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Parish of St Mark, Worsley

with St Mary, Ellenbrook & St Andrew, Boothstown
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A Potted History of St Mark, Worsley


In compiling this and other pages charting the history of St Mark, Worsley grateful acknowledgement is made to Mr H T Milliken, the author of the definitive history of the church in his book "Changing Scene" first published in 1976


Copies of this book are available in Church, and are commended to you


Jan 1800 Birth of Francis Leverson-Gower, later takes the title Lord Francis Egerton
1833 Francis Egerton moves to Worsley as beneficiary of Bridgewater Trust
June 1844 Foundation stone laid
July 1846 Consecration of St Mark; Lord Francis Egerton becomes 1st Earl of Ellesmere
1852 The addition of the north aisle, replacing a temporary north wall, to provide an extra 150 sittings (at a cost of £4,000, met by the Earl): according to the national 1851 census, the congregation at this time was over 700, including 400 children at morning and afternoon services
Feb 1857 Death of the Earl of Ellesmerethe. Began eastward extension of the Ellesmere chapel in line with the chancel east wall
1861 Gas installed in Ellesmere vault beneath Chapel
1862 Completion of extension of Ellesmere Chapel to accommodate Earl of Ellesmere's tomb, with wrought iron screen
1864 Inner south porch added (The south door being the main entrance at that time)
1866 Jet gas lighting installed throughout church
1873 Introduction of a robed choir; Bell peal increased from 3 to 8
1881 A 3-manual organ by A. Young of Manchester was erected at the end of the south aisle in front of the Ellesmere chapel. Originally there had been a barrel organ (with a small repertoire of hymn tunes), then a small manual and pedal organ (which eventually ended up in the first Vicar’s parish in Norfolk)
1884 The building of the present choir and clergy vestry and organ chamber, replacing a small ‘robing room’; Lord Ellesmere had originally proposed using the chapel for this, but Scott had demurred
1884 Introduction of the reredos (and probably lengthening of the altar to match), the paving of chancel and sanctuary, sanctuary seating (replacing two stone seats) and choir stalls (replacing the original singers’ benches), together with the repositioning of some of the stained glass
1887 Screen erected at west end of nave seating
1890 Replacement of plain glass in West window with stained glass
1891 Erection of two mosaics on either side of the east window
1892 Stone steps to Chancel replaced in Carrara marble
1894 Lectern installed
1895 Organ moved to a position centrally in the north side of the chancel, and general area re-ordered to provide organ chamber, and vestry for clergy and choir
1897 Incandescent gas lighting introduced
1899 The west end screen moved to its present position under gallery and fitted with swinging doors, thereby freeing the west door (which until then had led into a chior vestry under the gallery) for weddings and funerals
1902 Installation of the wardens’ stalls
1904 Extensive stonework repairs carried out
1906 Stained glass windows "Fortitude" and "Humility" installed in Ellesmere Chapel
1911 7,840 sq yard extension of churchyard to the east of the church by gift from the 3rd Earl of Ellesmere
1912 Stained glass Baptismal window installed
1913 Installation of electric lighting and electric motor for the organ
1918 First three women appointed to Parish Church Council
1922 Memorial erected in churchyard near to west door, bearing the names of 105 parishoners who fell during the Great War
1928 Altar and rail installed in Ellesmere chapel. Wrought iron screen removed to its present position, between the chancel and chapel, replacing an oak one
1933 Three acres of land purchased to north of church to preserve the fine setting of the church
1935 Two further bells added
1945 Two bronze "Winged Lions" from Worsley New Hall presented to church, together with the famous Bridgewater clock, by 5th Earl of Ellesmere
1946 Centenary year
1951 Start of 3 years of major work carried out on roof timbers to combat beetle infestation, followed by further 5 years of extensive repairs and renovations to stained glass, reredos and external stonework
1952 Organ replaced with a Compton Miniature Pipe Organ with limited powers, installed in its present location, with console in the Ellesmere chapel
1954 Renewal of lighting system and major internal plasterwork repairs. Present chancel roof colouring introduced
1956 Major remedial work carried out on spire to rectify leaning. Weather-cock re-gilded
1971 Internal and external cleaning carried out. Ellesmere chapel ceiling decorated to match chancel
1972 Addition of the brass communion rails
1973 Re-ordering of the "Old" portion of the churchyard to remove gravestones
1975 Work done to organ to extend it's depth and brilliance
1976 "New" portion of the churyard levelled and grassed to aid maintenance; Wrought iron gates installed leading to the car park; Floodlighting scheme introduced
1978 Major treatment (again) of roof timbers following re-infestation by furniture beetle
1997 Parish Room built
2003 Building classification uplifted to Grade 1 Listed status
2005 Organ replaced with Alexander Young 1905 instrument