Allerton Bywater - St John the Evangelist

Preston Lane, Allerton Bywater, Castleford, West Yorkshire

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A  simple  small  brick  church  of  1915  with  a  straightforward  interior much enriched recently by the current priest-in-charge. There are some First World War memorial stained glass windows.

In 1914 Canon John Hewison of St Joseph’s Castleford purchased this corner site to provide a chapel of ease serving the numerous small mining villages in the north of his parish. He appointed Arthur Hartley, an architect from Pontefract to design a building to seat 100. Bishop Cargill blessed the foundation stone beside the west porch on 30 August 1915. The church opened on 6 August 1916.

The parish was created in 1954 and in the 1960s the church was re-ordered with new furniture and the walls re-plastered. A separate parish centre was also built to the rear (and a little downhill) of the church. It is thought that some or all of the walls were  underpinned  in  the  1970s.  The  present  presbytery  next  to  the  church  was bought  to  replace  another  house  further  north  up  Preston  Road.  Fr.  Lawler  has carried out a number of improvements.

The church is at right angles to Preston Lane and so oriented to the north-east, therefore liturgical compass points have been used.

 St John’s church is a simple 3-bay rectangular red brick and slate building, 48 ft by

21ft,  with  large  raking  buttresses,  a  projecting  chancel  with  a  sacristy  wrapped around its north and east sides and a west porch. There is some applied timber framing in the gable of the west wall over the three light west window over the west porch (with its own raking buttresses). All the windows are wooden framed with a flat trefoil head, but there are stone cills that seem to suggest stone windows might have

been planned. The nave windows have two lights and reach to the wall plate under overhanging eaves. It seems there were worries about subsidence, hence the raking buttresses, but the tallest wall at the east end is unbuttressed. However, the northeast vestry was extended beneath the northern of the two east windows at some point to provide a WC for the priest.

The nave has a close boarded three-cant ceiling with side purlins and thin arched braces reinforced with iron tie bars. The sanctuary is similarly ceiled and has been re- floored and redecorated by Fr. Lawler. He has also carpeted the nave and introduced an etched glass west door, the 19th century altar rails and many new furnishings and devotional pieces.

 Most windows are filled with stained glass, many post-First World War memorials, but three are recent. The format is remarkably consistent, with standing figures surrounded by coloured glass in decorative lead frames.

Diocese: Leeds

Architect: Arthur Hartley of Pontefract

Original Date: 1915

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed