Square Congregational Church, Halifax

The Victorian 14th-century Gothic style Square Congregational Church was built at The Square.

It is also recorded as New Church [1861, 1920s].

The name Square comes from its location, not its design.

It was designed by Joseph James for Sir Francis Crossley and the Crossley family.

Sir Francis Crossley laid the foundation stone on 10th March 1855, and the church opened on 15th July 1857. It could accommodate 1,250 people. The building cost £10,242. It was said to be

to be the finest used by this religious body in the kingdom [1857]

It superseded the neighbouring Square Independent Chapel which then became a Sunday School.

The tower with its 235 ft-high spire – which had been paid for by Sir Francis Crossley – was then the second tallest in Yorkshire, only Wakefield Cathedral at 247 ft was taller, but All Souls' Church, Haley Hill was built shortly afterwards and was 1 foot taller.

Details of the organ in the Church can be found in the National Pipe Organ Register.

The last service at the neighbouring Square Independent Chapel was held on 12th June, 1857 and the chapel then became the Sunday School for the church – the largest Sunday School in the town.

Range Bank Congregational Church opened in the 1850s as an outpost of the Square Church, and Highroad Well Congregational Church around 1908.

In 1869, a number of members left to establish Park Congregational Church.

During a gale which hit the district on 16th December 1873, the pinnacles of the Church were blown off the tower, and fell through the roof, causing doing considerable damage.

In 1969, the church was amalgamated with the United Congregational Church in Harrison Road, and it closed for worship in 1970.

The interior was almost destroyed by fire on 3rd January 1971.

The church was demolished in 1976, with only the foundations and the spire remaining. The tower and spire are listed.

The rose window was based upon the east window of Selby Abbey.

In February 2005, the Evening Courier reported that:

A survey has revealed that the church spire is crumbling and urgent repairs are needed. Council officials have asked for £66,000 to be made available immediately. The top 7 feet of the 235 ft tower need to be removed and rebuilt, and loose masonry needs to be secured. Action Halifax has awarded £10,000 to the renovation scheme and other sources of funding are being investigated

In 2005, Councillor Geoffrey Wainwright, suggested that the money would be better spent on demolishing the spire to open up the view of the Piece Hall from Winding Road and clear the way for a new entrance on that dead side of the building because:

There are plenty of spires in Halifax and I don't think we should be asking council rate-payers to meet the cost of repairs to this one

Councillor Grenville Horsfall, said he wanted to see the spire restored because:

It is an historic landmark which is probably as familiar as the parish church tower

Ministers at the Church have included

See Saul Blagborough, Lawson Saville, Square Church Brotherhood Forward Movement, Square Church Memorial, Square Church Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Society, Square Church Sisterhood Committee, Square Congregational Graveyard, Halifax, Square Literary & Debating Society, Square Mutual Improvement Society and Square Young Men's Society

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:43 / 9th November 2021 / 7662

Page Ref: QQ_4

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