Building » Goldthorpe – Sacred Heart

Goldthorpe – Sacred Heart

Lockwood Road, Goldthorpe, Barnsley, S63

A Gothic Revival design of 1907, built for the miners of the Dearne Valley area, with some good timber detailing but the sanctuary now deprived of its previous richness. 

Goldthorpe developed as one of many mining communities in Dearne Valley in the early twentieth century. A Mass centre was established in 1902, served from Denaby (known today as Old Denaby to distinguish from Denaby Main). The Catholic population continued to grow and a separate mission was founded in 1904. Shortly afterwards the architects Empsall, Clarkson & Clarke were appointed to design a permanent church, which opened in 1907.

In 1957 The Catholic Building Review reported that Fr Geaney, then parish priest, had removed the high altar and all the elaborate metalwork in the church and had a new altar and sanctuary designed by J. H. Langtry Langton, with richly patterned sanctuary walls of gilt and crimson. However, this arrangement has not survived post-Vatican II reordering.

The church was dedicated on 27 June 1976, and it may be that the present sanctuary furnishings date from around this time. In 2007 the parish of Corpus Christi was formed, merging the three smaller parishes of Wombwell, Hoyland and Goldthorpe.


The church was built in 1907 to the designs of Empsall, Clarkson & Clarke of Bradford. It is in a simple Gothic style, built in red brick laid in English garden wall bond, with stone dressings and roof coverings of Welsh slate. The plan is rectangular, comprising an aisleless nave under a pitched roof, short sanctuary, south porch and north sacristy.

The north and south sides of the nave have two-light square-headed windows with Geometrical tracery. The nave side walls are divided into five bays with plain brick buttresses with stone copings. The south porch has a central arched stone entrance with splayed moulding to the arch, and boarded doors with elaborate iron hinges. Above this is a niche containing a statue of the Virgin and Child, enclosed by a ramped parapet and coping surmounted by a stone cross.  The east and west windows consist of a five-light window within a large stone arch, the mullions at the east end continuing up to enclose a stone sculpture above. All the windows have leaded glass and are protected with polycarbonate sheeting.

The interior has plain plastered and painted walls, with a timber sill moulding running below the nave windows. The nave is lit by five windows on either side. The exposed roof has arch-braced collar trusses with Gothic details in the spandrels. A large crucifix hangs from the tall pointed sanctuary arch. The sanctuary is raised by three steps, and a further one step to the tabernacle stand. The modern sanctuary furniture (altar and tabernacle stand) have been painted to replicate veined marble. The church seating consists of oak pews with kneelers, and the walls are lined with panelling up to dado level. The pew frontals include panels intricately carved to the front and rear with Eucharistic and other symbols.

Heritage Details

Architect: Empsall, Clarkson & Clarke

Original Date: 1907

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed