History of St Marks
There have been four churches built around Natland Green. The first was built in 1246 and was thought to be no more than a room in size. Much, much later it was probably also used as a School.
A second church, of which little is known, was built on a different site in 1735. It is from this date that a list of parish clergy can be found in the church porch.
As the population increased so it was necessary to have a larger church. On a new site in 1825, but the site of the present church, a third building was erected. The construction was long and narrow reflecting the architectural design of the time.
The pews were numbered and mainly reserved with only a few being for the poor of the parish. The pews all faced the pulpit which was halfway down the church. Thus, half the congregation had their backs to the altar.
By the 1870’s ideas had changed. In 1872, when Natland became its own parish, the seating was reorganised so that it all faced the altar and there were no longer any privileged pews. Later in the decade there were some additional developments with a chancel, organ chamber and vestry being added.
As the population continued to increase, particularly in the railway homes of Oxenholme, it was necessary to further enlarge the church. The architects Paley and Austin of Lancaster were asked to advise.
Although the architects Paley and Austin were renowned for the variety of their designs and numerous structures, they were particularly famous for their churches. It is known that their advice was to demolish the existing building. They drew up plans to construct a much larger place of worship as opposed to trying to enlarge the existing structure. With the very significant financial support of the Crewdson family the relevant decision was taken.
The Foundation Stone was laid on Tuesday June 29th 1909 by W. D. Crewdson, the nephew of the original benefactor.
The address was given by the Lord Bishop of Carlisle attended by St. Mark’s Vicar, the Revd E. J. Miller, and a host of local clergy including the Rural Dean and the Archdeacon of Westmorland.
The Lancaster stone used to build the church came by canal to Hawes Bridge and the Darley stone for dressing came by train and was fashioned on the spot. The font was carved in situ from one solid body of stone and the pillar between the font and the south door is said to be the largest in circumference of any English Parish Church.
The consecration of St. Mark’s Church took place at 11 a.m. on Monday 7th November 1910. There was a large congregation to witness the unique occasion. The Bishop of Carlisle, the Bishop of Barrow, the Archdeacon of Westmorland and many other clergy joined the congregation and the Reverend Edward J. Miller for the consecration.
The War Memorial, was initially to the memory of those who lost their lives in the First World War, it was erected and unveiled in 1921.
The Memorial was designed by Walter Keesey, the uncle of George Keesey who was killed in WW1 and it was the Keesey family who largely paid for the memorial.
An additional inscription was placed in the wall behind the War Memorial in 1948 in memory of those who lost their lives in the Second World War.
After research an additional eleven names were added to a new memorial plaque that is attached to the church wall behind the War Memorial. The plaque was unveiled on Remembrance Sunday 2008.
The Fallen of Natland: to view information on the soldiers from the First World War, who are remembered on the War Memorial please click the button.