Churches and Chapels of Stoke-on-Trent

St. Mark's - Shelton, Hanley

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From: "The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent" by John Ward, originally published 1843. 


"The Church of St. Mark, which now adorns the knoll on which the ancient village of Shelton was seated, cannot fail to attract the attention of every person of taste or devotional feeling, for the beauty of its architecture, (of the early English style,) its large and stately dimensions, and its suitableness to the design of honouring the Supreme Being, to whose worship it is dedicated.

The tower is 120 feet high, and has four marked stories; the upper, or bell loft, rising from a plinth, the angles of which are are decorated with crocketted pinnacles, and having a large double lancet window on each face of the tower, the summit being crowned by a machicolated battlement with elaborate pinnacles at each corner, and four intermediate ones of smaller size. 

The principle entrance to the church is through a small proportioned gothic arch, in the west front of the tower, over which is a sculptured dripstone, resting on corbel heads, and terminating in an elegant finial. The porches which flank the tower lead to the side-aisles, and contain geometrical stone-stairs to the galleries. The body of the church has seven lofty lancet windows on each side, divided by plain capped buttresses, with a bold crenelled parapet all round, and at the angles octagon piers crowned with massive gothic canopies and pinnacles. Corresponding pinnacles flank the gable of the chancel end. The chancel has a vestry on the north, and an entrance porch on the south.

The interior displays a triple lancet east window, glazed with painted glass, the centre light having a whole-length figure of Saint Mark, the north compartment representing the Nativity, and the south the Resurrection, and filled in with other devices, among which are the richly-emblazoned arms of the patron and rector of Stoke, at whose joint cost, as appears by an inscription underneath, this beautiful window was executed. The interior of the church answers, in most respects, to its exterior elegance. 

Seven loft octagon pillars, on each side, divide the nave from the aisles, their capitals being ornamented with carved masks, and supporting plain gothic arches. The ceilings of the nave and aisles are in pannels, divided by moulded ribs; the nave having bosses of flowered work at the angles of intersection. The clerestory is without windows, wing to the form of the roof; which is supported by slender cast-iron beams, exposed to view, with pierced spadrels. The galleries are also supported by cast-iron brackets, and are fronted with wainscot, in gothic pannels; the western gallery is furnished with an organ the gift of John Tomlinson, Esq., the patron. The handsome pulpit is elevated on a pedestal shaft, and has a canopied sounding-board. The pews are of good pannelled work, painted of dark oak. There are as yet no monuments. The tower is furnished with a single bell and a clock.

The church is calculated to hold about 2,100 persons, 500 of the sittings being free. It measures, in exterior length, including thr tower and chancel, 151 feet, and in breadth, 75 feet. It was erected by the commissioners for building new churches, from a design of Messrs. Pickersgill and Oates, of York, at the cost of about 10,000, towards which 250 was granted, by King George IV., out of the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster, and donations amounting to 500 were contributed by Earl Granville, John Tomlinson, Esq., and others.

It was consecrated on the 19th June, 1834, by the venerated Bishop Ryder, who generously bestowed upon it a service of communion plate. The church yard contains rather more than two acres of land, and is enclosed with a low wall, to which the appendage of an iron railing is at present wanting. 

The Rev. James Ralph, B.A., is the incumbent, whose stipend arises from the pew-rents, producing at present about 220 per annum only, but capable of yielding an income of near 600.

Under the provisions of the Stoke Rectory Act, mentioned hereafter, Shelton will probably, at no distant day, become a district Rectory.


A.D. Marriages Baptisms Burials

Table of Marriages, Baptisms, and Burials at the Church of 
St. Mark, in Shelton, from the commencement of the Registers.


The late rector, Dean Woodhouse, gave 1000, to be applied, with its accumulations, to the erection of a parsonage-house to this church, which remains yet unappropriated. He likewise settles 3000, for the permanent support of the several national schools within the parish of Stoke, in the advantage of which Shelton participates. 

The national schools on the south side of the church-yard were erected in 1835. They are of one story, in the gabled style, forming two rooms, capable of being laid together, are calculated to hold about 400 day-scholars, and 600 children on Sundays, and cost nearly 1000, towards which the Lords of the Treasury contributed 130; the National Society, 110; the Duke of Sutherland, Earl Granville, Mr. Ald. Copeland, and others liberal donations. They are supported annually, by a moiety of Mrs. Hannah Bagnall's charity, mentioned previously, a portion of the income of Dean Woodhouse's gift, and voluntary contributions.

The township of Shelton contains 995 acres, of which Sir Thomas Fenton Boughey, Bart.; Lawrence Armitstead Esq.; and Josiah Wedgwood, Esq., are the largest landed proprietors. Messrs. John Ridgway; William Ridgway; Charles Meigh; George Paddock, and  others, are considerable proprietors of mixed property."


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