Building » Rotherham – Forty Martyrs

Rotherham – Forty Martyrs

Roughwood Road, Kimberworth, Rotherham, S61

An economical post-Vatican II design, outwardly unprepossessing but with a striking interior with floating roof structure. 

After the Second Word War the local authority in Rotherham planned a number of housing estates, one being the Wingfield estate. In order to serve this growing area, a large site was purchased at the corner of Wingfield Road and Roughwood Road to accommodate a church, church hall and presbytery.  In January 1969, a dual-purpose church and hall was built from designs by John Rochford & Partners at a cost of £16,500. This included a sacristy and moveable altar and was built to seat 300 people. The following year a parish was erected, with the Rev. T. Clifford the first parish priest. In February 1972 the presbytery was completed, again from designs by John Rochford & Partners, at a cost of £9,500. Last of all the church was built, an economical structure costing £56,000, this was built from designs by Anthony Tranmer of John Rochford & Partners (contractor G. Banks Ltd of Attercliffe) and dedicated to the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales (canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970). It opened in May 1976.

In 2007, the parish amalgamated with St Bede’s parish, and since then Forty Martyrs has had the status of a chapel-of-ease.


The church was built in 1975-6 from designs by Anthony Tranmer of John Rochford & Partners. It is an economical design, square in plan, the nave and sanctuary forming a single volume, with spaces (internal draught lobby, sacristy, confessional, store rooms) giving off. The church is built of white fair-faced loadbearing concrete blocks and has a steel space frame roof structure. There are two corner entrances, each with a porch and monopitch steel roof painted red (no doubt reflecting the dedication), and with five narrow vertical windows at the sides. The gently-pitched perimeter clerestory gives the roof a floating impression. Externally, a tall triangulated metal ‘tower’ surmounted by a cross provides the vertical accent traditionally provided by a campanile.

The interior is planned on the diagonal, with the sanctuary placed on axis with the entrance. The most dramatic feature of the internal space is the steel-framed roof structure, painted red and contrasting with the exposed concrete block walls. The roof structure is similar to that in Anthony Jaggard’s church of St Joseph, Wool, Dorset (1969-70, listed Grade II). The floor of the nave is carpeted, except below the benches (which are arranged around the sanctuary) where there are tiles. The sanctuary is raised by one step. Its floor, altar and tabernacle stand are of Broughton Moor green slate. The brass tabernacle came from St Bede’s.

Heritage Details

Architect: John Rochford & Partners

Original Date: 1976

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed