Building » Hoyland – Sacred Heart and St Helen

Hoyland – Sacred Heart and St Helen

West Street, Hoyland, Barnsley S74

A handsome interwar Italian Romanesque design, with good brick detailing. The campanile is a local landmark. 

A mission was founded in Hoyland in 1864, and a small school chapel was built on Stutbin Lane in Elsecar was for the use of Catholics of Elsecar, Stutbin and Hoyland. The chapel, dedicated to St Helen, was in a twelfth century Gothic style, from designs by Hadfield & Son. It was opened on 22 April 1865 by the Bishop of Beverley. The mission transferred to Hoyland in 1897, when a school was built.

Bishop Cowgill of Leeds laid the foundation stone for the present church on West Street in June 1928, and the building opened in 1929. It was built as a memorial to Fr Smith, who had been in charge of the mission for nearly forty years. It was designed by Godfrey Clarke FRIBA of Empsall, Clarkson & Clarke of Bradford, in Italian Romanesque style, with a prominent campanile. It was illustrated in an account of Godfrey Clarke’s work in The Tablet in 1931, where it was described as follows:

“For the larger church at Hoyland, near Barnsley, built for the most part of brick and tiles with a little stone judiciously introduced, Mr. Clarke has sought some inspiration in the Italian or Romanesque manner. As the accompanying sketch shows, the tower, or campanile, is decidedly Italian in feeling, as also are the small barrel-shaped stone columns which characterize the topmost window-openings and embellish the arcading across the facade. Otherwise this church depends for ornament simply upon its brickwork. The interior is simple. Brick arcading springing from rectangular brick columns marks the division of the nave from the aisles, whilst a large brick chancel arch is the most notable feature of the apsidal sanctuary. Of the two transepts, one forms the Lady Chapel, the other being utilized for the sacristy. A stone stairway at the west end of the church gives access to the gallery and to the campanile, which also provides accommodation for the organ.”

The church was dedicated in 1954. In 2007, the Dearne Valley parish of Corpus Christi was formed, merging the three smaller parishes of Wombwell, Hoyland and Goldthorpe.


The church was built from designs by Empsall, Clarkson & Clarke and opened in 1929. It is in Italian Romanesque style, built of red brick with stone dressings and tile roofs. On plan it consists of a seven-bay nave with south aisle; a sanctuary to the east; west narthex with gallery over, and offset campanile to the south east; two transepts, one forming the Lady Chapel and the other a sacristy. The west end has a gabled entrance with arcading and moulded brick decoration. Above is a canopied niche with a stone statue of the Sacred Heart and above this a frieze of small round-arched windows divided by stubby stone columns, a small round window and Lombard arcading under the eaves. The offset campanile has a ground floor entrance with moulded brick surround and an open belfry stage with triple arcaded openings and pyramidal roof; it houses one bell, cast by John Taylor of Loughborough (1956). To the south side, each bay of the aisle is lit by paired round-headed windows, each pair set within a wider recessed shallow arch, while the clerestory is lit by one arched window per bay. The clerestory windows have been replaced by double glazing. The sanctuary and Lady Chapel have a plain shallow projection to the east.

At the west end a stone stairway gives access to the organ gallery and campanile. The narthex is separated from the nave by glazed panels. It leads into a spacious interior, plastered and painted, with an open timber roof of hybrid design and construction. The brick nave arcade is blind and pilastered on the north side (suggesting an intention to add a north aisle later if necessary) and has square piers to the aisled south side. A high, wide chancel arch occupies the full width of the nave. The sanctuary has shallow blind arcades on each side and an apse at the east end. The forward altar and communion rails are of green and white marble. The aisle windows contain stained glass, those to the north are by Roy Coomber (1990s) and those to the south designed more recently by pupils of St Helen’s primary school.

External image credit:,_Hoyland_2014.jpg

Heritage Details

Architect: Empsall, Clarkson & Clarke

Original Date: 1929

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed