Herringthorpe Valley Road, Herringthorpe, Rotherham, S65
A large post-war church by Robert A Ronchetti with an impressive, largely brick-faced interior. The church is on a raised site and with the large crucifix on the north elevation makes a strong contribution to the local townscape.
St Bede’s served the whole of Rotherham until colliery communities and new housing estates established in the outskirts necessitated further Mass centres and parishes. There was a growing Catholic community within the districts of East Dene, Herringthorpe, East Wood and Listerdale, and a Mass centre was established at East Dene miners’ welfare centre. In 1938, Bishop Poskitt of Leeds laid the foundation stone for St Mary’s school, and thereafter Mass was celebrated in the school chapel. The Catholic population continued to grow and in 1946 St Mary’s was constituted as a separate parish. The school chapel was insufficient to meet the needs of the growing parish and under Fr Craig a house near the school was acquired to serve as a presbytery. It also had large enough grounds to accommodate a permanent church. The present church was built from designs by R. A. Ronchetti of Harrogate. It was built to accommodate 400 and cost £19,000, exclusive of altars and seating. It was completed and in use by 27 March 1955, and officially opened on 25 April 1955.
The church was consecrated on 21 May 2003. In 2009 it was reordered and refurbished by John Hill Associates of Doncaster. Works included a new suspended ceiling, redecoration, lighting, heating and electrical services and re-glazing of windows. At the time of the visit the floor of the church was being re-carpeted; the photographs at the top of the report show the temporary displacement of some of the furnishings.
The church was built to the designs of Robert Aloysius Ronchetti in 1955. It is faced in brown rustic bricks laid in Flemish bond (west and east end, Lady Chapel, and baptistery) and stretcher bond (nave and aisle side elevations). Artificial stone is used for the dressings (copings, sills, door surrounds). The church is cruciform on plan, consisting of a narthex with gallery over, aisled nave, sanctuary, Lady Chapel, baptistery and north porch, sacristy and confessionals. The aisle and sacristy roofs are flat, while the other roofs are clad with interlocking pantiles.
The tall gabled west front projects slightly forward and is framed by giant order piers. The entrance has a central oak doorway with square artificial stone surround, with a tall rectangular lancet window and gable cross above. The end walls of the aisles have single-light windows with segmental brick headers and stone sills. The north and south elevations have round arched windows to the clerestory and aisles, with bay divisions marked by brick pilasters. The baptistery and porch to the north and Lady Chapel to the south are within two gabled projections with a large (13 ft) reconstituted stone crucifix attached to the north gable, prominent in the view from the street. The north side also includes the disabled access into the church, the sacristy and a block linking the parish rooms with the presbytery. The sanctuary has a lower ridge and two vertical window openings on each side, widely spaced on the east wall.
Architect: R. A. Ronchetti
Original Date: 1955
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed