Building » Rawmarsh – St Joseph

Rawmarsh – St Joseph

Green Lane, Rawmarsh, Rotherham, S62

Designed as a dual-purpose church and hall, but used from early on exclusively as a church, this modest post-war building has a light and spacious interior with an original tiled reredos at the east end, but is not of great architectural or historical significance. 

Rawmarsh and the surrounding area has strong associations with the now-defunct mining industry. Several large collieries including Warren Vale opened in the nineteenth century. By the twentieth century New Stubbin Colliery had opened in Rawmarsh, with associated accommodation for the colliery workers. In 1936, the parish of St Joseph was established and in the same year St Joseph’s Primary School opened. Mass was said in the school chapel until a permanent church was built in 1956. The new church was initiated under the parish priest Fr O’ Donohoe and was officially opened by Bishop Heenan on the feast of St Joseph, 19 March 1956. It was designed by R. A. Ronchetti of Harrogate to accommodate 300, and cost £20,000. The building was designed as a dual-purpose church and hall, but in practice was used from the outset solely as a church, and the flexible seating soon replaced with pews.


The church was built to the designs of R. A. Ronchetti of Harrogate in 1956. The walls are faced with rustic brown bricks laid in Flemish bond, with artificial stone for the window sills, copings and cross; the roof is (or was in 1956) covered with ACME ‘sandstorm’ tiles. Roughly cruciform in plan, the church comprises a western narthex with gallery over, aisleless five-bay nave and a sanctuary expressed by a lower pitched roof with offices giving off. A fall in land allowed for a storage space to be created under the sanctuary.

The west elevation is framed by corner buttresses and has a central doorway with flat canopy and arcaded brick decoration to the sides. The entrance is flanked by small single-light windows with a tall narrow vertical window above. The gable end is crowned with a stone cross. The former stone four-stepped entrance to the church has been recently modified to provide ramped access. The flank elevations have two small single-light windows to the narthex and five windows to the north and four to the south lighting the nave, separated by brick buttresses. To the east on the north side is a former kitchen, now a store and on the south side is the sacristy. The sanctuary to the east has two large window openings to the north and south.

The interior has plain plastered and painted walls, with the floor carpeted except below the pews. The nave has its original canted tiled suspended ceiling and windows each incorporating a tinted red cross. There is a pipe organ in the gallery over the small narthex at the west end. The sanctuary is raised by three steps, with a pine forward altar and a further step to the tabernacle stand. The east wall contains a tiled panel (originally the high altar reredos) depicting the Annunciation, within a broad reeded surround. Stations of the Cross in the nave are painted scenes within wooden arched frames. Nave seating is in the form of pine pews.

Heritage Details

Architect: R.A. Ronchetti

Original Date: 1956

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed