St Mark's Church, Worsley

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St Mark's Church
St marks worsley.jpg
St Mark's Church, Worsley
53°30′07″N 2°23′06″W / 53.502°N 2.385°W / 53.502; -2.385Coordinates: 53°30′07″N 2°23′06″W / 53.502°N 2.385°W / 53.502; -2.385
Location Worsley,
Greater Manchester
Country England
Denomination Anglican
Website St Mark's Church
Status Parish church
Dedication St Mark
Consecrated 2 July 1846
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade I
Designated July 1966
Architect(s) George Gilbert Scott
Architectural type Church
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1844
Materials Sandstone
Parish Worsley
Deanery Eccles
Archdeaconry Salford
Diocese Manchester
Province York
Rector Revd. Geoffrey Turner

St Mark’s Church is an active Anglican parish church in Worsley, Greater Manchester, England. It is part of a team ministry along with St Mary's in Ellenbrook and St Andrew in Boothstown. The church is in the Eccles deanery, the archdeaconry of Salford and the diocese of Manchester.[1] The church was granted Grade I Listed status in 1966.[2]


The church's history is bound up with the emergence of Worsley as a cradle of the Industrial Revolution, at the hands of the Egerton family. The Earl of Ellesmere, heir of the Duke of Bridgewater who built the Bridgewater Canal, commissioned George Gilbert Scott to design the church.[3][4]

The church is built on a prominent 10-acre (4 ha) site formerly known as Cross Field on Worsley Brow.[3] Now within a conservation area, its extensive churchyard is bounded by stone walls with lych gates on the west and south, the M60 motorway to the east, and woodland on the north. The church spire is a landmark for many drivers who pass it on the motorway which bisects the parish.

The church was built between 1844 and 1846, at a cost of £20,000 (equivalent to £360,000 in 2016).[5]. It was one of the earliest of 470 churches designed by Scott who, according to his son, regarded it as one of his most successful and purest essays in the geometrical Decorated Gothic style of the late 13th and early 14th century, with careful attention to detail.[4]



The church is constructed from hard snecked sandstone, with roofs in slate (from the Delabole quarries in Cornwall). Much of the hidden leadwork has been replaced with stainless steel. Its plan is of a nave of five bays a chancel, north and south aisles and a west tower. The base of the west tower and spire forms the west porch. The tower has richly carved corner pinnacles and flying buttresses and numerous carved gargoyles. The spire rises to 185 feet (56 m).[2][6]


Inside, the nave has an oak hammer-beam roof and the chancel is flanked by the vestry and organ chamber on the north side and the Ellesmere Chapel on the south. The north aisle was added in 1852 and shortly after that the Ellesmere Chapel was altered by the addition of a family vault below and extended to the east. The chapel was re-ordered in the 1920s.[2]

Twelve windows were acquired by Scott from France, Belgium or Italy depicting saints, two others were made by the studios of Edward Burne-Jones and the aisle windows are Powell’s cast glass.

Fittings and furniture[edit]

The ring of bells was augmented to 10 in 1934.[7] The church clock strikes thirteen at 1 o'clock by means of a device invented by the Duke of Bridgewater to prevent his workforce returning late from their lunch hour. The device was transferred from the estate yard to the church in 1946.[8]

The fittings are of the highest quality, the original oak pews, a pulpit fashioned by Scott from carved panels acquired on his travels, a richly decorated limestone font and the tomb of Francis Egerton and brasses and memorials to later members of the family in the Ellesmere Chapel. Additions were made in the 1880s including an ornate Italian marble and mosaic reredos, paving in the choir and sanctuary, carved choir stalls by R. Knill Freeman and a vestry when choral services were introduced. In 1894 a lectern designed by John Douglas was installed.[9]


The churchyard contains a memorial to St. Vincent Beechey, founder of Rossall School and the war graves of 10 service personnel of World War I and 18 of World War II.[10]

See also[edit]

Media related to St Mark's church, Worsley at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ Church list,, archived from the original on 22 February 2014, retrieved 16 September 2013 
  2. ^ a b c Historic England, "Church of St Mark (1227895)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 16 September 2013 
  3. ^ a b A History of St Mark, Worsley The Patron, St Mark Worsley, retrieved 16 September 2013 
  4. ^ a b A History of St Mark, Worsley The Architect, St Mark Worsley, retrieved 16 September 2013 
  5. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel (1848), "Worsley", From: 'Worplesdon - Wortwell', A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), British History Online, pp. 687–692, retrieved 20 November 2013 
  7. ^ The Bells at St Mark's, St Mark Worsley, 2012, retrieved 12 August 2013 
  8. ^ ATour inside St Mark's Church, Worsley, St Mark Worsley, retrieved 16 September 2013 
  9. ^ Hubbard, Edward (1991). The Work of John Douglas. London: The Victorian Society. p. 264. ISBN 0-901657-16-6. 
  10. ^ [1] CWGC Cemetery Report. Breakdown obtained from casualty record.


  • Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew (2004). The Buildings of England - Lancashire: Manchester & the South-East. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10583-4. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Milliken, Harold Turner (1976). Changing Scene. Worsley: Worsley Parochial Church Council. ISBN 978-0-9505113-0-6.