Ulley - Church Building
In Victorian times the present church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity was built by Viscount Halifax (whose arms can be seen outside, above the South door of the chancel). It was consecrated in 1851 and the Townships of Ulley and Brampton (formerly parts of Aston, Whiston and Treeton) became a new ecclesiastical parish. Later Brampton became part of the new Parish of Thurcroft.
Viscount Halifax built the church in memory of his brother who was a close friend of John Henry Newman, an Anglican Priest who was leader of the Tractarian Movement which sought to remind the Church of England of its ancient Catholic heritage. Newman eventually joined the Roman Catholic Church and was made a Cardinal.
Ulley was one of the few Victorian churches specially built for Catholic worship centered upon the Holy Eucharist. It became a focal point in South Yorkshire of the “High Church Movement” at the end of the last century. There were riots and court cases which reflected the hostility between the “high” and “low” of the Church of England. All this is now in the past and Ulley church retains signs and symbols of its catholic past and present.
The Aumbry or sacrament House of the North side of the Sanctuary was designed by Sir Charles Nicholson and is a memorial to Father A. N. Vowler, priest of the parish from 1909 to 1922. Within it the Sacrament is reserved. There is a fine collection of Victorian Eucharistic Vestments, both copes and chasubles. Most of these were made locally and are still in use.
Ulley stands above a coalfield. In the 1960’s there was severe ground subsidence, part of the churchyard sinking almost four feet. The church was badly damaged and was closed for a time. During its repair the appearance of part of the church underwent a change. The Victorian walls were covered in plaster and whitewash. This was removed to reveal some very fine stonework. The floor was covered in Victorian black and red tiles which were in a very bad condition. The whole floor was strengthened and renewed. Most of the church Sanctuary furnishings were in decay and were replaced.
The organ, which is positioned centre west end, is a rare and very early Father (Henry) Willis of London built in his 'Scudamore' style - a style used to give small churches the chance to purchase an affordable organ, it was completely restored in 1979 by Chalmers and Hyde of Sheffield and is still found in fine condition today with it's single manual and pedal board (without separate pedal stops). The instrument is a delight to play and hear and details can be found on the NPOR website here. (H01015)
On the outside, the bell turret at the West end of the church was badly damaged by the subsidence and part of it had to be removed. The sculptured heads which were on the turret are now on the walls inside church.
Although Ulley never had more than two hundred inhabitants, it enjoyed the luxury of a resident priest for a hundred years. From 1948 until 1965 there was no Vicar and the parish was served by clergy from Thurcroft and Rotherham. In 1965 the Rector of Aston was appointed the Vicar in plurality with Aston. Now, Aston, Ulley and Swallownest churches form a team.
Church is open every day for quiet reflection time and there are communion services most Sundays at 9am. The church has an accessible toilet, hearing loop, ramped entrance and allows assistance dogs.
A scene created for the Ulley Well Dressing 2017.