Building » Maltby – St Mary Magdalene

Maltby – St Mary Magdalene

Morrell Street, Maltby, Rotherham, S66

A post-war design by J. H. Langtry-Langton, its modest, parish hall-like exterior giving no hint of the architecturally richer interior. 

Development in Maltby in the early twentieth century is associated with the coalmining industry. The Maltby Main Colliery began sinking in 1907 and Herbert Mollekin was appointed to design a new housing estate, known as Maltby Model Village, with open spaces, recreational facilities and a number of churches of varying denomination. A Catholic mission was established in 1912, the Rev. Thomas Parkin being the first priest. A temporary timber church opened on 18 January 1914 (said to be that now at Harworth, qv). It was not until 1954 that plans were made for a permanent church. J. H. Langtry-Langton of Bradford was the architect and the foundation stone was laid on 5 August 1954. The church was built to seat 400 and cost approximately £16,000. It was opened and blessed by Bishop Heenan of Leeds on 13 October 1955 and consecrated on 6 May 1974.

Since then this has been enriched with faux marbling on the nave columns and high altar reredos (the original red and gold fabric behind the high altar is shown at figure 1). In 1974, the Earl of Scarborough presented an altar stone containing relics which had come from Roche Abbey; this was interred in the altar of the church.

For the purposes of this report liturgical orientation will be used i.e. the sanctuary referred to as the east end.

The church was built in 1955 from designs by J. H. Langtry-Langton of Bradford. It is longitudinal in plan, and consists of a narthex, five-bay nave with low aisles, sanctuary with side chapels and sacristy. It is astylar in character, the walls faced with red rustic bricks laid in stretcher bond, the dressings of artificial stone, the roof covered with dark brown tiles.

The west elevation faces the street, with a flat-roofed porch with tall round-arched central entrance. The gable above has three vertical rectangular windows and is surmounted by a stone cross. The aisles are flat-roofed, that to the south with five pairs of vertical windows divided by brick buttresses, while the north side has four pairs of windows with the sacristy, link block and parish hall. The east end is plain and windowless, with a brick moulded cross.

The plain character of the exterior offers no hint of the relative richness, and hybrid modern-classical design, of the interior. The nave is of six bays, marked by marbled columns with egg and dart detailing, supporting a deep moulded entablature running its full length. It is lit from each side by triple clerestory windows in each bay and pairs of windows in each aisle bay, and at the west end by three vertical large windows. The ceiling is supported by steel trusses and timber rafters and purlins. The entrance to the sanctuary is marked by a canted and flat-topped arch with volutes at the springing. The sanctuary is raised by three steps with a stone altar and side chapels to the north and south. The high altar is thrown into relief by a reredos panel, with a crucifix with vine detailing in high relief and marbled paintwork contained by an architrave; above is a segmental projecting canopy. The ceiling is painted pale blue with star motifs.

Heritage Details

Architect:

Original Date: 1955

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed