Bradford - St Clare

Moorside Road, Fagley, Bradford, West Yorkshire

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A good Post-War church in the tradition of the Byzantine-influenced style  which  persisted  from  the  early  20th   century  up  until  the  early 1960s. Well-proportioned exterior and well-detailed interior, marred by the alterations to the sanctuary.

The 1904 edition of Bartholomew’s Gazetteer of the British Isles describes Fagley as a hamlet 1 ½ miles northeast of Bradford. By 1918 it was an emerging suburb and a Catholic church was opened in a tin hut in Charnwood Road. The parish of St Clare was created in 1944 and the permanent church opened on December 12 1956, from designs by J. H. Langtry-Langton & Partners. Consecration took place in 1968. The church was reordered in 1967-8 by J. H. Langtry-Langton & Partners. The presbytery (designed by Stephen Langtry-Langton) was built in 1977, replacing a Victorian house affected by subsidence.

The church is cruciform, of generous proportions and in a Byzantine style, revealing Jack Langtry-Langton in a more traditional vein. There is an open porch with round arches on columns with decorated cushion capitals. Tower-like projections at the west end of the aisles, that on the north side houses a staircase to the gallery whilst that on the south was the Baptistery. Round-arched windows, plain to north and south and with stepped surrounds to the west. Stepped group of three above the porch, and similarly to the gable ends of the transepts. The entrance to the church has a surround with a decorative frieze. Octagonal lantern over the square base of the crossing, with three windows to the long sides and single ones to the short. Bellcote on the east gable, chapels in the angles between sanctuary and transepts and sacristy and later hall attached to the east. Externally the church is faced in a variegated brick which was stone coloured but has darkened considerably with age, and has a tiled roof.

The interior is lofty and spacious with banded brick piers and marbled fibrous plaster columns with cushion capitals supporting an entablature with dentil cornice. The Classical details are by Peter Langtry-Langton, than a third year architecture student. One bay sanctuary, the marble altar brought forward. Arched baldacchino over a large reredos of panels of figured walnut. The carpeted timber platform is a poor substitute for the stepped marble pavement of the original sanctuary shown in photographs and the church has lost a certain majesty as a result of the change, including  the  loss  of  the  original  altar  rails.  Chapels  to  either  side  with  arched openings from the sanctuary, with decorative metal screens. Northeast chapel lined with black variegated marble, erected as a memorial to Canon Shanahan in 1969. Plain broad semi-circular crossing arches and pendentives supporting the short sides of the octagon. Scalloped frieze beneath the windows, the ceiling with a dropped central section reflecting the plan of the octagon, with moulded decorative detailing. West gallery over an internal porch or narthex, perhaps a later alteration. Contemporary open-backed pews and portable wooden font, square in plan.

Diocese: Leeds

Architect: J. H. Langtry-Langton

Original Date: 1955

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed