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Churches

St Mark’s Church Station Road

Index to Sections
Laying of the Foundation Stone for the new Church
Sale of work
Dedication
Amalgamation of St. Edmunds & St. Marks
The war years
The rebirth

This is built on land bought circa 1909 by Miss Shedden of Wootton House for around 112 Pounds, and then donated to the village for the building of a church in order to serve the needs of a growing population for whom the journey to the church in Arreton could be difficult, especially in bad weather. She was also very active in raising money for the building of the actual church and in funding the running costs.

Laying of the Foundation Stone for the new Church

April 1909

The foundation stone was laid on the 29th April for a new church, for the newly formed ecclesiastical District of Wootton Bridge [formerly North Arreton], by the Bishop of Southampton. There was a large gathering of clergy, residents of the district and people from Newport to witness the event. The stone had been inscribed with the words ‘In Hoc Vinces, to the greater glory of God’, this stone was laid by the Right Rev. James Macarthur, D.D., Lord Bishop of Southampton 29th April 1909.

The church is being erected on the upper side of the main road from the railway station to Wootton Bridge, practically opposite Fernhill. The building has been designed by architect Mr P.G.Stone F.S.A. and will be mostly in a perpendicular style and of red brick [made locally] and stone. When complete, it will consist of a chancel and nave and will seat around 200 people. A west block, comprising baptistery, vestry and gallery, will seat around another 50 people; the turret and parish rooms are further to the west. The design also includes an organ chamber at the southeast angle of the nave. Just prior to the start of the ceremony, the sunshine was replaced by storm clouds, cold winds and heavy rain. As soon as the actual stone laying was completed, everyone retired to the large tea tent where the Bishop gave his address.

The Rev. Miles Atkinson [in charge of the new ecclesiastical district] thanked the Bishop for laying the foundation stone and said that Mr Stone had anticipated the wishes of the Bishop, this he had done by combining in the design economy, beauty and quaintness.

Picture of Rev. M. Atkinson 1865 - 1937
Rev. M. Atkinson 1865 - 1937

The church has been designed in three blocks: the chancel and nave, west block and a further westward extension and the parish room. At present only the chancel and the nave is to be built and the cost of this is estimated to be in the region of 1400 Pounds. The work will be carried out by Messrs T. & E. W. Jenkins of Newport. Contributions to the cost of the work had so far raised 700 Pounds and they had yet to receive grants from the Winchester Diocesan Fund, Bishop of Winchester Fund and other societies; these he hoped would go a long way to meeting the cost.

Sale of work

23 & 24 June 1909

A highly successful sale of work and summer fete was held on Wednesday and Thursday of this week in the spacious grounds of Wootton House, the home of Miss Shedden. The grounds were beautifully laid out and the stalls were laden with a large selection of desirable items, which the host and the ladies of the village had made or had donated.

In his speech welcoming their guest, Lady Ellis, the Rev. Atkinson thanked Miss Shedden for allowing the event to use the beautiful grounds of Wootton House and her home. He was glad the threatening rain clouds of the morning had passed and it had turned out to be a beautiful afternoon. He then gave an outline of progress made on the new Church building, and said that the amount collected now amounted to 800 Pounds.

In the afternoon, musical entertainment was provided by the ladies of the village in the drawing room of the house, and in the evening Wootton Brass Band played a selection of music, with children from the National School giving a demonstration of maypole dancing. In the evening there was a programme of sport events and prizes were presented by Miss Shedden.

The two-day event raised £77 13s. 5d towards the Church building fund.

Celebration Dinner

17 August 1909

Upwards of 50 workmen employed by E. W. Jenkins of Newport in the building of the new church of St Mark’s Church, Station Road, Wootton were entertained on Tuesday evening by building committee of the church. This was by a way of saying thank you for the excellent work carried out by them during its construction and it was announced that the church would be dedicated on Sunday the 29th August.

The evening consisted of a meal followed by songs, recitations and music provided by a gramophone, tobacco and cigarettes were provided for the guests. Various toast were made during the evening and towards the end Mr. Jenkins presented to the committee, stalls, for use in the church, which had been designed by the architect and made by his workmen, Rev. Miles Atkinson [curator-in-charge] thanked all those responsible for the superb gift.

At the end of the evening Mr. Jenkins on behalf of his men thanked everyone responsible for organising the event, which have been greatly enjoyed by all.

Dedication

Sunday 29 August 1909

There was a large congregation at the new church of St Marks to hear the Bishop of Southampton perform the dedication service. They included Viscountess Gort [who lived at East Cowes Castle] and Col. Benson, Lady Adela Cochrane, Lady Ellis and Mr. G. Shedden, together with a number of island clergy.

