Building » Penistone – St Mary

Penistone – St Mary

Talbot Road, Penistone, Sheffield, S36

An economical, prefabricated design with a laminated timber roof structure, one of many such designs built by the firm of Lanner of Wakefield in the 1960s.

Penistone originated as a small market town in the Pennines north of Sheffield, and grew after the railway arrived in 1845, with an engineering depot. Around 1810, a Catholic priest, the Rev. Louis Dennis administered to the needs of Catholics in the area, and is said to be buried in the churchyard of the Anglican parish church of St John. After 1860, Catholics from Penistone attended Mass at St Ann, Deepcar (qv), and from 1910 at various locations in Penistone, including rooms rented from T. W. Ward Ltd, and later in St John’s church school. In 1919 a plot of land on the hill on Talbot Road was purchased, but due to a decline in the local Catholic population no church was built.

The opening of the M1 motorway in the 1960s attracted commuters to Penistone, including Catholics, and in 1964, the Rev. John Callanan arranged for a multipurpose church to be built, serving as a chapel-of-ease to Deepcar. The church was formally opened and dedicated by Bishop Dwyer of Leeds on 31 May 1965. The dual-purpose hall and church was designed and built by Lanner Ltd of Royston and Wakefield and cost £11,500, with another £6,500 spent on the boundary walls and furnishings.


The church is a design and build construction by Lanner Ltd of Wakefield, built in 1965. It is faced in buff brick laid in stretcher bond, with vertical timber boarding to the west gable end and a concrete tiled roof. The church is aligned with the sanctuary to the north, and in this account liturgical compass points will be referred to. The building plan comprises a narthex to the west, four-bay nave and sanctuary under one roof, with the Lady Chapel and sacristy in side projections at the east end. The narthex projects beyond the north and south walls of the nave to form a T-plan. The principal west entrance has a flat-roofed porch and canopy on posts projecting from the narthex, also flat-roofed and covered with mineral felt. The west end of the nave is lit by a triangular-headed window in the gable, with timber boarding either side. North and south sides of the nave have plastic windows, and on the south side of the sanctuary is the Lady Chapel, with zig-zag windows to the south. The sanctuary is lit by high-level side windows and the east wall is blind, with an internally illuminated cross, which can be seen from across the valley when lit. To the north side of the church towards the east end there are two flat-roofed projections, for the sacristy and a kitchen.

The narthex is separated from the nave by a timber-framed glazed screen and doors. The well-lit nave is defined by full-height laminated timber trusses, carrying four tiers of purlins (painted). The floor is laid with narrow timber boards and the walls and ceiling are plain plastered. The carpeted sanctuary has a flat plaster ceiling and diagonal boarding to the east wall with a curtained reredos and canopy. Original or early fittings includes scrolled steel screens between the sanctuary and Lady Chapel; the timber forward altar has matching decorative metalwork. Loose chairs provide nave seating. The stained glass in the west window dates from 2009.

Heritage Details

Architect: Lanner Ltd

Original Date: 1965

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed