Building » Sheffield (Handsworth) – St Joseph

Sheffield (Handsworth) – St Joseph

St Joseph’s Road, Handsworth, Sheffield, S13

A substantial stone church in Perpendicular Gothic style built from designs by the notable Sheffield architects M. E Hadfield & Son, the west end sensitively completed in the 1950s by the successor practice of Hadfield, Cawkwell & Davidson. The church forms a good group with the contemporary presbytery and school, all built through the gift of the fifteenth Duke of Norfolk. Together the buildings and burial ground constitute a major presence in the local townscape.

From 1867, Catholics in the vicinity of Woodhouse worshipped at the Woodhouse New Station, then at a mission house near Woodhouse Hall on Stubbin Lane (now Stradbroke Road). In 1870 a temporary wooden church designed under the direction of M. E. Hadfield and dedicated to St John of Beverley was opened. This served until a gift of the Duke of Norfolk allowed for the building of a permanent, purpose-built church, presbytery and school. The foundation stone for the church was laid on 27 August 1879 by Bishop Cornthwaite of Beverley, who performed the opening on 7 June 1881. The architects for the church, which is in Perpendicular Gothic style, were M.E Hadfield & Son and the builder was Martin Dowling of Harriet Street, Sheffield.

The church was adorned and enriched over time, including a new high altar and reredos in 1949. In 1956-57 the western bay of the nave, the south porch, baptistery and choir gallery were added, from designs by Hadfield, Cawkwell & Davidson. A new Lady altar was designed in Birmingham at the Hardman Studios. The church reopened on 19 March 1957, when Bishop Heenan preached.

In a post-Vatican II reordering in 1973 the rood, altar rails and pulpit were removed, the sanctuary redesigned and the altar moved forward. The font has been moved from the baptistery to the north aisle. The church was dedicated on 7 June 1981 and in 2004 a faculty was granted for the conversion of the baptistery to a WC.


See list entry, below, where the church is described fairly fully. The following can be added (details from Evinson):

  • The church is built of fine red sandstone, from the Duke of Norfolk’s quarries at Bole Hill; the roof is covered with Broseley tiles
  • The Stations of the Cross, large high-relief tableaux, are by E. de Fernelmont, and were given by the family of the first mission priest, Fr Adrian van Roosmalen
  • The font, now relocated to the north aisle, is of 1924
  • The screen separating the chancel and the Lady Chapel is of 1929
  • The marble altar (brought forward), stone reredos (with figures of St Thomas More and St John Fisher) and the stained glass in the sanctuary are of 1949
  • The Lady Chapel window is by Hardman, 1950
  • Two terracotta murals of St John Fisher on the north wall, by Philippa Threlfall, 1964, came from St John Fisher Secondary School in the mid-1980s.

List descriptions

Church and presbytery


Roman Catholic church and adjoining presbytery. 1879-81. By ME Hadfield & Son. For the 15th Duke of Norfolk. Nave extended and west front rebuilt 1956-57 by Hadfield, Cawkwell & Davidson. Coursed squared stone with ashlar dressings and plain tile roofs. Gothic Revival style. PLAN: chancel with crypt, Lady chapel and organ chamber, nave, north aisle, south porch. Pointed arch panel tracery windows throughout. EXTERIOR: plinth, buttresses, string course, sillband, coped gables. Single bay chancel has to north a 3-light window, and to east, a similar 5-light window. To south, a 2-light window, flanked to left by a priest’s door with a small 2-light window above it. All have hoodmoulds. Gable topped with cross. Crypt has 2 windows to east, and doorway with window above to north, all with moulded surrounds. Nave has to south four 3-light windows with hoodmoulds. West end has gable with wrought-iron finial. 3-light window with hoodmould and below, moulded ashlar doorcase with Tudor arched double door and label mould, flanked by single flat-headed windows. Steeply gabled south porch has double chamfered doorway with wrought-iron gates, and above, a slit window. To left, a flat-headed window. To right, a lean-to projection. Gabled north aisle has to north-east a gabled buttress topped with figure in niche. East end has a traceried 4-light window with hoodmould and below, 2 flat-headed windows with moulded surrounds. North side has to east a 3-light window, then a 4-light window, then four 3-light windows, all with hoodmoulds. Blank west gable. To south-east, adjoining the presbytery, a single storey corridor with 2 stone mullioned cross casements. To left, a square extruded corner. To right, steps to the presbytery door, with monolithic balustrades. Round-arched board door with gabled stone canopy on brackets. Presbytery, 2 storeys; 3 window range. T-plan. Coped gables and parapets and gable and side wall stacks with lozenge-shaped stone flues. Side wall stack with square flues. Projecting central gable with 3-light stone mullioned window. To its left, at the angle, a Decorated style niche with figure and nodding ogee canopy. Above, a single small casement. Below, a 3-light stone mullioned cross casement. To left, single bay with coped parapet and small sash. Below, stone mullioned cross casement. To right, set back bay with coped garden wall with board door, linked to lean-to outbuilding with garage door.

INTERIOR: chancel has double chamfered arch and responds, and arch braced wagon roof with bosses. East end has stained glass window, 1950, and Perpendicular style ashlar reredos, 1949. South side has to east a cusped piscina and small sedilia. Nave has arch braced wagon roof with wall shafts and corbels, and sillband. 5 bay north arcade with double chamfered arches dying into chamfered columns with crenellated responds. Western arch has resited wooden rood. At the west end, a smaller more pointed arch to the baptistry. West end has screen wall with central double doors flanked by single windows with wooden surrounds. Above, panelled wooden gallery. Lady chapel has similar roof to chancel. To north, ramped coped screen wall flanking altar steps. To its left, gate and shouldered double doors to the crypt. East end has mid C20 stained glass window. To south, cusped piscina and pointed arched opening with traceried screens, 1929. North aisle has similar roof to nave. At the east end, double chamfered arch. At the west end, moulded segmental pointed arch to baptistry, with wrought-iron gates. Font resited in north aisle. Presbytery has 4 stained glass panels, 1905, by F Nicolas of Roermond. Fittings include lobed ashlar font and open benches with framed ends.

(Church Centenary Booklet: Anon: Sheffield: 1981-; 150 Years of Architectural Drawing: Hadfield, Cawkwell, Davidson: Sheffield: 1984-: ITEM 48).

Listing NGR: SK4100786339

Water pump and trough south of presbytery


Water pump and trough. 1881. Round cast-iron pump with fluted top and domed cover. Rectangular stone trough. Included for group value. Listing NGR: SK4101986320

Primary school and boundary wall


Roman Catholic primary school and adjoining boundary wall. 1879-81. By ME Hadfield & Son. For the 15th Duke of Norfolk. Mid and late C20 additions and alterations. Coursed squared stone with ashlar dressings and plain tile roof with lozenge-shaped stone ridge stack. String course, coped gables, the right one topped with a gabled single bellcote and cross. Single storey; 3 window range. L-plan. Three 4-light stone mullioned glazing bar windows. To right, single bay flat-roofed addition with coped parapet and a large 4-light cross casement with label mould. To its right, boundary wall with chamfered ashlar coping and a pair of square gate piers with similar caps. Left gable has a 2-light cross casement with 4 upper lights. INTERIOR not inspected. Included for group value. Listing NGR: SK4097986296

Heritage Details

Architect: M.E. Hadfield & Son

Original Date: 1881

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II