The prescribed form of dedication service was read by the Bishop who preached from the text “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercy of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" [Romans.xii.1]. The musical service was given by the newly formed choir accompanied by an American organ; hymns were: “ We love the place O God”, “Blessed city, heavenly Salem” and “Lord of Glory”.

At the well-attended children's service in the afternoon Rev. Ruddle [Cowes] gave an address on the dedication of the church.

The evening service was crowded with people coming from outside the village and many unable to find room in the church. The Rev. Atkinson conducted the service and the lesson “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, Psalm xxxiv.4.7” was read by Rev. Canon Smith M.V.O. Rural Dean of West Wight. Hymns were: “The church’s on foundation” and “Now thank we all our God”. The day’s collection amounted to £12 19s. 7d, which would go toward the Church building fund. Note: The nave and chancel part of the Church, have now been completed at an approximate cost of 1500 Pounds with a balance of 500 Pounds still outstanding.

Amalgamation of St. Edmunds & St. Marks

March 1925

A meeting of the church councils of the Parish of Wootton and St. Mark’s, Arreton has been held to discuss the way forward for the two churches. The Rector of Wootton, Rev. Seymour, said that in the very near future the two churches would be amalgamated as the Parish of Wootton. He held out the hand of friendship to the congregation of St. Mark’s and said that the Diocesan authorities were amalgamating the two churches with the object of saving manpower and money. The decision had been taken without allowing the churches any say in the matter. The first thing to tackle was the reorganisation and the financial operation of the two churches.

Every effort would be made to keep St Mark’s open and there were several ways in which this could be achieved. If a curate were appointed, he the rector would have to offer him a salary of at least Two Hundred & Fifty pounds a year, or alternatively have a lay preacher for the day. The meeting wondered how much grant could be obtained from the Diocesan Fund.

The Rector said that Rev. Painter was currently conducting the service at St. Mark’s, and he, the Rector, would like to see him offered the position. Capt. Green agreed this was an excellent suggestion and supported the motion. Miss Shedden believed that this suggestion was the cheapest option and supported the appointment.

The Rector then said there would be an interchange of pulpits and everyone should work together to keep both churches open. The next eighteen months would be difficult, but in appointing the Rev. Painter they had a person who could make it happen.

After further discussion it was decided to elect a committee from both churches to go into the finances and report to the next meeting. Those elected to the committee were: -
The Rector, Col. West, Mr. Hutton [Rear Admiral], Mr.L.J.Souter, Mrs. Sidebottom [Wootton], Capt. Green, Miss Shedden, Mrs Brodie J.P. and Mr. Whitbread.

The War Years

1939-1946

For parts of this period the church was used as a rest centre by the ARP wardens [air raid precautions], and did suffer some war damage, being finally derequisitioned in 1946. The church authorities at that time did not have any money to refurbish the church and it was closed for worship. At this stage the furnishings were disposed of, a number of which had been given to the church by private individuals. It was then initially leased to the removal firm Pickfords for 5 years and thus became a furniture repository. So it remained until the arrival of George Rayner, the new Rector, in 1969. At the church annual general meeting on the 25th March 1950, it was agreed that the font from St. Mark’s should be given to the war damaged church of St. Augustine, Bermondsey, London.

The Rebirth

1969-2005

With the arrival of a new Rector and the need for larger premises, work commenced on refurbishing St. Mark’s. An appeal was made for church furnishings, and an offer was received from the Naval Stores at Gosport, which was accepted. With the closure of the Royal Chest Hospital at Ventnor [now the Botanical Gardens], a Foster and Andrew two manual organ [built 1872] became available and was purchased for one hundred & twenty five pounds. This was then rebuilt by the Rector and village volunteers in St Mark’s; later rebuilt again by Robert Stacey of Wootton. A formal re-opening of the church took place on Easter Day 1970, with the re-dedication ceremony performed by the Bishop of Portsmouth. In 1971 a decision was taken to provide a village hall on land behind St. Mark’s; this took the form of a pre-cast concrete sectional building from Banbury Sectional Buildings at a cost of one thousand, eighteen hundred pounds.

Again the internal fitting out was done by the Rector and village volunteers. This building remained in use until 2006 when it closed, due to no longer meeting safety requirements.

Towards the end of 2002 the Foster and Andrew organ reached the end of its useful life [130 years] and a replacement was needed. With the help and advice of a local organ builder, Mr A Cooper, a suitable redundant church organ was located in Middlesborough; this was re-installed in St Mark’s.

A total of 507 pipes, varying in length from 9 feet to 3/8 inch, 139 being wooden, the facing pipes are made of zinc and the internal ones tin and lead alloy.

The new organ was dedicated on the 16 October 2005 by the Island’s Archdeacon, Ven. Dr. Trevor Reader.

Sources:
Isle of Wight County Press
Bridge’ Wootton parish magazine
Church and Parish 1087-2000 A.D. by Doreen Gazey

This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:17:11

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