St Columba’s (formerly known as St Columcille’s)
Halifax’s western suburb of Pellon developed in the 1920s. Originally served by St Mary’s Parish, due to the growing congregation of over 200 in the area, it became necessary to find an additional site of worship. Dean Russell of St Mary’s purchased the site on the corner of Highroad Well Lane and Rye Lane near to Sandbeds and the foundation stone for the new church was laid on 7 October 1933.
The church opened on 4 August 1934 under the name St Columcille’s and was served by St Mary’s Parish.
St Columcille’s became a separate Parish in 1941.
The church name was originally dedicated to St Columcille of whom it was said that his chief characteristics were gentleness, mildness and the love of humanity. The name was later changed to St Columba, a more common form of the same saint’s name.
In 1994 the Parish was extended by the amalgamation of St Bernadette’s of Mixenden with St Columba’s.
Built of Haworth stone with a Welsh slate roof, the architectural style is free late Gothic. The gabled east end of the church faces the street and has a monumentality of scale with polygonal turret like projections linked high up by a Gothic arch with a section of parapeted walling above. Within this blind arch is a massive stepped plinth and a tall canopied niche enclosing a sculpture of St Columba.
The sacristies are in a single storey over the basement extension to the right with plain mullioned windows and a parapet. Rising through the eaves on the north side of the church at the junction of nave and sanctuary is a bell-cote composed of two polygonal turrets with arched tops, linked by a piece of walling from which a single bell is hung.
The sanctuary has two-light windows set high up with a vesica-shaped arrangement. The nave has three-light windows under four-centred arches and with Perp-derived tracery of strongly grid-like form. The west front echoes the east whilst forming a porch with gallery over.
The sanctuary has a Gothic alter piece dated 1865 by Thomas Earp, originally at St Mary’s, brought to St Columba’s in 1934. The pulpit is also by Earp, from St Mary’s, and removed from its octagonal base.
Communion rails are of the same pattern as the gallery fronts.
Distinctive Stations of the Cross carved in relief with integral frames from which the figure scenes break out. Finished in a coarse adzed effect.
PARISH PRIESTS OF ST COLUMCILLE’S/ST COLUMBA’S 1941 TO PRESENT:
Fr Vincent Durkin – August 1941- August 1951
Fr Denis McMahon – August 1951 –September 1960
Fr Nicholas Kennedy – October 1960- August 1969
Fr Hugh Curristan – August 1969 – August 1971
Fr James Mitchell – August 1971 – February 1986
Canon Joseph Finan – April 1986 – August 2007
Fr Michael Mahady – August 2007 – August 2017
Monsignor Michael McQuinn – from September 2017
PARISH PRIESTS OF ST BERNADETTE’S MIXENDEN:
Fr Leo Woodward – January 1975 – April 1979
Fr Sean Durcan – April 1979 – August 1983
Fr Jeremiah Murphy – August 1983 – August 1985
Monsignor Francis Robinson – April 1986 – December 1990
Canon Joseph Finan – January 1991 – until 1994 the amalgamation with St Columba’s Parish.