Building » Halifax – St Columba

Halifax – St Columba

Highroad Well Lane, Pellon, Halifax, West Yorkshire

One of the later churches by Charles Simpson (the practice closed down in 1939). Though not architecturally distinguished, the church is of some merit, especially the treatment of the eastern parts. Altar and pulpit by Thomas Earp.

Halifax’s western suburb of Pollen grew up from the 1920s. Mass was at first said in the pavilion at Thrum Hall cricket and rugby ground. With a congregation of around 200, Fr Russell purchased the site on the corner of Highroad Well Lane and Rye Lane and the foundation stone for the church was laid on 7 October 1933. The church opened on 4 August 1934 and St Columba’s became a parish in 1941. The church was originally dedicated to St Columcille but this was later changed to the more common form of Columba.


Built of Haworth stone with a Welsh slate roof. Nave and sanctuary in one, with shallow transept-like projections and with sacristies off the northeast corner and a bell turret rising through the eaves. The style is a free late Gothic. The gabled east end of the church faces the street and has a monumentality of scale with polygonal turret like projections linked high up by a Gothic arch with a section of parapetted walling above. Within this blind arch is a massive stepped plinth and a tall canopied niche enclosing a sculpture of St Columba. Vesica-shaped window above with a central mullion and a single reticulation unit. The turrets have single tall cusped lancets. The sacristies are in a single storey over basement extension to the right with plain mullioned windows and a parapet. Rising through the eaves on the north side of the church at the junction of nave and sanctuary is a bellcote composed of two polygonal turrets with arched tops, linked by a piece of walling from which the single bell is hung. The sanctuary has two-light windows set high up with the same vesica-shaped arrangement in the tracery. The nave has three-light windows under four-centred arches and with Perp derived tracery of strongly grid-like form. The west front echoes the east but of squatter form, forming a porch etc with gallery over.

The interior is open to the apex of the roof, the main nave trusses arched and boxed- in, the tie beams castellated and the wall plate moulded. Panelled arrangement between. In the sanctuary the panelled arrangement is only beneath the collars. The soffit of the sanctuary arch is also panelled and supported on chunky polygonal shafts. Plastered and painted walls. The west gallery is set beyond the main west wall through which there is a trio of large openings, round-arched in the centre and square-headed to either side. The side openings  have depressed ogees with  sub-cusping  and  panel  tracery. The gallery fronts have an almost Moorish character although the vocabulary is Gothic. Internal porch doors with coloured glass and chevron arrangement. The sanctuary has a Gothic reredos of 1865 by Thomas Earp, originally at St Marie’s, brought here in 1934 and regrettably overpainted at a later date. The pulpit is also by Earp, from St Marie’s, and removed from its octagonal base. Communion rails of the same pattern as the gallery fronts. Small octagonal baldacchino over the high altar. Distinctive Stations of the Cross carved in relief with integral frames from which the figure scenes break out. Finished in a coarse adzed effect. Plain open-backed pews.

Heritage Details

Architect: Charles Simpson

Original Date: 1934

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed