Building » Sheffield (Spinkhill) – Immaculate Conception

Sheffield (Spinkhill) – Immaculate Conception

College Road, Spinkhill, Sheffield, S21

A fine church by J. A. Hansom with minor additions by the same architect and commendably restrained north extensions. The building is a good example of a Catholic church of the date, reflecting the adoption of Puginian principles of design, while the richness of the detailing is testament to the availability of relatively generous funding. The exterior is little altered and the interior retains some original furnishings and glass, enhanced by the addition of good modern glass in the nave. 

The mission at Spinkhill has its origins in a chapel in Spinkhill Hall, home of the recusant Pole or Poole family, who educated their sons on the Continent during the seventeenth century. The hall almost certainly had a pre-Reformation chapel, but the earliest identified reference to a chapel is in documents of 1711, when a priest’s chamber is also mentioned. By this time it is likely that the hall was being used as a clandestine Catholic school, following the break-up in 1635 of that at Stanley Grange, near Derby. Spinkhill was the centre of the Jesuit College or mission centre which had been founded by 1633. The hall seems to have been rebuilt on several occasions, and there are records of rebuilding of its chapel in 1791 and again in the 1830s. This work can be related to the existing College Sodality Chapel, which may contain eighteenth century or earlier fabric.

Mount St Mary’s College was formed in 1841-2 reusing the hall and chapel. The initial work of conversion was undertaken by Joseph Aloysius Hansom, who also designed the church, which was built to serve the college and the local mission. [In addition to the Sodality Chapel the college incorporates a War Memorial Chapel designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott in 1928-30. This is a fine and little-altered building of high architectural quality].

Building of the church to designs by Hansom commenced in 1844 and was completed in 1846 at a cost of around £6,000, which was raised by subscription. A service of consecration was held in September of that year.  In 1864 the church was enlarged with provision of a larger sacristy behind the existing north chapel, and the replacement of the south sacristy with the present chapel, initially called the Middleton Chapel and later the Lady Chapel, also to designs by J. A. Hansom. A further major phase of alteration took place in 1904 when the chancel screen was moved, and an elaborate new reredos and alabaster altar rails by A. B. Wall of Cheltenham installed. A replacement clock was fitted in the tower.

A major scheme of refurbishment and redecoration took place between 1960 and 1966. This work included replacement of floors, removal of stained glass in the nave and construction of a meeting room on the north side of the church, to designs by Reynolds & Scott. A further reordering took place in 1989 under John Rochford, architect. The high altar and reredos were moved to the north chapel, which became the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and stained glass from the chapel was moved to the south chapel. The font, which had been taken apart, was reassembled and placed at the rear of the nave, and rood figures were suspended from the chancel arch. A new stone altar and ambo designed by Rochford were installed.


An architectural description is to be found in the list entry (below). To this may be added the correct name of the architect, Joseph Aloysius Hansom. The interior is described only briefly in the list entry. Furnishings include large figure carvings representing Jesuit worthies supporting the nave roof principals, carved by a Mr Maples. Original glass, including the east window and the reset roundels in the south-east chapel, is credited to Mr Snow of London and Mr Goodwin of Barlborough. The other south-east chapel glass is by Patrick Feeney of Hardmans, 1947. A scheme of nave glass by Mark Angus on the theme of ‘The Spiritual Journey’ was completed over a period of several years from 2000. The nave seating consists of benches arranged collegiate-fashion, with the octagonal stone font placed centrally at the west end.

List description


Catholic church. 1846 by James Hansom, with extensions of 1864 and 1966. Regularly coursed coal measures sandstone with ashlar gritstone dressings, rising from a diagonal plinth, coped gables with cross finials, coped gables and Welsh slated roofs. Tower with broach spire, with single stage projecting tower stair tower, nave with south nave porch, chancel with north and south chancel chapels, and extension to chancel chapel of 1964. Three stage tower with stepped clasping buttresses, with set-offs, with moulded stringcourse linking lancet buttresses set-off and moulded band courses delineating the tower stages. Coupled pointed arched EE style belfry lights below a moulded cornice from which the octagonal spire rises. The spire has decorative diagonal masonry bands and lucarnes, which incorporate clock faces, with cross finials. South face with niche, with Dec. style surround, with statue of the Virgin. Projecting single storey tower for tower stair, with stepped flagged roof. Tall lancet to west tower wall at first stage level, with deeply moulded surround below hoodmould with foliage stops. Lancets to ground floor beneath continuous string which acts as hoodmould. Gabled porch with diagonal buttresses, coped gable with cross finial and tripartite niche to gable apex with figures of the Virgin and attendant angels. Single doorway with moulded pointed arch beneath hoodmould with head stop. Nave of five bays, with stepped diagonal buttresses to west end, and similar buttresses delineating nave bays. Steeply pointed arched 2-light windows within deeply recessed and moulded surround with moulded stringcourse below cills and hoodmoulds with head stops. Chamfered eaves band carried on corbel table. Chancel south chapel with stepped diagonal buttresses, and four linked shallow 2-light windows with trefoil heads to lights supporting quatrefoils. Hoodmoulds to each window with carved stops. Single 3-light pointed arched window with simple tracery to east end. Chancel with simplified corbel table, diagonal buttresses, and a 3-light window with deeply recessed and moulded surround. Moulded stringcourse steps up beneath cill level. Chancel south chapel with seven linked single lights, each a cusped lancet beneath a hoodmould, the moulding linked at the capitals of intermediate attached shafts. Diagonal buttresses to north-east corner. Vestry of 1864 to north of chapel with plain chamfered plinth and three 2-light cross windows with trefoil heads to each light. Taller cross windows to north gable, with diagonal projecting stack, separating lancets in gable apex, and terminating in circular stone chimney. Vestry doorway to west of extension, now blocked and used as window. Plain flat roofed extension to nave north wall.

Interior. Roof carried on elaborate corbels which support roof posts. Tall EE style chancel arch, alabaster reredos of 1904, contemporary reredos with upper part of 1904. Chancel north chapel with diminutive hammer beam roof.

Listing NGR: SK4543278611

Heritage Details

Architect: J. A. Hansom

Original Date: 1846

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II