nave has plastered walls and transverse segmental-vaulted ceiling with concrete beams (painted red) with segmental-arched arcades with cylindrical piers (painted red). The aisles and side chapels are brick-faced and the side chapels have transverse segmental vaulting. The aisles contain built-in confessionals and store rooms with horizontal fielded panel and glazed doors. Set into the brick walls are square, low-relief stone panels of Stations of the Cross by Philip Lindsey Clark; the wooden altar statues are also by Philip Lindsey Clark and painted by Michael Clark. The church flooring has panels of coloured terrazzo; the nave has black and white panels in a star motif, with plain tiles under the pews; the north aisle has brown and white panels; the south aisle has blue and white panels. At the east end is a large semi-circular chancel arch springing from free-standing cylindrical piers. Cantilevered between the left pier and the wall is a rectangular pulpit with a panelled timber front. The apsidal sanctuary is raised by four steps with a further step to the stone tabernacle stand. The stone altar has been brought forward. A statue of Christ the King by Michael Clark hangs in front of the curtained reredos.

The side chapels of St Theresa to the north aisle and Our Lady of Mount Carmel to the south aisle both have a timber panelled testers over and are separated from the sanctuary by pierced wrought-iron screens.

The west narthex has hexagonal and triangular black and white terrazzo floor panels, central, half-glazed double doors into the nave with half-glazed screens to each side with decorative wrought-iron grilles. On the east side is the baptistry doorway with decorative pierced wrought-iron gates. The circular baptistry has a green star terrazzo floor and a ribbed ceiling. In the narthex a curved, cantilevered staircase with painted iron balustrade leads up to the choir gallery over. The choir gallery has a balustrade with similar decorative pierced wrought-ironwork. To the centre is a pipe organ by J W Walker and Son dating from 1960. Curving round behind it is a circular cantilevered stair up the tower.


During the 1920s Sheffield Corporation initiated a number of housing programmes, including the Manor estate on the south-east side of the city. The estate was developed on 470 acres purchased in 1919 from the Duke of Norfolk. A new parish dedicated to St Theresa was founded by Canon Dolan, with Mass initially said from 1925 in an old army hut. From 1927 a local council school was used, an interim arrangement pending the construction of a permanent church and school to serve the estate. Canon Dolan secured funding and land was purchased from the council for £2,000 to firstly construct a school. This opened in October 1929 and Mass was initially said in the school hall, until a separate temporary church was built, opening in 1938. Nearby was a brick presbytery, shown on the 1953 1:1250 Ordnance Survey map.

The Second World War and its aftermath brought a halt to church building and the construction of a permanent church had to wait until 1958 under the Revd Denis McGillicuddy. The large church, which seats 700, is an early design by John Rochford in a modern Byzantine style. It was built by Messrs D O’Neill and Son. It has sculptural work by Philip Lindsey Clark and his son Michael Clark, and also Alan Rochford, brother of the architect, and his wife Sylvia, both lecturers at Nuneaton College of Art. The foundation stone was blessed by Bishop Dwyer on 29 June 1958, who also opened and blessed the completed church on 6 July 1960. The final cost was £50,000, including fittings and furnishings. The temporary church of 1938 became the parish hall.

The church was consecrated by Bishop Wheeler of Leeds on 3 October 1967.

Reasons for Listing

The Roman Catholic Church of St Theresa of the Child Jesus, Sheffield, of 1958-1960 to designs by John Rochford is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* boldly designed in a modern Byzantine style with an impressive copper-covered dome and circular west tower, the strong geometric forms enlivened by the undulating, concrete vaults of the nave roof;
* the brick drum of the eye-catching sanctuary dome is embellished with prominent large-scale relief panels of the twelve Apostles by the architect’s brother and sister-in-law, with a sculpture of St Theresa by well-regarded sculptor, Philip Lindsey Clark, over the west door;
* the spacious interior is carefully considered to engage the congregation with an impactful, minimally separated sanctuary flooded with natural light and a dramatic west choir gallery with central pipe organ and curving cantilevered tower stair, the subtle use of colour and texture differentiating spaces;
* it has well-designed, bespoke artwork by Philip Lindsey and Michael Clark, notably Philip Lindsey Clark’s Stations of the Cross, complimented by good-quality original fixtures and fittings, including a cantilevered pulpit, doors, wrought-iron grilles, screens and baptistry gates and the pipe organ on the choir gallery.

Historic interest:

* standing in the large inter- and post-war Manor housing estate, the strong architectural presence of the church acts as a prominent landmark and is a good example of the widespread practice of using new churches to provide focal points for post-war estates.

External Links

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