Mansfield
St Mark

History

In the late nineteenth century it was felt in Mansfield that another church was needed in order to provide for the spiritual needs of the town. In 1889 St Mark’s was set up as a sister church to St Peter’s & St Paul’s.

Services were held regularly by the first vicar, E. H. C. Stephenson, in the mission room in Stockwell Gate which was opened originally as a mission room for St Peter’s.

Stephenson set out to build a church for St Mark. A large grant was made by the Duke of Portland and members of the working class congregation also donated. On 25 April 1889 a temporary iron church was erected near the site of the proposed church.

The church was dedicated by the Bishop (Suffragan) of Derby, and by the Rev. E.H.C. Stephenson, the Rev. W. Maples, the Rev. C.D. Powell (St John’s), the Rev. E.B. Egan (St Peter’s) and the Rev. E. Johnson (Grammar school). The building cost nearly £280 and accommodation was provided for between 200 and 300 persons.

In 1894 Stephenson left the position of vicar and was replaced by the Rev. A.G. Henley who worked hard to raise the necessary funds to build a permanent church.

Groves, the historian of Mansfield, wrote in 1894 that St Mark’s was one of the three ecclesiastical district in the parish of Mansfield and contained 1,552 acres of land.

In May 1896 the foundation stone for the permanent building was laid by the Duke of Portland and the building of the actual church took place in 1897. The church cost around £6,500 to build and was designed by Temple Moore of London who used stone in the neo-Perpendicular style.

The church consists of a nave, side chapel, and a small tower on the south-east angle with the capacity to seat 550. A vicarage was also acquired which had the value of £294.

Pevsner remarks that the inside is ‘not at all what the outside would make one expect’, describing the interior as having square piers between side chapels or niches instead of aisles; these are then connected by passages with round-headed arches. He describes the plan of the church as one of the best late Victorian church designs contributing more widely to a change in the design of churches in the Victorian era. He surmises that the altar is the work of Leslie Moore.

The first register for the church dates from 1896.

The new church was consecrated on 24 November 1897 by the Bishop of Southwell.

In 1904 the Rev. A.G. Henley of St Mark’s was drowned whilst on holiday in Devon. His successor, the Rev. H.L. Day built Henley Hall in 1909 in memory of his predecessor.

In 1908 the Rev. H. L. Day also opened the mission church of St Aidan.

Between 1911 and 1915 Hoskyns visited the church and gathered information on the church at this time. He reported that the net annual value of the benefice was £285 and the population in 1911 was 8,421 compared to 5,843 in 1901. The church accommodation was 550 and there was no day school but there were 680 attending the Sunday School. In the year ending 30 September 1912 there were 50 confirmations and 154 baptisms.

In 1922 the Rev. C. Leeper bought a site for a new vicarage and assembled funds for its building. The actual building was built in the time of the Rev. S.H. Hutchinson who succeeded him in 1931.

When war broke out in 1939 Henley Hall was made open to the troops and a canteen was set up for them. This served between 3,500-4,000 meals in some weeks and dances were also held. Refugees were welcomed at St Mark’s and some Ukrainians put on their own service.

In 1949 the Rev. M.D.S. Peck became vicar and instituted mass on Sundays which became the main service of the week.

In 1972 the church celebrated its 75th anniversary.

The church is listed grade II*.