Building » Hadfield – St Charles Borromeo

Hadfield – St Charles Borromeo

Woolley Bridge Road, Hadfield, Glossop, Derbyshire

A good example of the robust Gothic Revival churches designed by the Sheffield firm of Weightman, Hadfield & Goldie. Its significance lies particularly in its historical association with the Lords Howard, second sons of the Duke of the Norfolk, under whose patronage this and several churches in the Glossop area were built. The Howard family vault is below the northeast chapel. The extensive landscaped  setting contributes to the aesthetic significance of the site, laid out in the late nineteenth century. Internally, the arcaded nave is enhanced by a good collection of early twentieth century stained glass, including windows by Mayer & Co. of Munich. The most significant fittings are the pulpit with alabaster figures and the re-set Gothic altar and reredos. The interior was remodelled and redecorated in 1940, showing great respect for the Gothic Revival character of the church.

The great patrons of Catholicism in the Glossop area were the Howard family and their agents in the early 1800s, when the Duke of Norfolk’s estate developed Glossop and Hadfield for textile manufacturing. The first to be built was All Saints, Glossop (qv), 1836, also by Weightman & Hadfield. Previously, Mass was said in a house in Hollingworth and in Glossop Hall, an estate shooting lodge. The church of St Charles Borromeo was built by Lord Edward Fitzalan Howard,  first Baron of Glossop, in 1858. The Howard family vault was built in 1888, requiring the demolition of the Lady Chapel. A new Lady altar was set up in the chapel on the south side of the sanctuary in 1888.

St Joseph’s Convent was built in 1887, paid for by John Dalton, a local industrialist. Major alterations were made to the church in 1940 under the direction of architects E. Bower Norris and F.M. Reynolds. The sanctuary was redecorated in keeping with the original Gothic style and the high altar of 1883 was converted to a liturgical altar by the removal of the canopy, throne and turret, lowering of the gradines and replacement of the square tabernacle with a circular one. A canopy was installed over the altar and window (since removed). At the same time the Lady altar was moved back to the north side of the sanctuary, in a new chapel built over the Howard vault. An oak altar table from the Howard’s private chapel at Glossop Hall was installed in the south sanctuary chapel (now the Holy Family chapel). At the west end, the font was relocated to the baptistery, which was enclosed by a new oak screen. All these works were very much in keeping with the prevailing fashion in the diocese (unfashionable just about everywhere else) of respect for the architecture of the Gothic Revival.


The list description (below) covers the principal elements of the church, but makes no mention of the fittings and features associated with the Lords Howard, particularly the northeast family vault, built in 1888, with a 20th century Lady chapel with inscribed memorial over. The wooden altar table in the Holy Family chapel was originally in the Howard’s private chapel in Glossop Hall. The pipe organ in the west gallery was built by Wheildon & Roberts in 1860, added to in phases. Pitch pine joinery in the church includes plain nave pews and panelled doors with original ironmongery. The oak screen to the relocated baptistery was installed in 1940. The sacristy and presbytery are little altered and retain diagonally-laid tiled corridor floors, fitted pine vestment chest and cupboards and a staircase with an arcaded pine balustrade.

List description (church and presbytery)


Roman Catholic church and attached presbytery. 1858, by JG Weightman, ME Hadfield and George Goldie, Lady Chapel added 1888, alterations 1918-22 and north chancel chapel added 1940. MATERIALS: coursed rock-faced millstone grit with ashlar dressings and Welsh slate roofs with coped gables, kneelers and cross finials. STYLE: Gothic Revival. PLAN: south-west tower, nave with north and south aisles and north porch, chancel with north and south chapels. Presbytery attached to south-east.

EXTERIOR: chamfered plinth. Tower with double chamfered plinth has polygonal south-west stair turret, 3 stages with to south 2 round windows and above paired lancets in single pointed arch opening, to west moulded pointed arch doorway with plank door and elaborate iron hinges, above small lancet. Third stage has single 2- light pointed arch bell openings to each face, topped with ashlar parapet. West front of nave has 2 small lancets and above 2 tall lancets with between carved figure under gabled canopy, above circular window with trefoil tracery. Aisle has double lancet in single pointed arch surround. North front has off-centre gabled porch with pointed arch doorway and double plank doors with iron hinges. Single window to right and 4 windows to left all double lancets in pointed arch surrounds. Above 6 circular clerestory windows. South front has 3 double lancets, gabled confessional and then single triple lancet, above 6 circular clerestory windows. East apsidal chancel has 2 circular clerestory windows to each side and 3 tall lancets to east. Presbytery attached to south-east by covered walkway. The presbytery a double-gabled building with wing, clustered stacks and porch, the windows with mullions and transoms.

INTERIOR: church plastered. 5 bay nave arcades with round piers and cushion capitals with simple bases. Large chamfered chancel arch. Nave roof with paired rafters with alternate arched braces resting on carved stone corbels. Chancel roof ceiled. FITTINGS: include large freestone and marble reredos with niches containing carved figures under crocketed and pinnacled canopies and gilt angels to extreme left and right. Stone altar with marble columns and carved angels flanking the crown of thorns. Stone polygonal pulpit with carved scenes, on marble shafts, 1894. Stone font on pedestal with claws. Many of the wooden fittings date from the 1930s and 1950s. STAINED GLASS: includes south aisle windows by Mayer & Co of Munich.

Heritage Details

Architect: Weightman, Hadfield & Goldie

Original Date: 1857

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II