A chapel has existed in Longwood from 1749. All that remains of it now is a pillar located in the graveyard on which the names of vicars are inscribed.

The existing Church was built by public subscription in the late 19th century to replace an existing Chapel of Ease. It was consecrated on 15th November 1877 by Bishop Bickersteth of Ripon.

The bell tower was added in 1914 in memory of the Crowther family. A new peal of bells which included the original Sanctus Bell, dated 1750, from the Chapel of Ease, was dedicated by Bishop Frodsham, the Vicar of Halifax on 22nd September 1923. In 1926 a carved oak Chancel Screen was donated by the Livesey Family and a Carved Oak pulpit was donated by Canon Roberts and friends.

In the mid-1930s, the Crowther Family replaced the existing pine pews with oak ones. Oak choir stalls were donated by the Hirst Family. A new parquet floor and heating system were also installed. In 1959 a Lady Chapel was created and furnished following a bequest by Isobel Shires and a Votive Light was given in memory of James Goodall. The choir vestry was also refurbished.

St Mark’s has 13 excellent stained glass windows, dating from early to mid-20th.century. There is a window dedicated to Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, which is the only one in the country. The West window is a memorial to the First World War. David Sargent has written an article after doing some research on the windows. Please see his extremely interesting article below.*

In 1990, the old Organ was scrapped and replaced in 1991 by a redundant organ from Tyneside which was dismantled and rebuilt by Woods of Huddersfield in the North Aisle of the Church. A new clergy vestry was created from the old organ loft. A portable nave altar was also created from redundant pews.

Since 2001, a new gas central heating system has been installed and the Lady Chapel roof retiled. A sound system has been installed and disabled access and toilet provided. We hope to continue to develop and preserve this beautiful and historic building

* Are these Windows Unique? by David Sargent

St Marks Church contains plenty of beautiful stained glass dating from Victorian times up to the 1950s. The newest windows in the church are also the most remarkable because their subject matter is unusual. They face each other across the church in the second bays from the west end of the nave.

The window on the south side shows Mary Sumner founder of the Mothers' Union and Vedanayakam Samuel Azariah, who was the first Indian to become an Anglican bishop. A note in the Order of Service for the dedication of the window (by the Bishop of Wakefield on Sunday 2nd May 1954) explains the choice of subject: "Katherine Jean Broadbent dedicated her life largely to two great interests; the work of the Mothers' Union and the overseas missionary work of the Church. She was herself a devoted wife and mother and she had a personal share in Christian work in India and Burma before coming to live in  Longwood The window therefore has two lights, one representing Mary Sumner , the founder of the Mothers' Union and the other Bishop Azariah, the first Indian Bishop; thus reminding us of her keen support for the work of the Kingdom in which each of these was outstanding"

South aisle window

 

There are at least two other windows showing Bishop Azariah. One is in the USPG chapel in London and the other is in the narthex of the Church of Epiphany, Winchester , Massachusetts

For a long time, St Marks' Mothers Union believed that this was the only window depicting Mary Sumner in stained glass. However, it turns out that she also appears in a window at All Saints Church, Eltham, New Zealand. Are these the only two windows in the world to show Mary Sumner, or are there more? Is the window at St Mark's unique in England, if not the world?

North aisle window

The window in the north aisle shows St Hilda, a Northumbrian princess who became the Abbess of Whitby and hosted the synod where King Oswy opted for the Roman method of calculating Easter. Depictions of St Hilda are quite common, but the other half of the window might be unique. It shows Richard Oastler a local hero who campaigned to improve working conditions in factories,especially for children, As far as we can tell this is the only stained glass window anywhere that shows Oastler or for that matter a panoramic view of Longwood.

Do you know of any other stained glass windows showing Mary Sumner, Vedanayakam Samuel Azariah or Richard Oastler? If so please let us know!