Building » Moorends – St Joseph and St Nicholas

Moorends – St Joseph and St Nicholas

Bloomhill Road, Moorends, Doncaster, DN8 4SS

An economical but well-designed small church built just before the Second World War, with an attractive interior defined by reinforced concrete trusses. Good quality furnishings include the nave seating and stained glass windows in the baptistery. The parish is associated with Dutch Catholics who came to work on the peat moors from the 1890s.

In the 1890s, the flat peat moors between Thorne and Goole were acquired by a Dutch firm to extract the peat for commercial use, resulting in an influx of Dutch Catholic workers. Initially, they and local Catholics attended services at Crowle or Goole, until a room was found in Peat Moss Terrace at Moorends in about 1900. From 1906, a mission was set up in the school house at Moorends County School, under the care of the Rev. Ceslas Vermeulen and served from Crowle. A corrugated iron church opened in 1912, on land leased from the Thorne Colliery Company. Until 1916, most of the Catholics were Dutch, with Irish immigration after the First World War when the colliery village was expanded.  Fr McGarity moved into a house on Dunelm Crescent in Moorends and the field adjacent was chosen as a site for a new church. In 1937, the parish was erected and two years later the present church was built and opened by the Bishop of Leeds. The identity of the architect has not been established, but the concrete trusses of the internal structure bear some resemblance to those at Godfrey L. Clarke’s church at Kirk Sandall (qv).

The parish was served by priests of the Premonstratensian Order until 1987, when it was handed over to the diocese. Today the church is served from St Peter-in-Chains, Doncaster (qv).


The church is aligned with the sanctuary to the north, but in this account liturgical compass points with be used. The church is faced in a buff drag-wire brick on a red brick plinth, with concrete dressings. The roof is covered in plain clay tiles, with a coped verge to the west end and plain verge to the east. Rainwater goods are aluminium. The five-bay building has a nave and sanctuary under one roof, with a flat-roofed sacristy to the southeast, and a west porch faced in buff brick with a hipped tiled roof and double doors to the south side, built in the late twentieth century to replace a smaller original porch. On the west gable, above the porch, is a cross-shaped window, protected with polycarbonate sheeting. The nave side walls are articulated by pilaster buttresses with semi-circular headed windows, each with a cross motif forming a mullion and transom, leaded glazing and steel hoppers for ventilation. The sanctuary has a blind east wall with a cross in relief brickwork, and triple arched clerestory windows in concrete surrounds to the side walls. Towards the west end of the north nave wall there is half-octagonal projection for the baptistery, with a flat roof and four semi-circular headed windows.

The interior is divided into bays by full-height pointed concrete trusses; these and the plastered walls are painted. The roof has exposed rafters and diagonal sarking boards, and painted purlins, probably concrete or steel. The interior is arranged conventionally with good quality pine pews and a central aisle. The sanctuary fittings include a grey marble altar and tabernacle stand, and an oak reredos with canopy given by the McGavity family in 1955. The baptistery has a tapering octagonal marble font and good quality 1960s stained glass by the Belgian artist Elfa Courtoit.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1939

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed