Building » Cudworth – St Mary Madgdalene

Cudworth – St Mary Madgdalene

Prospect Street, Cudworth, Barnsley, S72

A plain design by John Rochford, notable above all for its David John furnishings.

By the turn of the twentieth century Cudworth was surrounded by collieries, including Grimethorpe and Ferrymoor. New housing estates were built in association with the mining industry during the 1930s, along with recreational facilities including Cudworth Welfare Park. A Catholic mission was founded in 1933 and in 1937 the Rev. K. Henegan initiated the building of a senior school with chapel in Prospect Street, to replace an earlier building which had been destroyed by fire. The building was designed by Messrs Dyson, Cawthorne & Coles of Barnsley and cost £11,200.

In 1960 a purpose-built church was proposed to replace the temporary chapel within the school. John Rochford’s design envisaged a tall campanile, but this was omitted in the final design, presumably to save costs. The builders were T. Potter & Son, Barnsley and the church, built to accommodate 250 people, opened in 1961. It cost £14,000.


The church was built to the designs of John Rochford of Sheffield and opened in 1961. It has a longitudinal plan comprising a projecting porch and narthex to the west, nave, choir gallery, sanctuary, and Lady Chapel. A sacristy and confessionals give off to the south and ancillary facilities at the west end. The building has a steel-frame, supporting a timber roof covered in Westmorland green slates. Externally it is faced in brown brick laid in stretcher bond. A flat-roofed porch incorporates a large aluminium-coloured fibreglass relief panel by David John, representing the Three Marys. Above is a crucifix, also by David John, attached to an iron cross. A bell is hung from the horizontal tie to the church (an intended campanile was not built). The west gable end has a central two-light window below the shallow valley of the roof. The north and south elevations are of plain brick with clerestory lighting running the full length. On the south side is the projecting Lady Chapel and sacristy. The east end has a blind elevation with part of the sacristy projecting to the south.

The interior is lit mainly by the high-level clerestory glazing. It has painted plastered walls, carpeted flooring and a flat ceiling lined with tongue and groove boarding. The sanctuary is raised on one step and the altar on a further three. The font is placed on the north side of the sanctuary. The sanctuary furnishings are of timber and are plain in character, replacements for the originals. The timber Stations of the Cross are by David John and form one long horizontal panel on the north wall of the nave.

Heritage Details

Architect: John Rochford

Original Date: 1961

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed