Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II*

List Entry Number: 1134675

Date first listed: 30-Apr-1982

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jul-1985



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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Kirklees (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Mirfield

National Grid Reference: SE 20113 19227


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Reasons for Designation

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II* Congregational Church, now United Reform, dated 1829, built of finely dressed stone under a slate roof, set in a large graveyard.

PLAN: aligned with the pulpit to the south-west and main entrance to the north-east, on land sloping down to the north-east towards the River Calder. There are attached school buildings to the rear in the same materials, forming a T shape. There are ridge stacks at the rear of the church building and the northern end of the rear cross wing.

EXTERIOR: North-east facing pedimented gable end is the main front and has gable copings, stone brackets to the gutters and a plinth. It is of 5 bays, with the central 3 bays breaking forward slightly. The ground floor has a Doric distyle in antis portico at the top of four steps, with the date 1829 inscribed on the frieze. Within is a central 16-paned sash window flanked by double, panelled doors with rectangular fanlights, and narrow side doors in each return. Above the portico are three round-arched sash windows with glazing bars. To either side are blind windows, round-arched above and flat-arched below. The return on each side has five bays with round-arched sash windows above and flat-arched below, similar to the front. The rear elevation has a blind circular window in the pediment and round-arched blind windows below to either side of the wing to the rear.

Adjoining the church to the rear is a wing of 5 bays and two storeys, with large multi-paned windows. The rear two bays are pierced by a three-centred archway, within which are four doorways to the rear; former stabling and carriage housing, running back into the side of the hill below the rear cross wing behind. This is five bay and single storey (this storey corresponding with the first floor of the middle wing) with a central rear door with rectangular fanlight. There is a further entrance on the north side, and a small, stone, slate-roofed extension on the south side. A previous further extension on this side is now demolished, but a first floor entrance to the rear of the middle wing remains, reached by an external iron-balustraded stair. A flat-roofed porch with disabled access lies between the rear of the church and the middle wing on the north side.

INTERIOR: two doors at the front entrance lead through wooden lobbies to the body of the church. A double row of panelled box pews runs down the centre, with further box pews on either side of an aisle, some facing inwards. Slim cast-iron columns support a raking gallery, also with box pews, which runs round three sides of the church. Access is via two staircases to the rear from the side doors in the portico. The central, panelled pulpit is raised, and reached by a stair to either side with twisted iron balusters. The communion rail has carved wooden vase balusters. Above and behind the pulpit are the choir box pews; behind them is a wide round arch spanning the gallery. The organ is housed in the recess beyond the arch, in the space formerly occupied by a band. To either side are pedimented doorways giving access from the schoolrooms to the gallery. The ceiling is panelled.

Behind the church is a corridor leading to the vestry to the left with a panelled door and fitted cupboard with safe. Beyond is a schoolroom with matchboarding to window-sill height, and fitted bench seating round the walls. The first floor school room, accessed from the rear cross wing, has a stage to the front and a fold-back partition across the centre. The exposed roof structure is of queen strut construction, the front section running from front to back and the rear crossways. Small service rooms extend to either side of the rear section.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: there is a war memorial garden to the left of the church in the graveyard.

HISTORY: the church was built in 1829 as a Congregational chapel to replace an earlier chapel, with a separate school building to the rear. The first minister was Reverend Richard Thorpe, a local benefactor and landowner, and the church was built without debt. The school was both a Sunday school and day school for Hopton between 1845 and 1909, and between 1855 and 1893 a link building was constructed joining the church to the existing schoolroom and providing two additional classrooms. An organ was inserted in the former band recess behind the choir in the early C20. There was also a separate building to the left of the church (in existence by 1893) which was used by the Home Guard during World War II but was demolished in the late 1980s. The church became the United Reform Church in 1972, and is due to close as a place of worship in December 2006.

SOURCES: J Lake, J Cox & E Berry, Diversity and Vitality: The Methodist and Nonconformist Chapels of Cornwall (2001). C Stell, Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting Houses in Eastern England (2002). http://www.mirfield-2ndlook.info/Site/Gallery_1/U_R_Church

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE The United Reform Church at Hopton was built in 1829, and has remained largely unaltered ever since. Built of stone in Doric style with a pedimented front and portico, it has a full set of box pews in both the gallery and the ground floor, and original windows throughout. Additional interest is provided by the contemporary provision for the carriages of parishioners, and an attached school building which functioned as a day school until 1909.

The national criteria for the designation of places of worship include considerations of architectural quality, age, setting, rarity and intactness. To qualify for a higher grade this building needs to display a combination of these with a high degree of special interest. It meets the criteria in terms of its architectural quality, its early date and its setting. It is exceptional in the intactness of both its exterior and interior, which have survived with very little alteration from the early nineteenth century. The day school is of historic interest, and it also has an extraordinarily rare feature in its integral coach house and stabling to the rear of the church. These factors combine to give the church exceptional special interest which merits a Grade II* designation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 340795

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Lake, J, Cox, J, Berry, E , Diversity and Vitality: The Methodist and Nonconformist Chapels pf Cornwall, (2001)

End of official listing