High Street, Uppermill, Saddleworth, Nr Oldham
A Nonconformist chapel converted to Catholic use in 1967, the building has a well-preserved exterior and galleried interior and makes a positive contribution to the Uppermill Conservation Area.
In 1920 Saddleworth became part of the parish of Slaithwaite, which had just been separated from St Patrick’s, Huddersfield, though since this was ten or twelve miles away across the moors, the few Catholics in the area found it easier to travel to Mossley. As numbers grew, the priests in Mossley agreed to set up a Mass centre in Uppermill, in the rooms above the old Co-op. The first Mass was said there in 1943. In 1952 a deputation went to visit the Bishop in Leeds to ask for their own parish and priest. Bishop Heenan agreed and entrusted the care of the Saddleworth Catholics to the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Ladcastle Hall, a large house in Dobcross was acquired and services took place in the front room until the stables were converted into a chapel. In 1967, the current church was acquired from the Ebenezer Congregation, giving the parish a permanent and central building.
Exterior of rough faced local stone with dressings of ashlar and roof coverings of Welsh slate. The gabled west front facing the High Street is the show front. Central entrance up steps under a wide segmental arch, rose window over. Tall Italian Gothic window to left with two lights under a carved tympanum with semi-circular head. Slightly projecting tower to right of three stages, the two lower square on plan, the top stage octagonal with a slated spirelet. Side walls of seven bays divided by pilaster strips, each bay with tall two-light windows with a central transom. The east gable wall is blind and terminates in a chimneystack.
The interior is galleried on all four sides. The timber galleries with pierced ornamental fronts, now painted, are supported on iron columns which are continued above the gallery to support the roof. The ceiling has a tunnel vault over the central space with flat ceilings over the galleries. The organ is in the gallery at the liturgical east end (the usual position in Nonconformist chapels); the space below the organ is now boxed-in, with the altar in front. The windows are mostly clear glazed, with some ribbon decoration, though a few have stained glass. Modern timber floor and timber benches.
Attached to the rear of the church is a modern (1980s) two-storey building containing the parish hall below and presbytery above.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1873
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed