Designed by architect William Wallen, the land for the church and graveyard was given by Sir Joseph Ratcliffe. The £2,500 cost of the building was mostly paid by the Armitage family apart from £550 obtained from the Church Societies. Sir Joseph Ratcliffe also gifted an acre of land to be used for a parsonage house.
The church was consecrated in November 1845 by the Lord Bishop of Ripon, although services had been held on licence since September 1845 by the first incumbent, the Rev. J. Richardson.
The Halifax Guardian contained the following description:
The church, which is dedicated to St. Luke the Evangelist, is a beautiful Norman structure, and reflects great credit on the taste and pure antique feelings of its architect, W. Wallen, Esq., of Huddersfield. It contains 602 sittings, of which 302 are free for ever; and a striking proof of the need there was for such a building is afforded by the fact that all the pews were left previous to the opening.
The church has but two entrances, as the west and north. The former is under a semi-circular arch, and the gable is surmounted by a bell-turret, containing two bells, which are tuned to a third, and are exposed to the air. The north entrance, which is the one seen from the road, is surmounted by the crest and arms of the Bishop of Ripon.Within the church is severely beautiful, consisting of a nave, open to the roof, and a deep chancel, with a semicircular apse, but without any screen. A Norman arch opens into the chancel, and a second arch of similar dimensions marks the commencement of the semicircle, the communion rails running across from pillar to pillar of this second arch. The altar table is very neatly designed, and requires no crimson cloth or velvet (as in too many cases) to hide the meanness and infirmary of the woodwork. Around the entire chancel are small pilasters, with inwoven arches, and the Lord's Prayer and the Creed are inscribed in four of the recesses thus formed. The reading desk and pulpit stand on each side of the chancel arch, and are of a corresponding character with the communion table. The centre seats are all open and free, and the pews, which run down each side of the church, have very low doors to correspond. At the west end there is a small a gallery for the singers and children; and the church is both lighted with gas and warmed by hot water.
The church was closed for refurbishment and improvements for three months in 1885, which included the installation of a new organ at the east end. The work was overseen by architects Abbey & Hanson of Huddersfield.
A war memorial window and three-panel triptych was unveiled at the church in September 1925 by Colonel R.R. Mellor of Holmfirth.
The church closed in October 1982.
DEEP LANE, MILNSBRIDGE (South side). FORMER CHURCH OF ST LUKE.
Formerly listed as:
- MANCHESTER ROAD MILNSBRIDGE CHURCH OF ST LUKE
- DEEP LANE MILNSBRIDGE CHURCH OF ST LUKE
Parish church of 1845 by W. Wallen, redundant since 1982.
MATERIALS: Coursed and hammer-dressed sandstone with freestone dressings, slate roofs.
PLAN: Nave with lower apsidal chancel.
EXTERIOR: Neo-Norman style with a tall and wide nave designed to accommodate a 3-sided gallery. The nave is 5 bays and has windows in recessed surrounds with sill band, pilasters and pseudo-machicolations. Round-headed windows have colonnettes with scalloped capitals, and an impost band carried over the windows as hood moulds. The north doorway is in a projecting surround, with 2 orders of shafts to roll-moulded arches and chevrons to the label. Above the doorway are high-relief representations of Agnus Dei, crossed keys and a bishop's mitre. The west wall has a large modern 5-part window of c1965. The lower apse has recessed panels and windows similar to the nave.
INTERIOR: Not accessible at the time of survey (June 2009). It originally had a rib-vaulted chancel. Chancel and apse arches are said to be on semi-circular responds with scallop capitals. There were a number of memorials within, including one to James Armitage (d.1803), shot by hostile natives in the River Waikato, New Zealand.
SUBSIDARY FEATURES: The churchyard is entered through a Gothic gateway.
HISTORY: Parish church built in 1843-46 by William Wallen (1807-53), architect of Huddersfield. Wallen built several other churches in the locality, usually in a simple Gothic style. The neo-Norman style was therefore a departure for the architect although the interior with its galleries was more typical of his church work. Redundant since 1982, and used for storage in recent years.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The former church of St Luke, Milnsbridge, is listed Grade II for the following principal reasons:
- The church is built in the neo-Norman style that was fashionable in the 1840s, and retains its external character and detail.
- It is prominently sited above Manchester Road and, as such, is typical of churches of the C19 in Huddersfield that were carefully exploited to occupy commanding positions.