ELLAND, West Yorkshire – All Saints.
The church was designed in 1893. The Builder of 14 August 1897 ran an article about the this design. The site is described as “excellent”, about 300 feet long, 165 feet wide, and with a fall of some 7 feet towards the east.
The architect has taken advantage of the fall of the site towards the east, and gained sufficient head room to place commodious vestries, parish room, lavatory and heating chamber below the chancel floor level, besides adding greatly to the external effect at the east end. There is a crypt planned, with a multi-purpose room to accommodate choir practice and general use, and vestries for choir and clergy. A circular staircase for clergy use leads to the ambulatory above, whilst the main access is a 6 feet wide stone staircase.
Some more statistics are given in the article, as well as the dimensions described below. The chancel can accommodate a choir of forty-six. The organ chamber on the south side requires the organist to be seated eleven feet above the chancel level. The Lady Chapel is designed to seat 80 adults, whilst the church altogether can accommodate 800 adults.
In 1912, according to the Halifax Evening Courier of 10 April that year, eight carved figures were placed around the chancel, representing saints. These figures were carved by Messrs. Martyn and Co. of Cheltenham, under the direction of the church’s architect.
The church is described in a guide book of 1949 thus:
Nearly 150 feet in length with a breadth of 82 feet, it stands as a noble example of the English Mediaeval style adapted. The nave has five bays clearly marked internally by vertical wall shafts which run up nearly to the roof-plate level and carry the main moulded principles of the roof and externally by flat, stepped buttresses. The walls are 30 feet in height, having somewhat low arches with a good clerestory above. A lofty arch carried right up to and following the curve of the barrel roof divides the nave from the chancel. All the windows of the arches, clerestory and West end are wide-splayed lancets. The floor of the nave slopes slightly from West to East to make the High Altar more visible to the congregation. The huge barrel roof of the nave and chancel has a coloured moulding, while the trussed roof of the Lady Chapel is richly embellished with fleur-de-lis, monograms of Our Lady and stars on a blue background, and the one in the All Souls’ Chapel has a stencil design on it. The total internal height is 42 feet. The chancel and sanctuary are 45 feet by 25 feet and are carried to the same height as the nave, from which a series of nine steps leads to the Altar in the well-spaced sanctuary, where three sedilia have been let into the south wall. Advantage has been taken of a fall of 17 feet in the land at the East end to build commodious vestries, organ chamber, store room and lavatory in the crypt, while a priest’s sacristy is provided on the South side of and on the same level as the Chancel. The flèche – or steeple – has led many to describe the style of the building as French Gothic; it is copper-plated with crockets and has a striking figure of the Archangel Gabriel on top of it. Local stone was used for the walls and dressings externally, and red brick with stone dressings internally. The Sunday School has three main rooms marked by movable partitions with a kitchen and cloakroom at either end and is joined to a beautiful arched cloister connecting it with the Church, and bordering a grass quadrangle and flower-beds. The niche on the exterior of the Lady Chapel is intended one day to hold a statue of the Mother of Our Lord.
Further features of the building are worth noting.
The baptistry is apsidal at the west end, with brilliantly colourful mosaic walls of red, green, blue, gold and white, surmounted by three stained glass lancets. This gives the otherwise stark west end elevation interest internally and externally. The windows here, as in the whole building, were designed by Edward Prynne.
The cloister is probably the most unexpected feature, for in no other Fellowes Prynne church has this feature been seen, save in the design for the church at Johannesburg. It gives the whole building a sense of dignity, and unifies the church building with that of the Sunday school.
At the opening ceremony, at which Fellowes Prynne carried the processional cross, which he donated, he was described as being “…as good a churchman as he is an architect.”
As a thank offering he also donated a bronze figure to be added to the processional cross.
The postcards below show the church as it would have looked soon after completion.
The first postcard is noted as the “new church”. All bar that of the Lady Chapel (sent in 1907), are unposted.